Christmas is actually over, after all the hype and excitement in the lead-up to the big day, it's finally over. And after a night with too much good food and wine, you really just want something quite light and comforting and ideally uses up the leftover turkey. For me, that's congee. It's the chinese equivalent of a bowl of risotto- just simply rice, plump with the flavour from the stock it's cooked in, so each spoonful is a soothing scoop of goodness. Unlike risotto though, you don't want separate grains, and in fact you don't even want to see any grains. The rice should have all disintegrated into a thick porridge. The ratio is about 10 cups water/stock to 1 cup of rice, you can use less or more depending on how thick you like your congee.
1/2 cup of jasmine rice, washed till water runs clear
5 cups of homemade stock (in this case, turkey. refer stock 2.)
unrefined sea salt (to taste)
leftover turkey, shredded
chopped spring onions
fried shallots and shallot oil (replace with toasted sesame oil if unavailable and lazy)
dash of good traditionally fermented soy sauce
dash of white pepper
1. Add the rice to the stock in a preferably heavy-bottomed pot and bring to the boil.
2. Lower the heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom and burning. It will take quite long, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, though unlike a risotto, you don't have to constantly stir.
Not yet, still not yet there, almost there, there!
3. When rice has reached the right consistency, scoop into bowls and top with the shredded turkey, spring onions, fried shallots, and finish with a drizzle of shallot oil. The soy sauce and pepper is usually at the side so the eater can add to taste.
Oh and another option. You can crack in an egg at the end, after you remove it from the stovetop, the residual heat from the congee sort of poaching the egg. I wish I remembered earlier, that's my sister's and my favourite part about congee.
Nonetheless, this was just what I needed after all that rich and sweet food, something plain and familiar, but deliciously creamy and comforting at the same time. The rice has fully soaked up all the yummy and nourishing goodness of the stock, and turned almost soup-like so you can just slurp it down without even chewing.
By the way, there are other methods out there to speed up the process, like pre-cooking the rice first, or using a rice cooker, but I think there's still no better way than to do it the traditional way, slowly letting it cook and stirring it with love, and though it takes long, honestly, there is almost zero effort involved.
I'm entering this in the One Ingredient challenge, hosted by Laura (how to cook good food) and Nazime (working london mummy), the ingredient this month being turkey of course!