Bubur Ayam or chicken porridge is a common breakfast meal or late night snack in most parts of Indonesia. In the early morning or late evenings many streets are lined with vendors selling bubur Ayam. It's a cheap and filling meal ranging between 60 cents and 1.20 a bowl depending on the location and what additional condiments are offered, some include skewered innards (chicken,liver, kidney, colon) which I always pass on, not because I don't eat innards, it's purely out of hygenic reasons (they don't use plastic gloves when they skewer it). Usually when you buy from street vendors, the porridge is cooked in plain water and a broth that is seasoned with tumeric among other things is added, along with chopped celery, fried shallots, and crispy soy beans and a raw egg is you like. The only thing is, you can literally count the slither of shredded chicken that they give you. Otherwise it's delish. In Singapore, they're version of rice porridge known as "Congee" is cooked with either chicken or pork with innards as well if you like and the consistency is much more diluted than in Indonesia.
My version is much simpler and I'd like to say healthier. First you take one whole chicken breast that hasn't been boned and cut in four. Then you marinate it with 3 cloves of freshly ground garlic, salt, pepper, add a bit of water and put it in the fridge for at least an hour - the longer the better. Then you make the broth, I usually use a few chicken backbones with skin and boil it, skim off all the scum and strain. Once it's strained and put back in the pot (1 and a half or 2 liters of broth), add 2 bay leaves and a large chunk of peeled ginger, when this starts to boil add 2 cups of prewashed white rice and season with salt and white pepper. From time to time you have to stir it, otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot. You'll know when it's ready when the consistency is that of a porridge. Most importantly taste and continue to season with salt and white pepper to your liking. While this is brewing, fry the chicken well done - once it's cool, shred the chicken into bits and put aside in a bowl. Pour the porridge in a bowl, add some shredded chicken, chopped cilantro, fried shallots and a bit of soy sauce. I always add a lot of diced chilli because I love spicy food.
Bubur Ayam is what I crave for when I'm feeling under the weather or it's cold and raining outside. It's number on my list of comfort food...for that's what it is, comforting...