from one generation to the next
High winds in Melbourne during the springtime herald the onset of hay fever season. My eyes itch, my sinuses throb and I sneeze, repeatedly. Desperately in need of nurturing, I start thinking about soup, chicken soup.
I made my perfect roast chicken, charcoal roasted in my kettle BBQ last week. The skin was crisp, the breast moist and tender. This is my death row dish!
The remainder of the cold roast chicken was added to risotto primavera. With the chicken bones and juices that had collected on the carving dish I made a small pot of stock, scented with cassia bark, Szechuan peppercorns and star anise. There was just enough to make two generous bowls of congee.
While the rice was simmering in the stock with the ginger, I collected Vietnamese mint and garlic chives from the herb garden and chopped them with some coriander (cilantro) leaves to scatter over the congee. Soft boiled farm fresh eggs completed the dish.
A cross between savoury rice porridge and thick chicken soup, a bowl of congee leaves me feeling as if I’ve just had a big warm nourishing internal hug.
I feel better already!
1 litre of homemade unseasoned chicken stock
3 cups cooked basmati or jasmine rice
25g fresh ginger roughly chopped
2 soft boiled eggs
2 tablespoons dried shrimps
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
Coriander, garlic chives, Vietnamese mint
Extra tamari to taste.
Put the stock, ginger and rice into a large saucepan and quickly bring to the boil. Cook over a high simmer, stirring frequently until the congee begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and rest for 10 minutes. Taste then season with fish sauce and tamari.
Ladle into serving bowls then top each serve with an egg, a tablespoon of dried shrimp, a generous scattering of herbs and a drizzle of tamari.
Roughly adapted from the Australian Gourmet Traveller, September 2013