Congee Comfort All Day

Served as a meal on its own, congee (or lugaw as we know it) is often a breakfast staple and whenever one is ill. Also considered as a late supper favorite for some. Typically thick, it is like a canvass that can withstand any color, flavour and texture. Hence, the congee can be eaten any time of any day.

My favorite congee is of course the one that my mom makes whenever I am home – the savory type. Although I also love the sweetened congee – champorado. However, since we live in different zipcodes, I rely on what’s on my kitchen – a staple fixture in my bowl would be strips of fried nori sheets (with a hint of salt and pepper), fried minced garlic, egg strips and shredded chicken. Most often, I experiment with shabu-shabu balls for a different take. It works… for my taste, that is.

Now, I’ll share with you some of my favorite congee recipes. These are from different websites that I personally cook and swear by. More so, I read somewhere that congee is making a big splash this year.. so, let’s get right into it.(I’ve tweaked the recipes to suit my taste and cravings. Do so if you wish)

GENERAL INSTRUCTION
Using a deep pot, boil the rice with more the necessary amount of water.
– you can use either type or rice
– instead of water, you can use stock (I prefer chicken or vegan stock)
There are those who season their boiled rice with salt and pepper. However, you can add anything of your preference.

Chicken Congee by http://theasiangrandmotherscookbook.com
I’ve tweaked this recipe a bit by adding more savory spices. Also, I’ve experimented on this recipe with additional Indian spices and herbs.
2 cups cooked white rice
5 cups water
½ pound chicken bones
thick slices fresh ginger
cloves of garlic, smashed
1 green onion, tied into a knot
¼ red onion
Soy sauce, salt, garlic powder and white pepper to taste
Sesame oil for drizzling (optional)
1. In a medium pot, combine the rice, water, chicken bones, ginger, garlic, green onion, onion and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any scum or foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer.
2. When the rice grains are swollen and the mixture is as thick as oatmeal, the congee is ready. If it gets too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin, cook it until it reaches the desired smoothness and thickness.
3. Remove the bones, ginger, garlic, green onion and onion. Add soy sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste.
4. Ladle into individual bowls, drizzle with sesame oil and/or kecap manis, and garnish as desired.

Korean Sweet Rice Soup from http://www.flavorandfortune.com
This is the very recipe I use. This was something I ate when I was in Singapore and as such, went on the internet and searched for a feasible recipes with ingredients we have. Sometimes, I use the same kind of dates.
2 teaspoons minced dates
1 Tablespoon honey
½ cup pitted sliced dates
½ cup honey
2 cups short grain rice
1 cup pine nuts
1. Soak minced dates in 1 Tablespoon honey for an hour. Do the same with the sliced dates in another bowl with the larger amount of honey for 2 to 3 hours.
2. Grind rice, with two cups of water, in a blender until smooth. Remove and add the sliced dates.
3. Put rice mixture in a large pot. Add 6 additional cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour, stirring periodically. If it gets too thick, add more water, a quarter of a cup at a time.
4. Toast the pine nuts in a dry fry pan until lightly colored. Cool, then grind. Do this in a mortar and pestle.
5. Add ground nuts and simmer for five minutes. Serve in individual bowls, topping each with a little of the minced dates and honey.

Ginger Chicken Rice Porridge http://www.chowhound.com
More like what we usually have here, this is bursting with ginger flavor. Sometimes, I add cayenne pepper for an added kick.
6 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ pounds chicken, skin removed
1 cup long-grain white rice
fresh ginger, sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
freshly ground white pepper, plus more as needed
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
sliced scallions, for garnish

Make #TheRoyalChef your Thursday habit! I am on Instagram (@theroyalchefleebai) and twitter (@royalchefeats). Blog: theroyalchefeats.wordpress.com

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