Having recently spent almost 2 weeks in China, I can say that I have eaten a fair amount of congee. If you don’t know what congee is, the basic Chinese congee consists of boiled rice and water (sounds yummy huh?). The rice is boiled in a high water to rice ratio to create a thin and plain slurry. This plain mixture is usually eaten when you are not feeling well. But most congee is served with various ingredients that are determined either by what you like or the healing properties of the ingredients.
Craig is not a fan of congee. He likens it to gruel and can’t get that image out of his head of the poor orphan boy holding his bowl with his 2 outstretched arms and a look of undernourished anguish on his face saying: “Please sir, may I have another?” Craig can be such the drama queen sometimes.
The best congee I had in China was at a small little place our guide (Vicky) took us to. The rice and water were a creamy color and contained a few pieces of thinly sliced lamb, some kombu (seaweed), and a poached egg. The broth had a rich flavor of various seasonings. Since it was only about 36 degrees outside, the warm bowl felt really good in my stomach. This is an easy recipe to make at home and the whole meal can be completed in 30 minutes.
In honor of Vicky and Chinese New Year, I thought that I would pass along a Chinese relationship saying that she told me about. Treat them like a guest.
- 6 Cups Water
- 1 Cup Medium Grain White Rice (can use other types of rice except instant rice or wild rice)
- 1 1″ Piece of Fresh Ginger (peeled)
- 1/2 Garlic Clove
- 1/4 of a Medium Brown Onion
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 2 Large Eggs
- 6-8 Thin Slices of Pork, Chicken, or Beef
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds (toasted)
- 1 Tablespoon Parsley (chopped)
In a large saucepan add water and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the mixture comes to a simmer.
Stir until the rice is soft and the liquid is thickened.
Once thickened, stir in soy sauce and add in the pieces of meat. Periodically turn the pieces of meat so that they cook on both sides.
Remove ginger, garlic and onion.
As the meat is close to being cooked through, gently slide eggs into the mixture. If they do not submerge into the congee, gently spoon the warm congee over the top of the egg until it becomes opaque.
Dish out the congee and include half of the meat and one egg in each bowl. Top each bowl with 1/2 of the sesame seeds and 1/2 of the parsley.
*Feel free to add in a piece of kombu when you add the ginger, onion and garlic (and remove at the same time). You could also make this with chicken or vegetable broth if you would like a stronger flavor to the congee. You may have to adjust the amount of salt and soy sauce.