Bubur Ayam (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Bubur is porridge, ayam is chicken. The base ingredient is rice. So bubur ayam is Indonesian language for Chicken Rice Porridge. It is one of the staple food in Indonesia, each town has different seasoning and how to serve it, but it is the same base for the ingredient, rice and chicken.
When we were a kid, my mom usually fed us chicken porridge when we get sick too, I guess it because contain all necessary nutrient like chicken soup to help our body to fight with common cold or flu, and it sure can fill up the belly at the same time, while we were just stayed in bed waiting for that sickness gone. We also feed the baby who starts eating solid close to one-year-old with this porridge, without ingredients for garnish and condiment, it still a better choice than package store-bought baby food, but it is totally up to the parent choice for this one.
You can serve the porridge with few spoons of the yellow chicken broth or just the porridge with the other ingredients without broth. If you like all the aromatic herb like lemongrass or coriander then you will know how is the taste will be, it tastes like chicken soup with the citrus fragrant, just like any other Asian food with similar herb they use on cooking.
I use chicken thigh here because this cut has more flavor, but you definitely can use chicken breast, and you can replace water with chicken broth instead.

Chicken Rice Porridge

Bubur Ayam (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Serve: 4 portion

For the porridge:

  • 1 cup rice ( I use jasmine rice)
  • 6 cups water or chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 tsp salt

For the yellow chicken broth:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1-inch fresh ginger or 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1-inch fresh turmeric or 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 lime leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 and 1/2 cup water
  • enough oil for frying the cooked chicken

For garnish:

  • 2 egg
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • chopped fresh celery leaves
  • chopped green onion
  • fried shallot
  • Fried soybean
  • Indonesian sweet soy sauce (optional)
  • Shrimp cracker or emping belinjo ( optional)


For the porridge:

  • Rinse the rice, put it in the medium size pan, add all ingredient. Cook it over medium heat, once the rice absorbs the water, keep stirring it to prevent scorching or burn the rice. It is somewhat a labor in the kitchen, you required to stand up in front of the stove until the porridge ready, the rice will look soft and mushy, the chicken is cooked and fall apart when you stir the porridge. It is similar to rice pudding consistency. Turn the heat off and set aside.

For the yellow chicken broth:

yellow chicken broth

  • You can actually cook this at the same time as the porridge.
  • Using the pestle and mortar or blender, grind the shallot, garlic, and turmeric, or just mince it.
  • Peel the ginger skin off then bruise it with knife or spoon. Also, the same way with lemongrass, bruise it before cook will release the fragrant better while cooking.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, put oil then add the ground (minced) shallot, garlic, turmeric. Add lemongrass, lime leaves and ginger, saute until fragrant.
  • Add chicken, coriander, white pepper, bay leaves and water, once it boils, turn the heat down, add salt and simmers the broth until the chicken cook, set aside.
  • Take the chicken out, fry the chicken until a little bit dry, then shred it.

For garnish:

porridge garnish

  • Make omelet from the two eggs, then slice it up thinly.
  • To make the fried shallot, slice the shallot then fry it until a bit brown but not burn, you can use the oil from frying the cook chicken thigh or use the different oil.
  • For shrimp cracker or emping belinjo, this is optional, as some people don’t like those things, but it definitely adds the authenticity of the food origin. Most of these can be found in any Asian grocery store. You can actually make the shrimp cracker from scratch like the recipe here or here.
  • For Indonesian sweet soy sauce, it is optional too, as some people don’t feel comfortable eating soy product due to the dietary restriction or just don’t eat soy. It is different than regular soy sauce, this one has a thicker consistency and sweet taste. Same with fried soybean, you can omit it if you preferred.

How to serve:

Chicken Rice Porridge.

  • Put the porridge on the plate or bowl, add 3 or 4 tbsp of yellow chicken broth over porridge, garnish it with shredded chicken, sliced omelet, chopped green onion, chopped celery leaves, chopped parsley, fried shallot, fried soybean. Top the porridge with sweet soy sauce if you use it. Serve it with shrimp cracker or emping belinjo.
  • If you like to add spicy kick into it, you can add a teaspoon of hot chili powder or crushed Thai chili when you serve the porridge.

In Singapore and Malaysia, I believe it called congee. In Indonesia, we can easily find rice porridge everywhere, from the people who sell it going around the town by bicycle, motorcycle, simple cart, or in a restaurant. Each town has a different name and a little bit different taste. This day, chicken rice porridge is not only for breakfast but it also for lunch or dinner. Now, I only enjoy it for dinner as it is filling and still complete meal on a bowl.

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