Bish’s Chicken Porridge for the Soul

Comfort foods’ health benefits should not be underrated. Traditional recipes especially because they have been handed down  from generation to generation for a reason.

Special guest blogger Bish writes:

I’ve been crook most of the week, and as a result I ended up cooking one of my “comfort” foods, congee, or rice porridge.

The thing is, when you are feeling sick, you really don’t feel like doing much, and you sure don’t feel like taking photos of the food you are doing for a potential blog down the road, so PK is going to have to steal some photos from elsewhere to illustrate this post.

Congee is eaten in many parts of the world, and it’s called all sorts of other things in other languages, but in my house (and my mother-in-law’s house) it gets called congee. My mother-in-law and I do bond a bit over cooking and gardening and she’s taught me a few things over the years – like adding dried scallops to my congee while it is cooking.
Anyway, congee has to be one of the simplest dishes to cook and (placebo or whatever) always makes me feel better.

You’ll need:
• Uncooked white rice
• Stock (like Ben’s medicinal chicken broth or PK’s slow cooker chicken stock)
• Other stuff you might want to throw in, like dried scallops
• Condiments – soy sauce, sesame oil, dried shallots and white pepper are my favourites

To make it:
When I cook up a batch of stock, I freeze it into those takeaway containers that you have lying around, and so there’s always a few of these stored in the freezer – I should label them “in case of illnesss, make congee with this”. So I’ll start on the assumption that you have some in the freezer…

Here we go:

  1. Take the frozen block of stock out of the freezer, and chuck it in a saucepan on low heat.
  2. Go take some more cold and flu medications while it defrosts, and turn up the heat a little as you get more liquid.
  3. When it comes to the boil, chuck in the optional bits you like, and a cup or two of uncooked rice. The amount you put in depends on how much you want to heat, as you’ll probably need to play with the liquid ratios anyway – two cups would do about four big bowls of congee.
  4. Intermittently come back and take a look at the pot – if it is too dry, add water (or if you have more stock, add more stock), if it is too wet, you can chuck in a bit more rice – but I tend to need to add more water than rice. It’s done when the rice has broken down into a sort of slurry (I know that’s not appetising).
  5. Turn off the heat and ladle out a bowl full of it. Then you want to finish it off; add in a splash of soy sauce (watch how salty your stock was), a few drops of sesame oil, white pepper and dried shallots. Then go and rug up, and sit and eat it all up. Usually, I then go and have a sleep for an hour or two and then come back, turn the pot back on, warm up the congee, and eat more, then repeat.
  6. If there’s still some left in the pot that evening, I throw it in the fridge overnight (pot and all) and then have it again for breakfast.

This is not the most amazing recipe in the world or anything, but if you are feeling lousy from a cold or whatever, it’s really easy to make and it does seem to help me get over colds and flus quicker.

I’m going back to bed now.

Bish

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