Congee with condiments

Congee with condiments

By
From
Hong Kong Diner
Serves
4
Photographer
Kris Kirkham

Every culture has its own cure-alls for flu, colds and other illnesses, alongside HOME REMEDIES and treatments, for children especially. Whether they’re soups, or teas, or porridge, these foods all tend to bring COMFORT AND STRENGTH as well as easy digestion – all necessary when battling illness. In Hong Kong, homemade congee may be the only thing that parents will allow their kids to eat when they are suffering any sort of stomach bug, but similarly there is also a huge congee-eating breakfast culture (similar to the UK’s porridge culture) that makes for A GREAT START TO THE DAY for adults and kids alike. Here’s my aunty Carmen’s recipe for a SMOOTH AND SATISFYING congee. For me, much like a simple chip butty, it’s the condiments and extras on the side of congee that brings a recipe like this together.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

The congee

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 a thumb-size piece of ginger
1 spring onion
175g rice
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 litre chicken stock
3 litres water

The soy sauce

Quantity Ingredient
6 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 finely sliced seedless bird’s-eye chilli

Suggested condiments

Quantity Ingredient
2 century duck eggs, (available in many Chinese supermarkets)
2 tablespoons pickled ginger
2 tablespoons tianjin preserved cabbage
2 tablespoons deep-fried garlic
2 tablespoons deep-fried shallots
1 finely chopped spring onion
3 sprigs of coriander, leaves picked

Method

  1. Finely slice the ginger and roughly chop the spring onion (scallion) into 4–5cm lengths. Do not wash the rice, but instead, massage 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the grains and allow the rice to sit, soaking in the oil in a saucepan, for 1 hour. Then add the salt, white pepper, chicken stock and water to the pan, along with the sliced ginger and spring onion.
  2. Place the pan on a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting and, once it’s just simmering, cover with a lid. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, then remove the lid and continue simmering until the congee has started to thicken. At this point, you can serve it as is, or continue boiling until the congee has reached your desired thickness, stirring occasionally so as not to let it stick to the bottom of the pan. My personal preference is to keep it boiling until it has reached a light oatmeal porridge type thickness.
  3. Mix the soy sauce ingredients together in a small bowl or ramekin and serve with the congee, with your choice of condiments on the side.

Tip

  • Try this recipe with the chinese savoury doughnuts recipe on the side to dip into the congee for a classic hong kong breakfast.
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