Common Cold RecipesChicken Soup and Congee

As we know the common and seasonal cold are the most commonly occurring illnesses in the entire world, with more than 1 billion colds per year reported in the United States alone. The common cold is a self-limited illness caused by any 1 of more than 200 viruses.

Traditionally, any member of Chinese families who has a cold were only allowed to take hot chicken soup and chicken congee, avoiding all the hard to digest and cold foods. No one knows why but it works more effectively.

Here are some chicken and chicken congee soup recipes that I have used every time when a member of my family getting a cold.

1. Vietnamese Recipe : Chicken Congee Hue Style


* 5 chicken thighs, bone in & with skin
* 1 two-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled & halved lengthwise
* 5 whole cloves garlic, peeled
* 1 onion, peeled & quartered
* 10 peppercorns


* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 3/4 cup jasmine rice, rinsed & drained
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 3 shallots, diced
* 1 tbsp fresh, minced ginger
* 4 stalks scallion, thinly sliced (white for soup, green for garnish)
* 2 tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce
* fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
* handful fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves, chopped
* handful fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped
* handful fresh spearmint leaves, chopped
* lime wedges (optional)

To make stock, put first set of ingredients into a 6-qt stock pot and fill up with cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately lower heat to let stock gently simmer. Allow chicken to poach for about 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Carefully take meat off the bones and try to keep the meat in large pieces. Return skins and bones to stock pot to continue simmering. The chicken meat can then be shredded into long, thin strips for use in congee or salad. Continue to add hot water to stock pot to keep ingredients submerged for the remainder of cooking time. I like to simmer my stock for at least 2 hours, but ideally it should simmer for 6 hours or longer. Once done, pour stock through a fine mesh strainer into another stock pot. Discard the solids.


Rinse and drain rice. Heat up a skillet with olive oil, shallot, ginger, garlic and rice and toss until rice is fragrant and fully coated with oil. Transfer rice to pot of simmering stock. Cook for another 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Add white part of scallions, fish sauce and salt & pepper. Serve in soup bowl, topped with shredded chicken and chopped herbs. You can squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice for a burst of freshness. Mix all ingredients up before eating in order to savor all the wonderful flavors.

2. Chicken Congee with Steamed Vegetables

• 1 to 2 cups long grain rice
• 5 to 6 cups chicken broth
• 2 tsp salt
• olive oil
• salt and pepper
• 2 cups dark chicken, loosely chopped
• your favourite vegetables
• peanuts, chopped chillies or chopped scallions for garnish

Traditionally, congee is made when water is added to rice and then boiled to a porridge-like consistency. Substituting chicken broth for water, the congee has an extra strong flavour. Start by bringing the broth and the rice to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium low. Then put the lid on the pot, letting steam escape as when making rice. Cook the chicken in a frying pan for a minute or two to give it some colour and then add to the rice. Stir occasionally for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the congee achieves the right consistency and serve. Add salt, garnishes to taste and white pepper for flavour without the heat. If you have a steamer, adding your favourite vegetables into the pot will help the chicken broth infuse with the vegetables, as well as save you cooking time!

3. Mom’s Cold-Season Chicken Soup Recipe

4 cups of home made chicken soup
Fat from the homemade chicken stock
1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly diced
2 carrots, sliced in half-inch slices (about the same amount as onion)
2 celery stalks, sliced in 1/4 inch slices (about the same amount as the onion)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbsp of chopped greens from a green onion (green part of the green onion).
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) of crushed red pepper flakes (or a small pinch of cayenne)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a 4 qt saucepan, heat a tablespoon of chicken fat (that has risen to the surface and solidified from your homemade stock) on medium high heat. If you don’t have enough chicken fat, you can add some olive oil. Sauté the vegetables in the fat until the carrots are almost done. While you are sautéing the vegetables, add the seasoning – the poultry seasoning, the crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Seasoning like this during the cooking of the vegetables brings out their flavor. According to my mother, crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne is very helpful for a cold, which is why it is part of this recipe. Add the 4 cups of stock. Bring to a low simmer. Add the fresh parsley and green onion greens. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

Serve with (at least) day old crusty French bread.

Serves 3.

I hope these recipes will help you to recovery quickly if you get a cold. If you need more information on the above subject, please visit my home page:

Kyle J. Norton

I have been studying natural remedies for disease prevention for over 20 years and working as a financial consultant since 1990

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