Congee Porridge Recipe

Living in Boulder, Colorado, USA, I sometimes long for good old-fashioned congee Cantonese style. Today, I decided it was time to pen down a good recipe so I can always repeat this whenever the craving arrives. While I enjoy Taiwanese style porridge which sometimes includes sweet potatoes and thus has a slightly sweeter flavor, I prefer the savory aspect of the Hong Kong style congee made by the Cantonese which has a smoother creamier consistency so enjoy! First, season uncooked rice with salt and oil for about an hour before cooking. This salt and oil combination helps disintegrate the rice grains. (If you examine the rice grains after soaking in salt and oil after an hour, you will see crack lines in the grains, yeah!) Second, add the rice only when the water is boiling, the sudden change of temperature ‘shocks’ the rice grains into rapid expansion. Last but not least, stir the congee regularly especially during the last part of cooking. All of these actions accelerate the process of ‘breaking-up’ rice. Stirring also helps to create a smooth silky texture and prevents a crust from forming on the bottom of the pan. You may use a rice cooker with porridge settings. There are many different ingredients you can add to congee – popular options include pork and century egg. I also like meatballs or fish and ginger in my porridge. If adding meat such as chicken or pork to your congee, remember to season with soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and cornstarch prior to adding to congee. In Hong Kong, the Cantonese especially love deep-fried peanuts, vermicelli and you-tiao (dough fritters) to give the congee an extra crunch. Remember to garnish with scallions or fresh cilantro upon serving. If you just want plain porridge, you can also saute up some vegetables or a fish or meat dish to accompany your congee just like you would with a meal with white rice. One of my favorite dishes that goes hand in hand with congee is a long bean and egg omelette. I also enjoy having my porridge with long beans and sambal balachan. So are you ready to make traditional Cantonese congee? Check out this recipe….. CANTONESE CONGEE RECIPE Serves 2 __________________________________________ Ingredients Congee 3/4 cup (= 1 rice cup or 160g) white rice – jasmine or short grain 2 tsp cooking oil 1 tsp salt 10 cups (2400 ml) chicken stock and/or water (see * Note) Water for adding later – up to 2 cups/500 ml * Note: I prefer to use some chicken stock as it adds a richer flavor. I use 1/2 chicken stock and 1/2 water.
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