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Congee with Spring Vegetables and Green Garlic Oil

Congee with Spring Vegetables and Green Garlic Oil

If you don’t want to make the chicken stock from scratch for this congee recipe, simmering some store-bought broth with a few slices of bacon and ginger for 20 minutes or so will give you a huge head-start on flavor.

Ingredients

Chicken-Bacon Stock

  • 1 large white onion, halved
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, lightly crushed

Congee and Assembly

  • 1 green garlic stalk, trimmed, coarsely chopped, or 1 small leek plus 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups), plus more for serving
  • 1 cup schmaltz or olive oil
  • 1½ ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces (about 1 thick slice)
  • 2 ounces morel mushrooms, halved if large, or sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 1 cup)
  • ½ pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces on a steep diagonal
  • 1 cup baby peas, thawed if frozen

Recipe Preparation

Chicken-Bacon Stock

  • Bring chicken wings, bacon, onion, ginger, and 4 quarts water to a boil in a large stockpot. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface, until stock is richly flavored and wings are beginning to fall apart, 1½–2 hours. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl (you should have about 3 quarts stock); reserve chicken for another use.

  • Do Ahead: Stock can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Congee and Assembly

  • Bring 1½ quarts chicken-bacon stock to a boil in a small pot. Add rice and bring to a simmer; season with salt. Cook, lowering heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer and stirring occasionally, until rice is beginning to fall apart and congee is the consistency of a loose porridge, 40–45 minutes. Season again with salt, if needed.

  • Meanwhile, purée green garlic, cilantro, schmaltz, and a pinch of salt in a blender until smooth and very bright green, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids. (Note: you will have extra, but you can store it for another use.)

  • Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium. Cook bacon, stirring often, until browned and crispy, 6–8 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned, 4–5 minutes. Add asparagus and cook, tossing, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; season with salt. Add peas and cooked bacon and toss just to combine.

  • Divide congee among bowls. Top with vegetables, then drizzle with green garlic oil. Top with more cilantro before serving.

  • Do Ahead: Green garlic oil can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill, or freeze up to 1 month.

Recipe by Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu's, San Francisco, CAReviews Section

Chinese Chicken Congee

Congee or porridge culture is one of the most outstanding features of Chinese cuisine, compared with western culture. We are eating congee along the entire year. They may appear differently in different seasons or places. For example, in hot summer days, we make congee usually with clear water and sometimes corns and mung beans. Congee is served cold along with cold noodles. In cold winter days, broth is widely used for cooking a savory and warm congee. This is a very basic homemade chicken congee directly from rice. You can use chicken broth and leftover rice to make a leftover rice stew, which is known as 汤饭 in Chinese.

My favorite match with congee is pickles and Chinese Youtiao, Chinese pancake etc. Following are some recommendations from Elaine.

In China, both plain rice and sticky rice are used for porridge and congee. Lots of ingredients are great partners with congee. If you love a sweet version with beans and dried fruits, check mixed congee.


Sam Harris’s risi bisi

Photograph: Martin Poole for Observer Food Monthly

Serves 4
olive oil 3 tbsp
unsalted butter 15g, plus 20g to finish
shallots 2 large, finely chopped
celery 1 stick, finely chopped
salt a pinch
garlic 1 large clove, finely chopped
risotto rice 360g
unoaked white wine 150ml
vegetable stock 1 litre, simmering (cold water simmered for 2 hours with carrot, fennel, onion, bay leaves, parsley sprigs, 2 slices of lemon)
fresh peas 200g podded (however you can use frozen)
parmesan 20g, grated
mint 2 tsp, chopped
lemon juice 1 tsp

