Cod and Kale Rice Porridge (Cháo Cá)

Yay the weather is finally cooling down!

I heard it was going to rain the week I made this and I got really excited (I love the rain!), so I decided to make a hearty soup that reminds me of what my mom used to make for us on cold and wet days.  I figured some rice porridge would be easy and I already had vegetable broth, rice, and ginger on hand.  I usually make this with chicken, so I had to improvise and try experimenting with cod.  I don’t usually add any veggies to my porridge, but I had half a bag of kale that needed to be eaten stat and kale has a pretty subtle flavor, so I experimented with that, too.  It actually turned out pretty good!

Chicken Version: you can substitute the cod for 3 chicken thighs or breasts (marinate them overnight with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and diced onions) and the vegetable broth for chicken broth.  Also, wait to add the fish sauce to the soup until after you poach the chicken and you may have to decrease it to 2-3 tbsp, since you’re adding salt from the marinade.  You’ll have to poach the chicken for about 10 minutes to make sure that you cook it through all the way and instead of adding it back to the pot at the end, keep it separate and add pieces of the chicken with each serving.

Super Easy/Lazy Version: crumble 1/2 a pound of raw, unseasoned ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey) into the soup in place of poaching the fish and leave the meat in the pot while you follow the rest of the steps.  This is my go-to when I really don’t want to put in too much effort.

It’s a simple dish that you can customize in a ton of ways.  Hope you get a chance to try it out to keep you warm this fall and winter!

Cod and Kale Rice Porridge (Cháo Cá)
(serves 4)

1 quart vegetable broth
1 quart water
1/2 a small onion, diced
1 3-inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
4 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 lb of cod
3/4 cup uncooked white rice
4 cups of kale, chopped
chopped green onions and chopped cilantro to garnish

  1. Pour vegetable broth and water into a large pot.  Bring to a boil and add onion, ginger, and fish sauce.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.
  2. Bring heat to medium and poach the cod for about 5 minutes with the lid on.  Remove and put to the side to cool.
  3. Add rice then turn heat down to low and simmer for an hour with the lid on.  Stir every 5-10 minutes to make sure the rice doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pot.
  4. Mix in the kale and simmer with the lid on for another 15 minutes.  Break up the cod into bite-sized pieces then add back to the pot. Turn off the heat, but allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with green onions and cilantro.

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