As I’ve said before, food has a way of bringing back memories for me. This week I thought we would go back in time and travel to my mom’s kitchen. Whenever anyone in my family was sick, my Mom would whip up a batch of congee (rice porridge), throw in some peas, chicken and call it a day. In my family we call congee “chook” so just a heads up so you’re not confused. Typically chook uses chicken broth and as stated above, we usually used chicken or white fish as the protein in the dish. As a vegan, I have made some small adjustments and have amped up the flavour. Mom if you’re reading this, this one’s for you!
Anything tastes great in chook, I guess it’s kind of like pizza in a way. You can add whatever you have lying a round and 90% of the time it turns out pretty well. Today I needed to finish off some tofu and oyster mushrooms which acted as my proteins. By sautéing the ingredients in vegetable broth and soy sauce, a rich sauce was formed. You can have great toppings, but it all comes down to the actual rice part of this dish. And in my opinion, the secret to a good chook is to use leftover rice. Fresh rice I find results in a super mushy consistency. Chook is supposed to be mushy, I mean it’s a rice porridge, but you want the rice to be able to stand up to the broth a bit. If you’ve never made yourself a bowl of this stuff, you have to try this! I’m sure it will become your next favourite comfort food.
As always send me a picture on Twitter if you give this a try, I’d love to see what you come up with!
Mom's CongeePrint Recipe
- 2 servings of leftover rice (I cooked 1 cup of rice the night before)
- 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of low salt vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
- Half a block of diced firm tofu
- 1/2 cup of chopped oyster mushrooms
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- Pinch of white pepper (black is good too)
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 1 stalk of chopped green onion
In a small pot, add in leftover rice and 1 cups of vegetable broth, and a splash (1/2 teaspoon) of soy sauce for flavour. Let this simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
In a hot sauté pan, add in your sesame oil, tofu, and mushrooms. Let the oyster mushrooms soften and get the tofu to turn a light golden brown. Once they have almost finished cooking, add in your garlic, 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth, pepper, and 1 teaspoons of soy sauce. Let the vegetable broth reduce until you are left with a sauce. If you feel that the broth evaporated too fast or want more sauce, just add in more stock. Give this all a good mix and turn off the heat.
At this point your rice and stock mixture, or your "chook", should be thick. If you like a thinner chook add in more broth, but I like it thick! Turn off the heat and and stir in your spinach. The heat should make the spinach wilt.
Serve your chook in a bowl and top it with your sautéd vegetables and tofu, and sprinkle on some green onion. Feel free to add an additional dash of soy sauce and sriracha .
If you need you're feeling under the weather or just love ginger, add in some freshly graded ginger in your chook while it cooks.