For me, congee is one of the simple meals that can be eaten at any time of the day. If you do have the chance to watch Hong Kong dramas, you will notice that they have it for breakast. Just a simple congee with a stick of chinese doughnut. And when I am back in Singapore for a visit, I will have it after a night out of partying. It is usually Teochew porridge at one of the late night hawker places. They are usually served with choices of small dishes like chye por (preserved radish), chilli kangkong, steamed fish, braised pork…. the list goes on and it does varies at different places.
There are two methods that I use to cook congee/rice porridge/jook (Cantonese way of saying it):
- Soak white rice over night and then boil it in water till the rice is broken and mashed up. It is usually one cup of rice to 8 cups of water.
- Use leftover rice. Add water and simmer till the consistency that suits you
Congee is a very forgiving dish. You can have it anyway you like it. If it gets too thick, add more water. If it is too thin, boil it down more. Can anyone actually overcook congee?
What is a Century egg?
It is also known as preserved egg. According to Wikipedia, what transforms a century egg from the normal egg is its alkaline material, which raises the pH of egg from around 9 to 12 or more. This process also helps give century egg a stronger flavor. It has a rather strong ammonia smell which is why there is a myth that the eggs are preserved by soaking horse urine. This isn’t true as urine is usually more acidic than alkaline. Century eggs are actually made from preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months.
Century eggs is definitely an acquired taste. The best part of the egg is the yolk. It has a thick custard-like texture. I enjoy eating them plain with pickled ginger or with congee. My mum actually makes a pretty good steamed custard egg dish that consists of chicken, duck and century eggs. Sometimes, she will add some minced pork in it to give more flavour. Yummmm….! Such fond memories
Simple stir-fry bean sprouts with fresh cut chilli and garlic. It is really as simple as it sound. It takes almost no time. The bean sprouts should still have a little crunch. That is the way I like it. Top it up with fresh coriander and it is ready for consumption. Sometimes, I will add dried shrimps and more fresh cut chilli for the extra punch.
For me, congee is not complete with chinese doughnut or youtiao. It is actually a long strip of dough that is deep fried in oil. Cut it in chuck pieces and it adds the crunch and texture to the smooth congee. Another popular way to eat this is to dunk it in fresh soy milk (the chinese version and not those that we get in supermarkets here )
This is comfort food to me. I eat congee when recuperating or am sick. I eat it when I have a hangover. I eat it when I have an indigestion. I eat it anytime. It can be a one pot wonder. Just throw in some minced pork, eggs and season with salt, white pepper and sesame oil. There are so many ways to have congee. Simple foods like this always make me smile.
Please share your favourite one pot wonder.