I always love a hot bowl of congee 粥 during winter months and the plain congee 白粥 is the easiest to make with only 2 ingredient that's always on hand, rice and water. I remember mum would always make congee with tons of Chinese Dried Scallops when I am sick, how I miss that.
Although with only 2 ingredients, congee making can be time consuming since you have to keep an eye at it since it can easily stick to your pot at the bottom or boil over and take at least an hour to an hour half to make a good fluffy pot of congee. But there's a few tips I learn to make life easier.
Basic Congee :
1 cup Long grain rice
10-13 cups water
~ Bring the water and rice to a boil in a large pot.
~ Turn down the heat to medium low once it's boiling.
~ Depending if you like thinner or thicker, you can always add water as you go.
~ Add salt to taste
~ If it's your first time making congee, try half the recipe with 1/2 cup of rice and trust me it is more than plenty for 2 people since the rice does expand quite a lot.
~The one pictured here, I added a pack of Frozen Bean Curd Sheets which gave it that extra milky color and gave it a smoother texture (you can find it at most Chinese Supermarket)
~ Feel free to add chicken, pork bone, pork, minced beef or seafood for more variation.
~ The Thousand year egg with Pork is one of my favorite.
~ Feel free to substitute the water with chicken, beef or vegetable broth for quicker easier version.
~ When I'm having plain white congee, I like to have some saltier side dishes and one of my non-cook favorite is Chinese Pickles like cucumber, radishes, mustard greens, Chinese cabbages that you can get readily made in small packets or bottled.
~ Wash the rice, put the wet grains in container/ziplog and freeze it. Next time you crave for congee, take that out and just put it into a pot of boiling water or broth. This way the rice break more easily and you cut your cooking time in half to achieve that fluffy congee texture.
~ Put 1 or 2 of those Chinese Ceramic Spoon into your pot cause when the congee is bubbling/cooking away, the spoon will move around and prevent it from sticking at the bottom.
~ Put a chopstick or wooden spoon between your pot and lid allowing steam to escape.