Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Good old bowl of rice congee
A bowl of comforting porridge or congee brought me back childhood memories. Every weekday during the school term, I was greeted by a bowl of porridge. Grandma said it was easier to cook and quick for me to swallow hence, her choice of lunch was porridge EVERY DAY!!
After having porridge for 8-10 years of my primary/secondary school life + as a toddler, I was quite turned off by porridge for a while. I guess as a child, I really did like variety in my food! I looked forward to school holidays as that means grandma and I can track down to the nearby coffeeshop for a bowl of dumpling noodles soup.
These days however, I still get the occasional cravings for a bowl of congee/porridge. My favorite would be lean pork/chicken with century egg. One can easily guess that I'm a true blue cantonese girl.
A good bowl of porridge/congee must be accompanied by the sinful fried you tiao/"yow char gua" (Or fried dough stick) of course. ;p The name is pretty morbid as it translate from Cantonese to English literally to "Oil Fried Ghost".
The Cantonese name yau ja gwai and Hokkien name u char kway literally mean oil-fried ghost and, according to tradition, is an act of protest against Song Dynasty official Qin Hui (秦檜, Cantonese: Chun Kui), who is said to have orchestrated the plot to frame the general Yue Fei (岳飛), an icon of patriotism in Chinese culture. It is said that the food, originally taking the form of two deep-fried human-shaped dough but later evolved two doughs joining in the middle, represents Qin Hui and his wife, both having a hand in collaborating with the enemy to bring about the great general's demise. Thus the youtiao is deep fried and eaten as if done to the traitorous couple. In keeping with the legend, youtiao are often made as two foot-long rolls of dough joined along the middle, with one roll representing the husband and the other the wife.
That's interesting! I always thought that was created due to the 7th month of the lunar calender where the Ghosts come back to visit their land bound families.... hmmm..
Speaking of which, I have half a packet of fried dough sticks left in my freezer!!! ANY ideas on how to use it up? I have made salad with it previously too!
Rice Congee (cantonese style)
1 cup of rice (I used basmati but jasmine is good too)
3-4 cups of water
1 piece of dried scallop
100 grams of marinated mince
1 century duck egg
2 fried dough stick toasted to crisp perfection
Wash rice and bowl with water and dried scallop. Simmer for 5-10 mins, adding warm water when needed. 20 minutes into cooking time, use a tablespoon to shape mince in meatball shape and drop it into the porridge. Add diced century duck egg. Continue to stir and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.