fitfool (fitfool) wrote,
fitfool
fitfool

Congee (Jook) - Chinese Rice Porridge


small photo of bowl of congee


Growing up, our mom sometimes made congee (pronounced con-jee) for breakfast, except she called it mwaye (all one syllable sounding kinda like moow-eye). I think that's the Taiwanese word for it. Each person had a bowl of watery soft rice. In the center of the table, there were a variety of small dishes to eat with the rice. Most often, we had sliced green onions, Chinese pickled cucumbers (in soy sauce?), eggs (tea-smoked or fried), and pork floss (a dried, shredded pork). Sometimes we'd also have whatever leftovers we had kicking around the fridge. Although we kids were finicky eaters, we all liked this meal. So much so, that when we were in Taiwan, we would request this dish even in restaurants. This embarrassed my parents a bit since apparently it was not really restaurant food. It's the sort of thing you have at home when you're sick and you want comfort food or if you're poor and don't have a lot to eat. It's not the sort of thing you order when you're out in a fancy restaurant celebrating gathering with your extended family for the first time in years. No matter. At least it wasn't as bad as when we demanded peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

I still love congee and made it on rare occasions. Last Christmas, B's dad and his wife gave us a fancy fuzzy-logic rice cooker. I've always pooh-poohed these things but I have to admit, they make perfect rice that doesn't stick to the pot or burn on the bottom. It even has a setting for porridge so it's easier than ever to have congee for breakfast. Awesome!

So on one hungry morning, I made this for breakfast. Starting from the egg and going clockwise, I piled on: fried egg (over medium with soy sauce drizzled on it), zucchini, Chinese watercress (from my parents' garden), green beans, and dried shredded salmon. That's right, now you can get dried shredded salmon! Mom brought some back from Taiwan for me on my last trip. Underneath that whole pile of stuff, the bowl is filled with soft rice porridge.

Apparently you CAN order it in restaurants. At least, I've seen it on menus in some of the places in Chinatown. I guess I've absorbed my parents' disdain for that as a restaurant dish though since I've never ordered it. Same way as I never order fried rice since that's made from old leftover rice. (And yet I make fried rice at home to use up my own rice leftovers.)

Sorry...no recipe since I'm just using a setting on my rice cooker. I think the basic idea is something like a cup of rice and lots of water (like 9 cups of water) and cook until the rice is really soft. But there should still be water. Add hot water as needed to keep it watery. Then season it and top with whatever you like.


congee with veggies, egg, and dried shredded salmon on top
Tags: breakfast, chinese
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