Rice congee with condiments.
Congee is a super warm and nourishing meal, originating somewhere in Asia, which can be adapted to any taste or diet. It's made by boiling rice for a long time, and with a lot more liquid than usual to create a porridge where the rice grains have broken down. It's exceptionally easy to make, and also extremely more-ish. The kids love it too. This one is made with chicken stock but you can use any stock you wish.
We like a rice:liquid ratio of 1:8 but you can adapt it to suit your tastes. You can always start with less stock and add more as the gruel cooks. You just don't want to let it get too dry as the rice will clump and stick to the pan, making it hard to bring it back to life.
Congee is made to be a vehicle for condiments. You can see why we love it, eh?! You can flavour it with anything and everything from diced veggies and meat, fermented bits and bobs, nuts, leaves, herbs and spices, and you guessed it... hot sauce. Below is our recipe for a simple congee with poached chicken and ginger.
This batch will feed four hungry people, or seven not so hungry people.
- 1 cup of rice. Any rice will do, but we use jasmine or basmati.
- 8 cups of good quality chicken stock. Honestly you can use stock cubes instead. Don't be a snob.
- a one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped to your preference.
- 2-3 chicken marylands. We like marylands with the skin on 'cos we find the bone+skin+dark meat combo gives the best flavour when poached.
- 1/2 a cup of soy sauce.
- extra soy sauce to taste
- sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds to garnish
- XO sauce
- Ultra Culture Lime Sriracha
- Ultra Culture Yuzu HS
- chopped spring onions
- more ginger, perhaps pickled?
- pickled shitake mushrooms
The list of additional ingredients is infinite. Just follow your tastebuds...
Let us cook....
- Pop the rice in a big pot. Bigger than you'd think. The volume will increase a lot when the rice absorbs the liquid. Rinse the rice well by covering it with cold water and slooshing it around with your hands. The water will become milky. Drain the rice and rinse again. Drain again. Now add the stock and your finely chopped ginger. If your stock is unseasoned you can add a good splosh of soy. Uncovered, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium. Stir the pot often so it doesn't clump or stick. Cook for around 40 minutes. If it is too wet keep cooking it uncovered and it will naturally reduce. If too dry add more stock or water.
- Meanwhile, in another large pot add the chicken marylands, the 1/2 cup of soy sauce and cover with water by at least four fingers. Bring this to the boil then turn down to low and cover. This can simmer until the congee is cooked. ##see cooks note##
- Gather those precious condiments.
- When the congee is looking close remove the marylands from their bath and set aside for a few minutes til they're cool enough to handle. Remove the skin, shred the meat off the bones and roughly chop it up.
- Before you serve the congee have a quick taste. You don't want it to be too salty but it does want to have a nice season to it. Some people don't like to add any condiments but you still want them to enjoy a beautifully flavoursome dish anyway. Adjust the seasoning appropriately.
- Ladle the congee into some rustic looking bowls and assemble the poached chicken artfully on top. Spoon a bit of soy around the edge and drop a couple blips of sesame oil around. Sprinkle your sesame seeds on top and add a good splash of our Lime Sriracha!
- Now for the best part - move on to the condiment cart.
Have fun with congee and friends and condiments.
This poaching liquid is a wonderful, simple stock in its own right. Make sure you save it and either use it for your next batch of congee or for any other recipe that calls for chicken stock. Try reducing it by half and adding some noodles and veggies for a quick and healthy lunch.