Lords of the Drinks

Congee, the Chinese dish to cure hangovers


The Chinese hangover cure congee.

We already gave you some tips and tricks to get rid of your hangover. But every country has its own traditional dishes to make the process go faster. We like to give you a taste of the international anti-hangover cuisine. In this episode we bring you a dish from China called congee. The main ingredient is chicken and the ginger, garlic and scallions make it an excellent medicine for rough mornings.

China doesn’t really have a great reputation where it comes to drinking. Mainly since a large part of the population has a genetic disadvantage. Just like Japanese people many Chinese lack an enzyme that helps to metabolyze alcohol. All details can be found in our post Why Indians are Alcoholics and Asians Can’t Drink. Still China has a nice ancient drinking tradition.

The traditional liquor in China is called baijiu, a clear drink with an alcohol percentage of 40 to 60. Usually baijiu is made from sorghum, but sometimes other types of grain are also used. Because of China’s enormous population baijiu is the most consumed spirit in the world. The oldest traces of alcohol consumption in China are 9.000 years old. Pottery found and examined by archaeologists suggests that the people populating China in those times already drunk beer. Nowadays most Chinese beers are pale lagers. Besides that the country has some fine rice wines and grape wines. And the real adventurers may even dare to try snake or baby mice wine.

All by all China has plenty to offer, to make a solid hangover cure quite important. Well, this remedy is called congee. Here’s how to make it…

1 frying chicken (cut in 8 pieces)
1/2 kilo chicken necks or wings
2,5 cm piece of ginger (sliced)
3 scallions (crushed)
4 cloves of garlic (smashed)
200 grams of long white rice
Peanut oil
50 grams of sliced shallots
25 grams of thinly sliced garlic

Extra’s for serving:
Fresh cilantro
Sliced scallions
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Lime wedges

Put the 8 pieces of chicken, the chicken necks/wings, ginger crushed scallions and smashed garlic in a large pot. Add 4 liters of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. After 1 to 1,5 hours the chicken should be tender enough. Remove the chicken from the liquid and set the pieces aside to cool.
Now bring the chicken broth to a boil again and add the rice. Cook the rice while stirring frequently for about 2,5 hours. At this point the rice must be completely broken down and you have a kind of porridge left.
While the rice is cooking, remove the chicken meat from the bones and cut into bitesize pieces. You can throw the skin and bones away.
Now take a saucepan and put in the peanut oil. Fry the shallots until they are crispy. Drain them with a paper tow and set aside. Do the same with the sliced garlic.
When the rice soup is ready, you serve it in shallow bowls with chicken, shallots and garlic on top. Serve all the extra’s in small bowls so everyone can garnish their chicken congee the way they want. Enjoy!

Micky Bumbar

Check out more tasty hangover cures from around the world