I've wanted to cook congee for a while and finding myself still suffering under the tail of a hangover one day at 6pm a bowl of rice cooked in a single pot sounded like a good idea. There was no proper stock involved in the making of this congee nor is it remotely authentic I expect.
- three cups of rice
- shrimp satay sauce, nam pla, garlic, ginger, dried shrimp, sweet soy sauce
- peas, kale, bamboo shoots, spring onions
Two to three cups of easy-cook rice I mixed with about twenty cups worth of water and simmered until the grains start to break down and loose their individual structural integrity. I included some ginger and garlic from the starts, thinking they too would break down in the long cook and give some nice background flavours. Having never cooked congee before I wasn't sure of how long they rice would need and man it does need quite a while! You could still see the grains in mine by the end, held in a starchy matrix, but some pics seem to show the grain totally broken down to a paste.
In lieu of stock proper I added some sweet soy, hot shrimp satay sauce, nam pla and a pinch of veg bouillon. After a good hour and a half I chucked in the other things according to cooking times. Some sausages needed eating up so popped out of their skins and fried they made excellent meat balls. Bamboo shoots had the texture of artichokes in brine and a slightly nondescript or almost mildly fishy taste. When everything looks done serve with some deep fried shallots on top.
What a wonderful food. I guess that lots of Asian countries have their own versions of congee and it's not hard to see why - a modest amount of staple grain can be eked out a long way and flavoured with what ever is to hand. It's not far from risotto or paella though the UK doesn't really have a soup/stew based on a grain I can think of. A good chance to mess around then perhaps, and do a suitably patriotic British version.