Comfort in Congee
After my parents passed away, the trips to visit them in Kuala Lumpur ended, and so did bowlfuls of congee for breakfast. For me, missing them attaches strongly to certain food, and congee is one of them: chicken congee was a favourite start to our day, our American flights to visit mum and dad in KL always a huge marathon. Our jet lagged family would wake, and fortified with a bowl of hotel congee, we would set off to spend the day with mum and dad.
It is incredibly easy to make, and provides nourishment for the body and soul. Make it on a chilly day, and warm your bones with this deliciousness!
3 litres chicken stock
3 thick slices of ginger, smashed with the butt of a knife
3 cups jasmine rice, rinsed well
500 grams chicken tenderloins
4 stalks spring onions, green part only sliced fine
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
In a large stock pot, bring the rice to the boil in two litres of stock with the smashed ginger.
Lower the heat, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
As the stock is absorbed into the rice, add a little more stock at a time from the remaining litre.
When the rice is soft, drop the tenderloins into the rice and stir.
Add three teaspoons of salt, stir well.
Simmer for ten minutes and then turn the heat off. Remove the pot from the hob and leave to cool.
Remove the pieces of ginger.
The chicken pieces will finish cooking through in the warm rice porridge without drying out.
When completely cooked, remove the chicken pieces, shred by hand, and return to the pot.
Your porridge is now ready to serve in individual bowls, topped with a small drizzle of sesame oil, soy sauce and the spring onion.
If heating through again, you might need to add a little water to form a nice slurry -like consistency.
In Malaysia, many toppings are offered with congee: chopped salted eggs, fried peanuts, slivers of tender fresh ginger, chopped coriander, pickled turnip, blanched kang kong, dry fried anchovies, and of course sliced chilli.
Make up your own favourites!