Wednesday, October 07, 2009
I had fond memories of congee from my childhood, so this recipe appealed to me immediately. It was easy to make and healthy, though I must say I found it a bit bland. Then again, I didn’t use the fish sauce recommended by David Lebovitz, so that might be why! Also, the Engineer and I both preferred the texture on the second day, when it was a bit thicker than on the first (you can compare the two pictures here).
Take 1 cup unrinsed short grain rice, and put it in a big pot with 8 cups of water and 2 cups chicken stock. Let it simmer for about an hour or so, over low heat, until the rice is completely soft and swollen.
Add a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger that you’ve peeled and minced well.
Here’s where you get creative with your ingredients. I added shitake mushrooms, frozen peas, diced chicken breast, sweet potatoes and a dash of soy sauce. You could add shrimp, tofu, carrots, just about anything you want. Don’t forget to salt.
Then, simmer the soup for about thirty minutes more, to meld all the flavors. So much depends on the rice that it's hard to note exact cooking times. But this is rustic fare, so just use your judgment and cook it until the grains of rice are very plump and tender and the ingredients look happy together. When done, the congee should be soupy and runny, not thick enough to hold a spoon. But there's no standard for congee-consistency, so it's right when it's as you like it.
For garnish, you could use scallions, cilantro or chopped peanuts. Bon appétit!