Like “Pulling Teeth”?

I had five teeth pulled recently in preparation for getting braces. Food-wise, I prepared by making a huge pot of cháo, the Vietnamese version of “congee”, or rice porridge. Since I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be up to chewing anything, I opted to purée everything into a soup-like dish. I cooked rice, with twice the usual amount of water. I made chicken broth, with chicken (duh!), onions, ginger, and salt and fish sauce to taste.  I separate the chicken meat and then purée rice, broth and chicken together into a thick soup.  After I have puréed everything, I tasted and seasoned the “soup”.

To serve, I add caramelized/crisped thinly sliced shallots and thinly sliced scallions (no chewing required!) to bring a bit more oomph to the dish.

Cháo gà: Vietnamese rice porridge with chicken

(When I do phở gà, I refrigerate the chicken meat in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Upon uncovering, the chicken would  give off a rather strong smell, a  “chicken” smell on steroids!  It dissipates quickly and by the time it’s served, it smells great, but the initial smell is always quite off-putting.  I wonder why it’s like that…)