We had a family ritual when I was a kid. Every Saturday evening after dad’s game of tennis, he’d treat us to congee at a local hawker stall. I always opted for fish or chicken porridge. A big bowl was always too much for me, but I would do my best to make a dent.
Congee (or bubur) is essentially a rice porridge, cooked with lots of water/stock, and typically served with slivers of ginger, a pinch of ground white pepper, fried shallots, soy, sesame oil, chopped spring onions and many other condiments of one’s choice.
I recently made a big pot of fish congee – it was a Sunday night and the congee lasted until Wednesday. As the days passed, the flavours deepened and I was genuinely sad when I scooped out the last of the congee.
- 1 cup uncooked rice, washed (I used basmati)
- 6 cups of water
- 1inch ginger, peeled and julienned
- 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (Shao Xing)
- 300g cod, boneless and skinless cut into chunks (marinated in 1 tbsp soy, 1/4 grated ginger, a pinch of salt, white pepper, 1 tbsp rice wine)
- dark soy
- ground white pepper
- sesame oil
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and julienned
- fried shallots
- spring onions, finely sliced
- Use a big, deep pot. Add the rice, water, ginger and rice wine. Leave to simmer for 40 to 50 minutes over a low heat until 3/4 of the water has evaporated. The rice should resemble mush
- Drain the marinade from the fish. Add the fish to the pot and leave the congee to cook for a further 15 minutes
- Once cooked, remove the pot from the stove
- Ladle into bowls and serve with the condiments