Congee with Bok Choy, Golden Fried Garlic, Green Chili & Soy
Editor's Note: What is congee? Also sometimes known as "jook," it's a type of rice porridge recipe that's popular in many Asian countries - but it's far from bland. This Congee with Bok Choy, Golden Fried Garlic, Green Chili & Soy is made with flavorful ingredients such as garlic and chiles for a zesty, filling dish that's both delicious and easy to digest, making it a favorite get-well-soon recipe. It might not be what typically comes to mind when you think of Chinese food, but this Chinese congee recipe is sure to become a fast favorite. Comfort food has never looked so good!
“Asian savory rice porridge” would be a fairly accurate description, here. Also, it is one of the finest hangover foods I know, although deeply comforting at any time. For a truly authentic taste, try to find Chinese sesame oil, chili oil, and light soy sauce (a superior brand in each case).
Serves2 for a main dish, or 4 as a first course
Recipe CourseAppetizer, Main Course
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Kosher, Lactose-free, Low Cholesterol, Low Saturated Fat, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Taste and TextureCreamy, Savory, Spiced, Umami
- 2/3 cup jasmine rice
- 4 to 6 cups stock
- 7 thick slices fresh ginger (unpeeled)
- 3 tablespoons Chinese Shao-xing rice wine
- 3 or 4 bok choy, or similar Chinese greens, steamed until tender, then sliced
- 4 or 5 large garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced, and gently fried in a little oil until pale golden and lightly crisp
- 2 or 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- Shredded fresh ginger, steeped in rice vinegar
- 2 fresh, large green chiles (generally milder than red ones), sliced
- Light soy sauce
- Toasted sesame oil and/or chili oil
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, mix together the rice, 4 cups stock, and the ginger and bring up to a simmer. Cover and cook very gently indeed (a heat diffuser mat is helpful), for at least 1 hour or maybe longer, stirring from time to time; the desired consistency should be that of porridge, and with the rice and stock harmoniously married; you may need more stock to get it just right. As ever, practice makes perfect. (You may also prefer to cook it in a very low oven, covered, but it must be finished on the cooktop.)
Naturally, the rice will be overcooked almost to the point of submission. Once you are happy with its consistency, fish out the ginger and discard, then add the rice wine and stir in.
To finish the congee, ladle it into bowls, distribute the garnishes as you see fit, then trickle on a little of the soy and oils.
2009 Simon Hopkinson