Monday, December 5, 2011

Congee (粥)

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Congee, to me, is comfort food. My mom made it for me whenever I got sick. It seems like a very simple dish -- nothing but water and rice. But the tricky thing about congee is getting the right consistency. The rice must release its starch until it disintegrates but not so far along that congee turns into glue. The secret is the water to rice ratio, which should be 10:1. I used 1/2 cup of rice with 5 cups of water. The other secret is patience -- stir often for a long period of time, about 2+ hours. Place water and rice in a large lidded pot and bring water to boil. Stir often. Turn heat to low, just barely simmering. Keep the lid slightly ajar so it doesn't boil over. Cook until the mixture is thickened.

The best part to congee is the toppings! Here, we have pickled cucumbers, spicy pickled radish, seitan with peanuts, chopped green onions and thinly shredded ginger. But there are so many options, including shredded dried pork and thousand year old duck eggs. I thought about getting the thousand year old eggs, but they come in a package of 4 and I'm sure VB won't help me eat them. Maybe next time...

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