Congee for your sick days, congee for missing-your-Mommy days, congee for hangovers, congee for brunch, congee impress-your-virgin- friends, congees for extended-TV-watching, congee right-out-of-the-fridge-heated-up anytime.
Most people look at congee recipes online and despair because it takes a couple hours of slow cooking.
Here's how to make quick, perfect-tasting rice porridge:
Cook 1 part rice to 8 parts water or chicken stock. Or fish or veggie stock. Or coconut milk.
Cook it just like you would cook a regular rice recipe, for 20 minutes.
Here's the sneaky, "right-tool-for-the-jook" trick:
Take an immersible blender and blend what's in your saucepan until it's like pudding.
That's the basic recipe, but I've written down the congee I made yesterday so you can see an example of a full-blown congee pig-out.
My friends Janet and Dan Jurafsky supplied me with the condiments and garnishes for my first venture. They live in San Francisco. I was worried, "How will I ever find these Chinese ingredients in my square little town?"
But guess what? You can buy all these things on the Internet. They are inexpensive and mail well. I have provided links below.
Susie's Game of Thrones Congee
With Juky Love to Janet and Dan
1 cup rice
8 cups chicken stock and water (I ran out of chicken stock; didn't matter)
1 T sesame oil
Heat the oil on medium high heat in saucepan and stir in the rice and salt,until the rice is coated and transluscent.
Add your stock/water and cook for 20 minutes on low, simmering low.
Turn off your heat.
Use your immersible blender in the saucepan, turning it on "high" to blend your rice porridge until it's pudding-consistency.
Ladle into bowls and add your condiments and garnishes.
Garnish with any of the following, and hand yourself a big spoon:
Chinese pickles or any small-diced picked vegetables you have around. Picked cabbage, not cucumbers, is preferable.
Nori, or any kind of seasoned seaweed
Pork threads, also called Pork Fu
1000-Year-Old Egg, (a preserved duck egg), diced. Yes, this is a must.
2 Hard-boiled regular eggs, crumbled
I would also happily use:
Chopped-up cooked chicken
Any kind of veggies, lightly sauteed or raw
Greens, raw or cooked
Bean curd skin
Anything that goes with rice is going to taste good.
Illustration: Jon Bailiff