Place the olive oil and butter in a large wide pan and heat slowly. Add the shallot and celery and cook for 20 minutes on a very low heat turning the vegetables translucent and soft (add a pinch of salt to help the process), then add the garlic and raise the heat, quickly stirring all the time for a minute to enable the garlic to ‘cook out’ but not colour or burn. Add the risotto rice, and keep the heat up, stirring all the time. You want to coat the rice in the oil, then add the wine and boil for 30 seconds. Add the hot vegetable stock slowly a ladle at a time allowing the stock to absorb before the next. Once you’ve added around 6 ladles, and the rice is two-thirds of the way cooked, add the peas and stir. Add more stock. The rice is cooked when there is still a bite but not chalky and chewy. Turn off the heat, and stir in a small splash of vegetable stock, the cheese, mint, lemon juice and extra butter. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and then serve.
Sam Harris was chef patron of Zucca, London SE1


What Rice to Use in Congee

There are opinions about what rice to use, but a) since there are so many different opinions, and b) since a friend who makes it a lot told me she switches up the rice all the time, I think I’m going to go with “it doesn’t really matter.” Or yes, it matters, in that the results will differ from pot to pot, but you will get happy results whether you use short grain, long grain (which is what I used here), basmati, Arborio, whatever is in your pantry. Brown rice will take another 20 or so minutes, and you will probably have to add more broth or water.

The porridge is mild, with the toppings providing the flavor (sometimes the congee is topped with the additional ingredients, and sometimes they are stirred right in—either way works beautifully). You can pass extra soy sauce at the table, but the real pleasure of this porridge is that it is a gentle comfort food, so enjoy the simplicity of the slowly cooked rice.

Having said that, a drizzle of sesame oil at the end is lovely. And I went to town with my new favorite seasoning brought home from Japan (East meets East or something like that), Furkikake, this one with little crunchy balls mixed in with the seaweed and sesame seeds and wasabi and fish flakes and other fabulous ingredients (note that most furikake is not vegetarian).


Chinese Leaf Lettuce Stir Fry

This Chinese leaf lettuce stir fry is what I often cook, simple, fast and healthy. The lettuce stalk peeled for salad, hotpot, and stir-frying are popular too.

When I was in the north of China, my mother liked to put some pork slices or diced when frying vegetables. After I came to the south, I found that people here had been stir-frying kinds of green vegetables with garlic chopped and oil , nothing else, purely. Eat greens, only greens. Later I fell in love with this simple cooking method of greens.

If you go to a Cantonese restaurant to eat, normally the last dish that a Cantonese order is stir-fried greens. Soup, meat, greens, and rice, what a nutritious meal!

The time for stir-frying should not exceed two minutes at most. When you see the leaves are slightly wilted, turn off the heat immediately. The time should be shorter if blanching. I like cooking them directly without blanching.


Basic Vegan Congee (香菇素肉粥)

Congee is so comforting and always reminds me of grandparents and bleary-eyed breakfasts in China. It is not difficult at all to cook a vegan congee, but it does take an investment in time and water. My favourite rice to water ratio for congee is 1:15.

A good congee starts the night before, with the rinsing and soaking of the rice. Then it takes a good two hours or more of gentle boiling on the stove. Usually, if I don’t get too hangry, I try to cook my congee for four hours until the rice has pretty much disintegrated. But, in a pinch and with more vigorous stirring, two hours would be okay.

The benchmark of a good congee is how much the rice grains have broken down. Ideally, the congee should look like one congruous starchy water bed. An important step is to smoosh and rub the rice grains violently against each other in the marinating stage. You can also stir the congee more often to help the grains break down.

The secret ingredient of congee known to all Chinese families is the porcelain soup spoon. The porcelain soup spoons jiggle around the pot, helping to spread the heat evenly across the congee, and prevent sticking. If you don’t have porcelain soup spoons don’t worry too much about it, just stir more often.

Classic condiments to go with congee are fried shallots, fried garlic, thinly sliced ginger, spring onions, (vegan) scallops, some kind of “lean meat”, braised peanuts, fermented tofu, preserved vegetables, coriander, goji berries, and always serve with sesame oil, soy sauce, and white pepper. Choose your poison!


