Congee (cure for flu)

Second bout of flu hit me in the midst of another chilly day. Apparently, it snowed lightly and weather has gone freezing again after 2 weeks of spring like temperature. Ah!

Nothing else speaks to me except a comforting bowl of porridge. No, not the oat porridge cooked in milk you have in your mind. This is the smooth and fragrant bowl of porridge made from rice, in other words, congee. Mum always called it a porridge since we were small, so, in my mind, porridge sounds right.

Normally, we would have salty side dishes to go with it, such as fried salted fish, hard boiled salted duck egg, preserved Chinese radish and etc.

My parents attempted making salted fish (I have yet to ‘interview’ them for the making) and salted eggs(using duck eggs which soaked  in brine for approx. 1 month)in house , I would say they are pretty successful in resembling the ones bought in Asia.

Ingredients (Serve 2 – 3)

  • 2 cups of Jasmine rice (from Thailand, the best choice for making rice porridge)
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • light soya sauce (to taste)
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 chicken stock cube (optional)
  • 1 dash of white wine OR rice wine (optional)
  • Condiments are fried shallots, chopped spring onion and white pepper.

My ideal  texture of a rice porridge would be moderately thick yet a tad flowy. Measurements for making such consistency depends on the size of pot you use, this is my method anyway.

Here it is, whatever pot you are using, so long you cover up the bottom of the pot with rice evenly and thinly about 1 cm, then fill up half of the pot with water and an addition of just one more dash of water. Add a few shakes of salt when the water is boiling.

Preparation

  1. Bring the rice in water to boil first,  then lower the heat to simmer the contents through, stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to pot bottom.
  2. According to (Chinese) old wives tale, we should add in a clean porcelain spoon into the contents(to act as a stirrer I think) and the elderly recommend this, claiming the porridge would turn out smoother.
  3. You could scoop out the congee when it is done to your preferred consistency. Typically, the rice should be nearly all broken down.
  4. My dad’s version in treating plain congee would be a dash of white wine, sesame oil, an egg and chicken stock (or any stock) which would enhance the plain congee flavour if you plan to eat this dish on its own.
  5. Alternatively, you could cook the congee with chicken parts, shitake mushrooms or pork ribs as the base flavour.
  6. Serve it with a dash of light soya sauce, chopped spring onions and some fried shallots.
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