Rice porridge

Rice porridge

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South East Asian Food

Two consistencies of rice porridge are possible – one in which the rice grains remain separate, which is the Teochew version, and one which is cooked long enough for the grains to be no longer visible (the version favoured by the Cantonese and Hainanese). Rice porridge has been brought by overseas Chinese to every country in South East Asia.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. For 500 g short-grain rice use about 3.5 litres water to start with. This will probably need to be increased to 5 litres as the rice cooks in order to achieve the consistency desired (up to 12 times the ratio of water to rice is sometimes used). Simmer over a very low heat for at least 1 1⁄2 hours, stirring frequently.
  2. A more custom-designed approach would be to start cooking the rice in the usual way with a normal amount of water, then when the water is evaporating stir the pot and add more boiling water slowly and bit by bit until you end up with a porridge of the consistency you want. This will also take a long time, and if you proceed this way you will have to keep an eye on the contents of the saucepan so as not to let the porridge get too thick.
  3. Plain rice porridge has an extremely comforting blandness and sweet taste. Try adding fish, sliced thinly and marinated in soya sauce and ginger then stir-fried, to a bowl of rice porridge, with a garnish of chopped spring onions or coriander leaves. Break a raw egg into a piping hot bowl of rice porridge and allow to set, stir in light soya sauce to taste and garnish with coriander or fried garlic and Chinese celery. Have on the table bowls of soaked and chopped dried prawns, slices of Chinese sausage, some fried or roasted peanuts (small ones with red skins preferably), and slices of Chinese pickled radish.
  4. No matter what else you serve with rice porridge, always accompany it with small side dishes of fermented soya beans and Chinese pickled vegetables for each person.
  5. The choice of side dishes is endless, though each country seems to have its favourites.
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