Local Chinese Porridge and Congee Recipes

Preserved Century Egg Pork Congee

A comforting Cantonese rice porridge that you can look towards with the family. The highlight of this nutritious congee lies in the preserved century eggs with a strong, yet unique and flavourful taste with umani components.

While it has a slightly higher calorie content compared to normal eggs, it is a great source of protein. There are also health benefits if taken in moderation including: lowering blood pressure, improving appetite, vision and liver functioning.

  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 Tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 8-10 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 preserved century egg , peeled and rinsed (cut up into small pieces)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

For toppings:

  • 1 preserved century egg , peeled and rinsed (cut into slivers)
  • 2 green onions , chopped
  • cilantro , chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • fried onion
  • pork floss
  • 2 pieces you tiao (fried Chinese donut), sliced

Prepare The Pork

The Congee

Hainanese-style Chicken Rice Porridge

A great porridge recipe for toddler!

This delightful chicken rice porridge recipe is the perfect breakfast recipe for the entire family. So simple and easy to prepare!

  • 2 cups rice (400g)
  • 10 cups water (2.4 litres), and a little more to dilute
  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts (skin removed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-inch ginger (finely julienned) (30g)
  • 3 green onions (finely sliced)
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Add 10 cups water to washed rice, bring to boil.
  • Add chicken breasts and bring to boil again.
  • Season with salt and pepper when comes to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for around 30 minutes. Stir in water if porridge gets too thick.
  • Remove chicken breasts from pot, and return shredded chicken to pot.
  • Add ginger and 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Turn off heat after.

Teochew-style Fish Porridge

The Teochew fish porridge recipe for toddler and the entire family is the ultimate comfort food.

Nothing like a good fish porridge that you can whip up without fuss at home. Here is a Teochew-style fish porridge using cooked rice that comes with a firm texture. Be sure to use the freshest fish possible for maximum taste.

Tip: You can also choose to add in Chinese herbs such as Astralagus, a qi-enhancing herb. It is rich in antioxidants, have anti-ageing properties and boosts immunity.

For porridge

  • 500g fresh fish
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 slices ginger (julienned)
  • 2 litres water

For seasoning

  • 1 tsp preserved vegetables or Dong Cai
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp chicken stock

For garnishing

  • 1 tsp fried shallots or garlic crisps
  • 1 stalk spring onion (chopped)
  • 1 stalk coriander leaves (cut into sections)
  • Clean and slice fish into pieces. Marinade with soy sauce or salt (to taste) and sesame oil.
  • Bring water to a boil. Add in the cooked rice and fish. Continue to cook till boiling.
  • Season with chicken stock, garlic oil and white pepper.
  • Scoop to bowls, garnish with spring onions and coriander leaves.

Sour Jujube Porridge

This sour jujube porridge that is recommended by Dr. Lin Liming of the Chinese Medicine Clinic of Health and Wellness can help relieve mood and improve appetite. According to him, it has the effect of nourishing the heart and liver, calm the nerves and aid those who might be prone to depression.

Jujube, or Chinese red date, is an excellent source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for healthy growth, development and overall well-being. It may also improve sleep and brain function.

Note: Take sour jujube with caution if you experience diarrhoea or any allergic reactions.

  • Grind sour jujube kernels into fine powder
  • Bring porridge with white rice and water to a boil
  • Add jujube kernel powder and cook for a while. Serve.

Pumpkin Spinach and Salmon Porridge

Porridge recipe for toddler to give them the nutrition needed. | Photo: eatwhattonight website

A great kid-friendly option is this versatile and healthy Pumpkin Spinach and Salmon Porridge dish. It will require just the minimum seasoning to bring out its great flavour.

