Monday, 3 November 2008

Comfort Food - Congee

After a couple of rather heavy weeks of binge eating and drinking, the time came for something mildly detoxifying and light on the palate. My grandmother used to make me congee whenever I was ill, and she always made it with the magic ingredient; dried scallops. My mother had a friend bring her some from Hong Kong, and when I was given some the first thing that sprung to my mind was congee.

Congee is like a rice porridge. It's very bland and has often been likened to wallpaper paste. You can really add any kind of toppings you like, as long as they're highly flavoured. Many people eat century eggs or salted duck eggs in congee. You can also have mixed meat congee; I have ghastly memories of eating congee with boiled pigs liver in it, which was similar in texture to licking velvet - very unpleasant.

Congee

Serves 2

1 mugful of white long grain rice (I use Thai)

6 mugfuls of water or stock

3 or 4 dried scallops (optional - they're very expensive)

Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan and add the rice. Simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally until thick. You may need to add more stock / water if it begins to catch.

Good toppings to use are salted peanuts, rinsed fermented black beans, chilli sauce (I used Nam Prik Pao), spring onions, soy sauce, white pepper and ginger. Marinated meats and seafood also work well, as do eggs.

It's not an earth shattering recipe, but rather good comfort food.

4 comments:

Su-Lin said...

Gag to boiled pigs liver. I was also fed it (it being "good" for girls) and hated it. Still hate it, in fact.

My comfort congee is either the usual fish slice and ginger and spring onion variety or my mother's pork meatball one. Very comforting! Oh, and it's good with pork floss on top too!

Joshua said...

I'm getting used to that pigs liver, couldn't stand it but I've eaten so many portions of assorted meat ho fun from Wong Kei that I don't notice it so much now.

I need to cook my congee in stock though, even with toppings it's just too bland if only cooked in water. The sam pan congee (dried squid, jelly fish and some random bits of meat) from Crispy Duck/Hung's is one of my favourites.

c+j said...

i love congee, and i'm going to be the first to declare i love it with pig's liver! and century eggs, mmm. very much enjoying your blog by the way!

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

I had congee every morning in HK recently at the hotel - either chicken with dried scallops or pork with dried scallops. My mother always uses dried scallops when making congee (in everything actually), but I was too chicken to bring any back from HK...