Chinese White Porridge – Congee

When I saw this recipe in a New York Times article, I was editing my Chinese railroad worker novel. Congee, also known as báizhōu, or white porridge is a daily staple in China.

When railroad workers came to California, in the mid-1860s, they would have eaten it in their camps. In China, it was consumed in times of famine and is still served during festivals and religious ceremonies. It is also given to infants and to those who are ill.

For research and realistic writing, I had to try it!

At its essence, congee is a small amount of grain cooked low and slow with a lot of water.

Basic Recipe

1/2 cup rice – thoroughly rinsed

6 cups water

Cook low on a stovetop or in a crockpot for approximately 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

I started out skeptical. I could not imagine how a half cup of rice could thicken six cups of water! Every time I stirred it, I shook my head because it looked like nothing had changed. Then toward the end – voila!

What Happens During the Cooking Process

The grains burst, releasing starch. What results is a lovely soft textured, thickened mush or soup.

What You Add Determines the Flavor

Congee is like a blank art canvas waiting for colorful paint.

Common Chinese Additions; tripe, intestine, crab, fish, bamboo shoots, pickled tofu, hundred-year-old eggs, lettuce, and/or soy sauce.

Other grain options;  cornmeal, millet, barley, brown rice and sorghum
For additional variations, see Soothing Savory Porridge

You Might Also Try;

Sweet – raisins, nuts, and brown sugar
Savory – beef or chicken broth, meatballs, pork, shredded chicken, salmon patties, scrambled eggs, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, onions, chives,

 

Wikipedia Congee

Chicken with Rice – Pollo Con Arroz

chicken with rice

A recipe from ‘Life at Home in Mexico’ cookbook [1944].  It is one of those simple comfort foods that satisfies with every bite.

The recipe was incorporated into an encaustic (hot wax) art piece. (An interesting side note. When working with hot wax, one uses tools that heat it until it turns, temporarily, liquid.  While heating the wax with the dried onions in it, the onions gave off a smell like they were being cooked…which they were!)

 

1 frying chicken – cut up

1/2 cup oil

1 cup rice, uncooked

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup tomato puree

21/2 cups boiling water

Salt and Pepper

Cut chicken in pieces and fry in oil until a delicate brown. Remove from pan. rice1Add the unwashed, uncooked rice to the oil in the pan and fry until golden, stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, tomato puree and boiling water.rice 2 Season with salt and pepper. Add the browned chicken, and let simmer covered,f or 30 minutes. Do not remove cover. It must steam thoroughly. Serves 6-8.

 

* Lisa’s note:  I added cumin seed (about a teaspoon per serving) at the end to jazz it up.
chicken and rice

 

Liver Stroganoff – Dianne’s

cut liver into bite sized chunksaugust schmidt
roll in flour &
brown in oil on both sides

saute
celery – chopped
onions – chopped

combine with above

add one or w cans of undiluted
cream of mushroom soup with garlic
salt
pepper
may add additional mushrooms if desired

if mixture is too thick, add desired amount of water  – stir

after the above mixture has simmered for about 1/2 hour add
sour cream

simmer for 5 minutes more

serve with noodles or potaotesdianne allan

ray dianne

dianne 7 allan 5  ray 3

Rice Consume – Grandma’s – from Peggy’s Recipe Collection

1 stick butter or margarinegrandma's mom
1 medium onion –  chopped

Saute
1 cup uncooked rice
1 can beef consume (10 oz. )
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Salt

Bake covered @ 400° 25 to 30 minutes

Peggy (4th Daughter, child #6):

A recipe from my youth, I have found that these recipes I wrote down while talking to mom are a little vague on details, it was good when done right….but without finesse could be a total fail.

My added instructions ….bring liquids to a boil before adding rice/mushrooms/almonds/onions. I remember mom putting it in a bowl shaped baking dish and covering with foil.

 

 

 

peggy diannethanksgiving 1964

peggy bingopeg jeanette don

Lemony Rice

Basic Rice Recipe:lemony rice

1 cup rice

2 cups water

Boil water, add rice, bring to boil again.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or

until you see small holes formed on the surface of the rice –

(or until a spoon stands up).

To make Lemony Rice

For every cup of rice, use 1 cup of fresh lemon juice.

Use chicken stock to make up the rest of the liquid.

Add lemon zest on top for a little more pizzaz.