Congee is to Asians what chicken soup is to westerners. We have it when we are ill, or cold, or sad. When I was growing up, I would seek solace in a deep bowl of congee whenever I got my braces tightened. There is something profoundly comforting about it, despite its simplicity. Although it takes a long time to cook, once it is in the pot congee pretty much takes care of itself.
Use tamari instead of dark soy sauce.
First make the stewed peanuts. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan with
In a large saucepan, mix together all the remaining ingredients except the garnishes, then bring to the boil over medium heat. Turn down to a simmer, cover and leave to cook until the rice and lentils have softened and almost disintegrated, releasing their starch and thickening the liquid. This should take 1–1½ hours, depending on how thick you like your congee. Give it a stir every so often and add a little water if it seems to be getting too thick.
To serve, ladle some congee into each bowl. Top with a generous helping of stewed peanuts, and garnish liberally with sesame oil, spring onions, fried shallots and soy sauce.
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