Friday, February 01, 2008

Foodie Friday :: Congee

I tried my hand at making Congee this week. I've never officially had congee, say at a restaurant or made by someone who actually knows what they're doing, but it's been on my mind a lot recently. I think because there are a lot of testimonies of people who swear by it's healing powers for colds and flus.

I came across a recipe in a Darina Allen cookbook belonging to my roommates. It looked simple enough, but never having had congee before, I was weary. I cross-referenced with some other congee recipes from the web, and came up with a game plan I felt comfortable with.
The rice porridge is a blank palate, and could easily take on any types of flavors you might want. As I was making this, I kept think that it would be good with the addition of something fresh like fresh spinach or something.

Chicken Congee

1 c. jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
9-10 cups of liquid (I use 1 box low sodium chicken stock and the rest water, but you can do whatever ratios you want)
1/2 lb. chicken breast
4-6 green onions, sliced thinly
a knob of ginger, grated
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 c. white mushrooms, sliced
2-3 Tbs. sesame oil
cilantro, chopped

1). Combine the rice and the stock/liquid in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and let simmer for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on this as it cooks and sir occasionally. If it gets too thick at any time, just add some more stock or water.

2). Cut chicken in to thin slices. Combine in bowl with garlic, sesame oil, ginger and 2 of the green onions. Allow to marinate while rice cooks.

3). Once rice has been cooking for about 4 minutes or so, add chicken. Make sure to include all that marinaed too. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms. After this has cooked enough to cook the chicken through (another 5 minutes or so), taste the rice and adjust the seasonings. If it's lacking in flavor, you could add some extra boullion, or just add some good ol' salt and pepper.

4). It's up to you if you want it soupy or more like a porridge. Whichever way, cut off the heat when it's of the consistency you're going for. Let cool about 5 minutes and ladle into bows. Garnish with cilantro and the rest of the green onions and serve. Serves ~6.

I added a couple cooked shrimp to my portion since I happened to have some on hand.

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