Gochugaru Girl is going to the airport this afternoon to receive her parents, who are travelling in from the Far East. For their light supper, after a long flight, she has prepared the one dish that sends chills down the spine of Mr Gochugaru, who did not grow up eating it.
I am, of course, referring to porridge or congee. This is very unlike the porridge you get from oats, rather it is made with rice. It is the one dish we Orientals instinctively turn to when under the weather. Indeed, congee is so easy to digest that it is ideal for everyone from toddlers to the elderly.
Having the extended family staying provides a good reason to crack open a bottle, or in this case, a can. I purchased some sesame oil on our recent trip to South Korea, and it is time to share it.
The recipe given here is the way I make congee at home, and will serve four adults. You can use long or short-grain rice, with the latter giving a starchier result.
For the Congee:
2 cups of white rice
20 cups of liquid, which can be water or stock
300 g chicken breast, preferably in one piece
Salt, to taste
3 stalks of spring onion
8 cm piece of fresh ginger
100 g raw peanuts with skins
Sesame oil, to taste
Ground white pepper, to taste
How to Make:
Rinse the rice once in water, then place it along with the water or stock and the chicken in a pot large enough to accommodate everything.
Bring to a boil, place a cover on the pot, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Remove the chicken and chop into small pieces, then return this into the pot.
Give the congee a stir, and check for seasoning.
Serve the congee in a bowl, garnishing it with the spring onions, ginger, peanuts, sesame oil and pepper.
For the Garnish:
Wash and thinly slice the spring onions, discarding the roots.
Scrape the skin off the ginger then slice into thin matchsticks.
Fry the peanuts in the oil until their pale skins turn to a healthy reddish brown.