I remember eating Chinese rice porridge, also known as Chinese rice congee at least once a week. You can say it is a Chinese comfort food eaten during breakfast, night-time supper and even at dinner-time with few small side dishes.
In colloquial Penang dialects, we call it “moy” in Hokkien or “chook” in Cantonese. There are few different kinds of congee – the wet soupy type where you can still see and taste each of the rice grain or the thick starchy type where the rice grain is completely broken down until it’s mushy. There is the plain congee where it’s served with small Chinese dishes, or the “all-in-one” when the condiments are already added to flavour the congee. I love all kinds of congee except those that come with offals! Yes, you heard me right. Offals can include congealed blood, intestines, livers…usually from the pigs! I know..ewe! Good or bad. It is rare to see offals included in congee now.
At home, when my siblings and I were growing up, I remember my mother would made us plain congee with sweet potato, called “huan chu moy” in Penang Hokkien, at least once a week on a Sunday with few other smaller side dishes. It was our family tradition. She would also made us rice congee when we were sick, usually cooked with pork mince, called “bak moy” or fish called “hu moy” with lots of sliced ginger. Chinese believes eating congee is good. It’s easy to digest and it helps restore the body heat and energy, to balance the “yin-yang” of a sick person.
In this new post, I am going to show you how I make my version of “hu moy” or “fish congee”. I usually cook my congee using the leftover rice from the fridge and mash the rice slightly before cooking it. Since I didn’t have any leftover rice, I will cook the rice first before making my congee. I will also show you how I prepare and make 3 types of condiment to flavour the congee – fried garlic, dried shrimps and salted fish. The condiments can be prepared ahead of time and store in an air-tight container in a cool and dry place. They should store well for a few weeks.
How to make tasty and healthy fish rice congee
- white fish fillet
- 1 garlic bulb
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimps (optional)
- 1 small piece of salted fish (optional)
- chicken stock or seafood stock
- 1 cup of cooked rice
- 1 egg
- light soy
- sesame oil
- corn starch
- ground white pepper
- Cook the rice. Soak 1 cup of rice with water in a small pot. After soaking for 2 hours, discard the water and wash rice twice under cold running tap water. Fill the rice with water. Cook the rice using a small pot or a rice cooker. Once rice is cooked, fluff the rice and set aside for later use to make the congee
- Remove the skin of ginger. Cut into thin slices. Stack up few slices at a time and slice into thin julienne. Set aside
- Remove the skin of garlic. Mince the garlic until it’s really fine. Heat up 1/2 cup of cooking oil in a shallow pan on low-medium heat. Once oil is warm enough (not hot), toss in the minced garlic and stir until garlic is lightly browned. Remove and place in a small bowl to cool down. Once cooled down, pour into an airtight container. This should keep for a few weeks in a dry, cool area in the kitchen
- Slice the fish fillet into thin slices. Marinade with 1/2 tablespoon ligh soy, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, egg white (from 1 egg) and 1 tablespoon corn starch. Mix through. Then add some julienned ginger and mix through. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours
- Pre-soak the dried shrimps and salted fish in separate bowls for at least 1-2 hours. Discard the water and rinse. Then let dry on a kitchen paper towel. Once dried, diced both the dehydrated shrimps and salted fish until quite fine, but not too fine. Set aside. Heat up a shallow pan with 1/2 cup cooking oil on low-medium heat. Once oil is warm enought (not hot), toss in the shrimps first. Give it a quick stir then toss in the salted fish. Continue stirring until both is lightly browned. Remove and place on a kitchen paper towel to cool down
- Using a clay pot, first place the cooked rice. Then add some julienned ginger, fried shrimps and salted fish. Pour some liquid or stock to cover the rice leaving at least 1 inch above the rice surface. Put more if you prefer more liquid in the congee. Cover with the lid
- Place on high heat to boiling temperature. Then lower the heat to medium heat. Keep checking to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the clay pot. Stir a few times. Make sure the lid is covered all the time. This should take 5-10 minutes to cook and break down the rice to a consistency of a starchy broth
- Once congee reaches the consistency that you are after, put in the marinated fish slices. Combine into the congee broth. Cover the lid and cook for 2-5 minutes until fish is cooked. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove
- Garnish with more julienned ginger, fried garlic, fried shrimps and salted fish. You can also add some chopped spring onions (scallions) if you like some green. Sprinkle a bit of ground white pepper. You can also drizzle a bit of sesame oil and light soy to your own taste