I hope everyone get a chance to reconnect with your friends and family.  That is all about for the Moon Festival – a reunion.  Enjoy a piece of moon cake too if you have it.  Mine was long gone in my tummy.  I wish I have another box of moon cakes.  Hehhehe.  A friend showed me a link about the new moon cake from Starbucks.  It looks yummy. Too bad they don’t sell it in US, or I would definitely get one.  Usually I would gather with friends and family for a big dinner to celebrate the Moon Festival.  This year, I’ve been working like hell at work, and I didn’t really have much energy left to hang out.  You know, everyone is so overloaded these days in this economy.  I made a big pot of chicken congee for my lunch and dinner.  It does remind me of a lot of childhood memory.  Back then when I was skinny, I used to have a bowl of chicken congee at a congee store near my house about two or three hours after dinner, and followed up with a soft ice-cream cone from 7-11!  I was like eating four or five meals a day.  Of course, having an extra meal right before sleep was not a good thing to do.  I don’t have that habit of having extra meals anymore.  But I do miss the chicken congee from that store.  It was plain simple and comforting.  Most congee stores have their secret recipes of making the congee (rice soup base) smooth and supreme.  For now, my home-made chicken congee was not too shabby. It still gave me a very warm feeling.

Put rice, water, chicken all in a pot

Bring it to a boil. Then turn it down and let it simmer.

Remove chicken from the pot after 1 hour. Break meat into smaller pieces

A bowl of chicken congee reminds me of childhood. It's wonderful.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, 1 pound (bone or boneless, it’s up to you. Even though I used 4 thighs, I would recommend using boneless thigh meat)
  • Rice, uncooked, 1.5 cups (or you can used 2 cups cooked rice)
  • Water, 12 cups (at least)
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a dash

Steps:

  1. Put uncooked rice in a big pot. Wash and rinse it for a few times.  Then add about 12 cups of water.
  2. Add chicken in the pot.  Use high heat. Bring everything to a boil.  Then turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer (without a lid) for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally to avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom or the side of the pot.  Also, you may need to add more water as the rice begins to absorb the moisture.
  3. Cut ginger into very thin slices.  Add it to the pot.  Let it simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Add a tablespoon of fish sauce to the pot. Mix it well.  Taste it.  Add a pinch of salt and a dash of white pepper if needed.  Turn off the heat.
  5. Cut scallions into dices.  Add it to the pot. Mix it well.  Take chicken meat out of the pot. I used the whole thighs. I took them out and deboned them. Cut the meat into small pieces.  Add the chicken back to the pot.  Mix everything well.  Serve hot.
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After posting the funky Zongzi yesterday, I’m still in the mood of adding more funky Chinese food here.  LOL.  This one is definitely weird looking – Chinese Thousand Year Egg.  They look like regular eggs except the shell has tons of tiny grey dots.  If you peel the shell, it is black in color and has a very strong sulphur smell.  Then I cut it in halves. The egg white is totally black and translucent. The yolk is dark greenish in color. I couldn’t help thinking what the heck have people done to turn regular eggs to look like this?  I used to love Thousand Year Eggs when I was a kid until one day I asked my mom how they were made.  Mom told me that they were soaked in horse urine for a few months.  From then onwards, I stop eating them for years.  I didnt know whether it was a myth or not, it just grossed me out.  A few years ago I saw the Fear Factor TV show asked the challengers to eat mashed Thousand Year Eggs.  Of course, they make it look so gross that no one could bypass the vision part.  In fact, they are not bad in taste.  My sister’s Japanese buddies tried the Thousand Year Egg for the very first time a few years ago.  After the first bite, they all said “oshi”, which means delicious.  My buddy’s American boyfriend tried it as well, and he loved it.  She even sent him a few Thousand Year Eggs in mail one summer when she was working in a different state for internship.

Thousand Year Egg

Thousand Year Egg

Thousand Year Egg Looks So WEIRD

Thousand Year Egg Looks So WEIRD

Thousand Year Egg Congee

Thousand Year Egg Congee

Note: I did not put any meat in this congee. The traditional dish should be pork and thousand year egg congee.  If your prefer, you can put some pork or chicken in it.

Ingredients:

  • Uncooked rice, or leftover rice, 1.5 cups
  • Water, 8 cups
  • Thousand year eggs, 2
  • Ginger, 5 slices
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a dash

Steps:

  1. Cut ginger slices into very fine strips.
  2. Cut the scallion into small dices.  Put it aside.
  3. If you are using uncooked rice, rinse it under the water 2 times.
  4. Put 8 cups of water and rice (cooked or uncooked) in a big pot.  Use high heat, bring it to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat to medium, add ginger strips and let it cook for 30 mins.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water if needed.  The congee should be very soupy.
  6. Add fish sauce to the congee.  Stir well.
  7. Peel the Thousand Year Eggs. Cut them into eight slices, then cut them into dices.  Add them to the congee.  Mix it well.
  8. Let it cook for another 15 mins.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed. 
  9. Add scallion to the congee.  Mix it well. Turn off the heat.  Serve. 
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Mom used to make plain congee (rice soup) for breakfast.  To make plain congee, all you need is to put the rice in a big pot of water, and cook it for an hour until it turns creamy, and it’s done.  You can imagine how no taste it is.  Mom would fry some peanuts in a wok, and then added some salt on them.  That or some chinese pickled vegetable would be our side dishes that went along with the no-taste congee.  Yup, that was my breakfast when I was a kid.  I never understood back then why we couldn’t put some meat or whatever in the congee to give it some taste. Of course, looking back I would understand that it was because we were poor.  We couldn’t afford fancy breakfast.  Every time I asked her “Plain congee again?”, she would say “it cleanses your stomach.”  Now that I’m not that broke and I could afford meat.  I never make plain congee. 

As mom said, congee is good for the digestive system.  So whenever I don’t feel like eating anything, or may be feeling sick, I would make congee.  I would also have it for a good detox.  Forget about those detox pills or tea, try having congee for 3 whole days (breakfast, lunch and dinner), it really cleanses your digestive system.

This is my very-close-to plain congee that I made this morning. If you can afford meat, feel free to add some. But if you are really trying this out for detox, skip the meat!

 

Chinese Congee Rice Soup for Detox

Chinese Congee Rice Soup for Detox

Ingredients (make 2 servings):

  • Uncooked rice, 1.5 cup (or cooked rice, 2 cups)
  • Dried whole shiitake mushrooms, 2 (or dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, 8 slices)
  • Oatmeal, 1 Tbsp (optional, it gives more detox function)
  • Scallion, 2 stems
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Water, 9 cup

Steps:

  1. If you are using dried whole shiitake mushrooms, soak it in warm water for 30 mins.  When it gets soft, chop it finely, put it in a big pot.  If you use driced sliced shiitake mushromms, you can easily break them into small pieces by hand, put it in a big pot.
  2. Add rice and water to the pot.  Use high heat, bring it to a boil.
  3. Let it boil for couple of minutes.  Turn the heat to medium.  Add a tablespoon of fish sauce.
  4. Let it simmer for 50 mins until the rice expands and blends well with the water. The rice should look kind of creamy.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.  Add more water if it is too thick for you.
  5. This is an optional step. If you have any leftover cooked chicken, or whatever meat.  I like to add leftover steamed Chinese Chicken pieces. Cut them into small pieces.   Add them to the pot.  Cook it for 5 minutes. 
  6. Add chopped scallion to the pot.
  7. Add a pinch of salt according to your liking.

MUST serve while it is hot.

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