One of the best brain boosting foods for kids, salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, both essential for brain growth and function. Include more of these in children’s diets for a sharper mind and to perform better in cognitive skills tests.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice⁣⁣
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 400-500ml water⁣⁣
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic⁣⁣
  • 1 tbsp shallot oil⁣⁣
  • Pinch of pepper⁣⁣
  • 150g salmon cubes (season lightly with salt)
  • 3-4 bunches of spinach (cut into sections⁣⁣)
  • 2 tbsp sweet corn⁣⁣
  • 80g pumpkin (cut into chunks⁣⁣)
  • Add rice, pumpkin, water, chicken stock and shallot oil together. Cook until rice softens and pumpkin mashed.
  • Include minced ginger (if you’d like). Season with pepper and mix well.
  • Add sweet corn and spinach.
  • Salmon cubes go in last.
  • Garnish with shredded ginger, scallions. Serve with fried fritters and fried shallots.

Singapore-style Frog Leg Porridge

A healthy alternative to white meat such as chicken, frog legs are said to contain a lower level of calories. One serving of 100 grams of frog legs (stir-fried) provides 70 calories whereas the chicken thigh offers 280 calories.

Eating frog legs in moderation could bring about health benefits such as enhancing vision, promote brain health as well as bone health.

  • 400g frog legs
  • 8 clove big garlic
  • 2 spring onion cut to 3cm
  • 8 slice ginger
  • light soy sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • oil
  • black pepper
  • baking soda
  • corn flour
  • Clean frogs and mix with 5 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp oil, 2 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp baking soda, 3 tbsp corn flour. Leave in fridge to season for 40mins.
  • At the same time, cook porridge. Add one cup of rice with 2L of water. Boil till rice is soft and porridge is sticky (add boiled water as necessary if too dry)
  • Heat oil, add garlic, spring onion (a quarter of it, leave the rest for later), ginger. Fry for 1 minute.
  • Add 3 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp oyster sauce, 300ml water, pinch of salt & pepper. Mix well.
  • Remove frog from fridge (add all of them), and mix fry for 2mins.
  • Cover and keep the dish cooking for 5 more minutes.
  • Add 4 tbsp corn flour, add 3 tbsp dark soy sauce, add rest of spring onion. Mix until sauce becomes less and sticky.
  • Mix frog and porridge in a big bowl.

Millet Porridge with Pumpkin and Chinese Yam

Millet Porridge with Pumpkin and Chinese Yam that’s vegan as well. | Photo: A Dragon Chef

A good warm porridge to nourish the body as well as hydrate the skin, this Millet Porridge with Pumpkin and Chinese Yam is a dish you can eat at any time of the day.

In this recipe, you will find a couple of ingredients that are beneficial to health such as millet, chinese yam and goji berries.

Millet: Millet is packed with various nutrition including magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, antioxidants and many more. It is also gluten-free and are high in protein and fiber, helping to lower chances of type 2 diabetes.

Chinese yam: Also known as Huai Shan, Chinese yam is used in Chinese herbal medicine. It is traditionally used in treating disorders related to the stomach, spleen, lungs, and kidneys such as hot flashes associated with menopause, dry or chronic cough, asthma, fatigue and more.

Goji berries: They are also known as wolfberries that contain various important vitamins and minerals: iron
vitamin A and zinc (needed for the proper functioning of the body’s immune system) among others.

Note: If you’re pregnant or allergic, it is best to take caution and avoid goji berries. Speak to your doctor before consumption.

  • 45g Chinese yam (adjust the amount of Chinese yam and/or pumpkin to your liking)
  • 45g pumpkin
  • 100g millet
  • 10g Goji berries
  • 1300g water (you can use less than a litre for a thicker consistency)

*You can also substitute water with chicken broth for a different flavour.

  • Rinse millet, then soak in water for 30 minutes.
  • Prepare pumpkin and Chinese yam.
    • Clean and peel off the skin then dice, slice or chop pumpkin and Chinese yam.
    • Rinse goji berries a few times until the water is clear.
    • Be sure to skim the foam. Add millet only AFTER water is boiling.
    • Put in pumpkin and Chinese yam to boil for another 3-5 minutes (boil longer if you prefer a very tender pumpkin)
    • Turn down to very low heat, put the lid on the pot and keep millet simmering for another 15 minutes.
    • Remove lid, stir in one direction for 8-10 minutes (you should see a creamy broth)
    • Put in goji berries 5 minutes before you turn off the heat. Take care not to overcook it to prevent loss of nutrition.

