It’s not even fall yet but I’m already craving for good ol’ fashion home-made ‘chuk’ aka congee or porridge. A good home-made congee tickles me warm in my tummy. I remembered when I was sick, my mum would make a good bowl of pork congee and I would immediately felt better after eating it. It’s like the “chicken soup for my soul”.
Congee can be cooked to several different textures. If you want to see rice grains and the consistency to be not too starchy, don’t cook too long. If you want a more starchy consistency, the rice grains will be broken by cooking it longer.
The wonderful thing about making congee is you can put just about any ingredients and it’ll still taste good. The broth absorbs the wonderful flavours impart by the ingredients that you’ve put in. Congee can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I like to eat my congee with fried peanuts, pickled lettuce and fried anchovies. This recipe generates congee with broken rice and slightly starchy consistency which is the way I like.
1 cup rice, washed
2 litres chicken stock (if you use store bought chicken stock, use 1 litre stock and 1 litre water)
1 cm ginger, sliced
300g pink ling (or any white fish), cut into medium cubes
100g crab meat
100g dried scallop, rinse and soak in hot water for 10 minutes
1 scallion, chopped, to garnish
fried shallots, to garnish (optional)
(Marinade for fish)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp chinese rice wine
1/2 tsp white pepper
1. Marinade the fish and refrigerate.
2. Pour the rice and chicken stock into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the fire to simmer the rice with the lid half open. Add ginger.
3. About 30 minutes later, add dried scallop and stir to mix. Slowly simmer the rice and continue to check the water level. If it has dry out, add more water. Simmer until it reaches the consistency that you like. If you prefer rice grain texture and watery consistency, simmer for about 1 hour. If you like starchy consistency with broken rice texture, leave it for about 2 – 2.5 hours.
4. Once you have reached the level of consistency you like, add the fish and crab meat. Cook for another 15 minutes. Stir and taste.
5. Garnish with anything you like from ginger to chopped scallions or sprinkles of fried shallots. If the congee is not salty enough, you can drizzle some soy sauce on top.