Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chinese Porridge

Also known as congee (or "jook"), is a savory rice soup. It is a warming start of the day, and the go-to dish when you are starting to feel under the weather. 

In China and Asia, this soup is the basis for a wide variety of toppings from fish to pork. I usually make a chicken one, the bones really enhance the flavor. This is also a great feel-good food when you are coming down with a cold, especially when you garnish with plenty of finely chopped slivers of fresh ginger. Have some white pepper and tamari (or soy sauce) on-hand for people to season to taste.

½ cup (115g) rice, slightly rinsed
leftover bones of a roast chicken, or 2 skinless free-range chicken thighs, bone-in (optional)
5+ cups (1+ liter) water
1 tsp salt
Garnishes: chopped green onion, slivers of fresh ginger, peanuts, shredded kale
  • In cold water, rinse off any herbs from the leftover roast. Pick off any meat remaining on the bones and set aside to add later.
  • In a heavy-based saucepan rinse and drain the rice, add the chicken bones and water. Bring to a boil. For the first few minutes, skim off ant froth that rises to the surface. 
  • Leaving the cover slightly off, (I let a wooden chopstick rest on the top rim to keep the lid slightly open) bring heat down to a gently-rolling simmer for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. 
  • If mixture starts too look too thick, add a bit more boiling water as you go. It should look like, well, porridge.
  • Scoop out the bones and stir in the salt. 
  • Add the reserved chicken meat. Serve hot.

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