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Monday, July 18, 2011

Chao ca nam bao ngo (Congee with fish and abalone mushroom )

Often when the weather is cold and miserable, there is nothing more comforting than a big bowl of congee. Congee is a delicious rice porridge that is often enjoyed with Yar char kway (Chinese fried cruller). It is also often eaten when one is sick or unwell to nourish back to health. I used to remember without fail, mum would make a big bowl of plain congee often with salted duck eggs when I was sick. Congee is made with the most basic of ingredients, mainly rice and water. The secret to a great congee is to pre-soaking the rice and a long rolling boil until the rice breaks down and disintegrate. Resulting in a deliciously creamy and silky texture. On it's own congee is quiet plain but however, it's a great carrier of flavours. You can pretty much add any flavours you like, chicken, pork, fish or seafood, the combinations are endless. I just love congee to bits, no matter if it's breakfast, lunch or dinner. I used to have to make the journey to superbowl, a very popular destination for congee in Sydney. Not any more, this is a simple and delicious recipe anyone can replicate and enjoy at home.


1 cup of Jasmine rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp salt
1 can chicken stock, optional

1/2 kg fish fillets, sliced into 1/2cm thick.
1 can of abalone mushroom, sliced into 1/2cm thick.
1 knob of ginger, julienned


Yau char kway (Chinese fried cruller)
shallots, finely chopped
coriander, finely chopped
roasted peanuts
crispy eshallots
white pepper


1. Wash, rinse and drain the rice a couple of times. Add salt, olive oil plus a cup of water to the rice and set aside for 1/2 an hour.
2. Bring 4 litres of water to the boil and add the soaked rice. Stir occasionally to stop rice from sticking to the bottom.
3. Let it boil for about an hour, until the rice grains starts to breaks down and disintegrate. Top up with more water or chicken stock if congee becomes too thick.
4. Before serving add in the fish, abalone mushroom and ginger. The fish shouldn't take long to cook at all.
5. To serve, top up a large bowl with the congee and enjoy with the accompaniments.



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