    Abalone and Shredded Chicken Porridge

    If you are feeling fancy and would like to add abalone to your porridge, it can also be a nutritious choice.

    In Asian cultures, abalone has long been appreciated for its health benefits, including healthy eyes and skin. All thanks to its rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin C.

    Note: However like all foods, it is advised to eat abalone in moderation as it is considered a shellfish variety, and could amount to higher cholesterol levels. Individuals should also note of potential allergic reactions to shellfish.

    • 1/4 cup cooked rice⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • 100ml chicken stock⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • 400ml water + more to cook till desired consistency⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • 2 dried scallops⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • 1 tsp minced ginger⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • 1 tsp shallot oil⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • 1 tbsp abalone brine⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • 1-2 small abalones (sliced⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣)
    • 1 small piece of roasted/blanched chicken breast (shredded⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣)
    • Pinch of salt & pepper to taste⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • Combine water, chicken stock, dried scallops and cooked rice in pot.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • Add minced ginger and shallot oil.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • Cook till it comes to a boil, then simmer on low heat further.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Add abalone brine.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
    • Add water if necessary. Make sure to stir consistently.
    • Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add shredded chicken breast, reserve some aside to top on porridge.
    • Add abalone slices. Serve.
    • Optional: fried fritters, diced spring onion, shredded ginger and fried shallots.

    All images are via iStock unless stated otherwise.

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    6. Singapore-style frog leg porridge

    A healthy alternative to white meat such as chicken, frog legs are said to contain a lower level of calories. One serving of 100 grams of frog legs (stir-fried) provides 70 calories whereas the chicken thigh offers 280 calories.

    Eating frog legs in moderation could bring about health benefits such as enhancing vision, promote brain health as well as bone health.

    • 400g frog legs
    • 8 clove big garlic
    • 2 spring onion cut to 3cm
    • 8 slice ginger
    • light soy sauce
    • oyster sauce
    • oil
    • black pepper
    • baking soda
    • corn flour

    How to cook:

    • Clean frogs and mix with 5 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp oil, 2 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp baking soda, 3 tbsp corn flour. Leave in fridge to season for 40mins.
    • At the same time, cook porridge. Add one cup of rice with 2L of water. Boil till rice is soft and porridge is sticky (add boiled water as necessary if too dry)
    • Heat oil, add garlic, spring onion (a quarter of it, leave the rest for later), ginger. Fry for 1 minute.
    • Add 3 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp oyster sauce, 300ml water, pinch of salt & pepper. Mix well.
    • Remove frog from fridge (add all of them), and mix fry for 2mins.
    • Cover and keep the dish cooking for 5 more minutes.
    • Add 4 tbsp corn flour, add 3 tbsp dark soy sauce, add rest of spring onion. Mix until sauce becomes less and sticky.
    • Mix frog and porridge in a big bowl.

    Vegetarian spring green stir-fry with caramelised garlic and cashews

    Make the most of fresh, green vegetables with this sensational vegetarian stir-fry.

    Ingredients

    • Add to Shopping List +
    • Add to Shopping List + 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • Add to Shopping List + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • Add to Shopping List + 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
    • Add to Shopping List + 1 tablespoon mirin
    • Add to Shopping List + 250g packet microwave red quinoa
    • Add to Shopping List + 1 tablespoon peanut oil
    • Add to Shopping List + 5cm piece fresh ginger peeled
    • Add to Shopping List + 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
    • Add to Shopping List + 2 bunches broccolini trimmed
    • Add to Shopping List + 100g snow peas trimmed
    • Add to Shopping List + 150g sugar snap peas trimmed
    • Add to Shopping List + 3 spring onions cut into 5cm lengths
    • Add to Shopping List + 1 bunch asparagus trimmed
    • Add to Shopping List + 1/4 cup cashews toasted
    • Add to Shopping List + 1 long red chilli thinly sliced

    Step by step method

    Step 1

    Combine sesame oil, sauces and mirin in a jug. Set aside.

