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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)

Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams) 1

While home, I plundered my mom's cupboards for the lovely bowls you see in this post. Then JetBlue broke half of them! :( If I had known they were going to trash my carry-on suitcase, I wouldn't have let them check it. :(


I was really sad! :(

Darn you JetBlue!


To cheer myself up, because the Vietnamese cure for the blues is Chao (Vietnamese Rice Porridge), I made Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams) with some of the fresh frozen razor clams my mom sent down with me.

Unless you have a whole tray of clams, and even then, the rice porridge will benefit from some good homemade chicken broth. Once you have a flavorful, clear broth, then add the rice. The clams go in last so they don't overcook and become tough. I like my porridge a little thick, but it's easy enough to fix if you like it looser, just add water. :P

Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams) 2

Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)

If you don't know, read my directions on how to Prepare Geoduck and Razor Clams.

For a 3-quart pot, you'll need:
1/2 lb chicken bones
2 tsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 tsp salt
2 cups rice, rice measuring cup size, or 1 1/2 cups American measuring cup size
2 cups razor or geoduck clams, cut into 2-inch pieces, or canned clams if you must, and any clam juice that's left

Optional: Garnish with sliced scallions or grated ginger.

Fill a 5-quart stock pot with 3 quarts of water. When the water boils, add the chicken bones, 2 tsp fish sauce, and 1 tsp salt. Let the bones boil on high for about 20 minutes to half an hour to extract as much flavor from the bones as possible. Yes, the broth will reduce a little because of evaporation. Scoop out the bones and skim the scum off the surface.

Add 2 cups rice. Cover and let cook for another 20 minutes to half an hour until the rice really softens and become porridge.

Add the clams and any clam juice and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Taste, adjust if necessary.

Serve to soothe your sadness over broken pretty bowls. :(

Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams) 3


All Oregon posts can be found in the tag, Series: Oregon. I suggest reading this particular trip in this order:
I-5 From LA to Portland
Mom and Dad's Garden
Burgerville - Portland - Oregon
Hakatamon - Beaverton - Oregon
I Think I'll Go For a Walk Outside Now...
Vista Point - Oregon City
End of Oregon Trail Interpretive Center - Oregon City
Stevens-Crawford Heritage House - Oregon City
Museum of the Oregon Territory - Oregon City
Mom's Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes)
Blackberry Cobbler
Bonneville Lock and Dam - Cascade Locks - Oregon
Bonneville Hatchery - Cascade Locks - Oregon
Multnomah Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Horsetail Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Wahkeena Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Bridal Veil Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Historic Columbia River Highway - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Latourell Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Crown Point Vista House - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Banh Cuon Tan Dinh - Portland - Oregon (Closed)
Downtown Portland - Oregon
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland Classical Chinese Garden) - Portland - Oregon
Powell's City of Books - Portland - Oregon
Mom's Geoduck, Dynamite-Style and Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)

How to Prepare Geoduck and Razor Clams
Geoduck, Japanese Dynamite-style
Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)
Le Bistro Montage - Portland - Oregon
Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen - Portland - Oregon

1 year ago today, a pink wool scarf and pantry items for a fundraiser for Figs with Bri.
2 years ago today, the queen of fruits - mangosteen.


  1. Wow! This sounds comforting despite the broken dish. I'm not as framiliar with Vietnamese recipes, so I'll have to come back more often! Great blog!

  2. Oh no! Sue them! Good thing you still have some that got out OK.

  3. i am so upset for you over the bowls!!! i bought a souvenir clay espresso cup from the islands last week and when i unpacked my suitcase, it was broken! i know and feel your pain Chi WC.

    i like chao, it is such a comfort food. i've never had it with clams tho, my grandfather used to make with cá kho tộ, which brings me such comfort, no matter the weather outside.

  4. Sorry to hear about the loss. I hate when that stuff happens. Those are really cute dishes too!

    This recipe sounds delicious. Maybe I'll try it tomorrow night. With this "cold" May weather, it sounds like just the perfect thing to enjoy!

  5. I think that's the Chinese cure for the blues, too! ;)
    So sorry about your lovely bowls. But glad you had a nice big bowl of porridge to feel better with.

  6. Ouch! I feel your pain - the airlines broke my drop spindle shaft too when I came home from university even though I wrapped it up as best as I could. I was soooooo upset. I could have done with some of this lovely rice porridge at the time!

    Now to find some clams or dried oysters to make this - dried oysters would be a bit easier at least in the area I live.

    And I looooooooooove that orange dust in the last post! I keep saying I want to make it and I don't because the weather's so hot, turning on the oven would just be dreadful.

  7. hi wc - that looks just like arroz caldo but with clams! yum! i put ginger in my arroz caldo as flavoring. i need to make it with clams next time; i normally use chicken. it's def. comfort food to me.

  8. Oow. That happens unfortunately with all ground staff! Fling and flying in a arch goes each bag...seen it on many other airlines too, not just JetBlue. :( Hopefully if next time (if there will ever be) you can get a fragile tag for your bag so you can be happy! :)

    I've never heard of porridge with clams before. That's a first for me! But I've had porridge with something a bit more unusual that has an approximate texture to clams so clams must be good!

  9. Cocina Savant,
    I find that people either love or hate bivalves. I'm definitely in the love camp and this soup is very comforting for me indeed.

    Liabilities of traveling. :(

    I like ca kho to sauce spooned over the chao. Mmm.

    As I was packing the bowls, I debated whether to add them to my carry-on bag, but I already had very fragile glasses and figured there wasn't room. :(

    Food Gal,
    I'm still bummed about my bowls. :(

    No fresh oysters around? I wonder if the dried oysters would reconstitute enough or if they'd be hard lumps?

    Arroz caldo = chao. :)

    It was supposed to be my carry-on suitcase, but they checked it at the gate. I figured they'd be more careful, but evidently not.


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