Anyone who has traveled in China, or in any part of Asia for that matter, will recognize this dish. Congee or jook is generally served as the morning meal and is believed to be an important restorative. Big bowls are dished up to which all manner of condiments may be added at the diner’s discretion, including soy sauce, chopped green onions, cilantro leaves, finely shredded cabbage, crisp fried slices of garlic or shallot, roasted peanuts, Chinese (Sichuan) pickled vegetables, pickled ginger, poached or roasted chicken or other meats, cooked and dried shrimp, and on and on. It definitely has become one of my comfort foods.
Bring the Stock to a boil in a deep saucepan. Rinse the rice 2 or 3 times in cold water, and stir into the stock along with the ginger. Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and gently simmer for 1 hour or until the rice is very soft, porridge-like, and almost smooth. You can adjust the cooking time to create the texture you like. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve with additions of your choice. Thin if desired with additional stock.
© 2004 John Ash. All rights reserved.