    Step 2

    Heat quinoa according to packet instructions.

    Step 3

    Meanwhile, heat peanut oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

    Step 4

    Add broccolini to wok. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until bright green. Add snow peas, sugar snap peas, onion and asparagus. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender crisp. Add soy mixture and cashews. Stir-fry until heated through.


    VEGETARIAN 'n' VEGAN Recipes …

    Ingredients (serves 2)
    ° 100g rice, washed and drained
    ° 1.2 litres water
    ° 2 slices ginger
    ° 20g carrot, peeled and finely shredded
    ° 2 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked and finely shredded
    ° a small handful shredded black fungus, soaked and cut into smaller pieces
    ° 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    ° salt, to taste
    ° pepper, to taste
    ° light soy sauce (optional), to taste
    ° a small handful fresh spring onion or coriander leaves, finely chopped

    Method
    1. Put the rice, water, ginger, carrot, mushrooms and black fungus in a claypot. Let it stands for 1 hour or more, if desired.
    2. Bring the congee to a boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave it to stands for 30 minutes or more. Re-boil the congee for 10 minutes prior to serving. Season to taste with sesame oil, salt, pepper and light soy sauce.
    3. Ladle the congee into individual serving bowls, garnish with spring onion or coriander leaves and serve hot.

    Quick n Easy Homestyle Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes by me …

    You are welcome to take a recipe and experiment with it.

    Please feel free to adjust the ingredients and whip up any dish to your own liking . Discover the pleasures of cooking, it can be therapeutic .

    The recipes here are simple and ingredients are easily available. So, it takes very minimal effort to churn out a quick, healhty and home-cooked meal.

    Vegetarian cooking can be fun and exciting, keep experimenting and thinking out of the box. And keep recreating and reinventing new and delicious taste of your own - something out of the norm. Happy cooking!

    Just leave some comments, if you like . cheers : )

    P.S - Buddhist Vegetarians are forbidden to consume the five pungents (onions, chives, leeks, shallots and garlic), hence please omitted these ingredients in the recipes.

    Who EATS What!

    Here is a rough guide on various types of vegetarian:

    VEGETARIAN: Overall term for people who live on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables, with or without eggs and dairy products. Does not eat any meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish.

    LACTO-OVO-VEGETARIAN: Most common type of vegetarian, who eats eggs and dairy products.

    VEGAN: Does not eat dairy products, eggs or any other animal product.

    LACTO-VEGETARIAN: Eats Dairy products

    PESCO-VEGETARIAN: Eats fish and non-mammalian seafood but does not eat any other meats.

    POLLO-VEGETARIAN: Eats poultry but does not eat red meats such as beef and lamb.

    FLEXTARIAN: Eats mainly vegetarian food but will eat animal meant occasionally for cultural, social and nutritional reasons.


    Congee is often served with fresh scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, or fish sauce. You might also see people add fried shallots or chili oil, like I’ve done in the photos.

    In Chinese restaurants, you’ll almost always see congee served with fried dough sticks that are crunchy on the outside and spongy on the inside. Mandarin-speaking regions often call the fried dough 油條, which roughly translates to oil sticks. Cantonese-speaking regions call it 油炸鬼, which literally means oil fried ghosts—no idea where that phrase comes from.

    I usually buy the fried dough frozen at Asian supermarkets. There is no need to defrost them before reheating. Just bake it on a pan for 5 minutes at 375ºF (190ºC) for 5 minutes. Then, turn off the heat but leave the fried dough sticks in the oven. The residual heat will continue to crisp up the fried dough.