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Saturday, October 22, 2011

When we're feeling punk

I had a cold. Second one this year, that's a record, for me. I'm normally not a partaker of colds. I just don't like them, they don't like me. I like to keep it that way.

But when you are feeling punk, there is a sort of rice soup that is almost universal to any culture that eats rice. You can call it congee, canja, jook, okayu, milchreis, kao tam. It can be sweet, savory or incredibly bland.


1 cup or one measure of rice (I use either Jasmine or Japanese short grain.)
10 cups or measures water. (Yes. That is right. 10.)

Put the rice and water in the rice cooker on the "congee" or "porridge" setting. Let'er go until the rice is broken down and you have a thin soup. Can be made thicker. Can be made with chicken or vegetable or fish bouillon. (Bob preferred it with chicken broth, I like it with either veg broth or water.)

Can be seasoned with: shrimp, garlic, green onions, fried diced pork and fish sauce (nam pla) or for a sweet version, use raw sugar, gur or jaggery (palm sugar) and I like a dash of cinnamon. It is made with milk in Germany. I do not like it with milk.

Notice there is no salt unless you use bouillon or nam pla. I usually eat mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar mix. The savory version is a good winter breakfast (and is what we ate in Thailand, that is, I ate it, Bob went for the Western breakfast.) It is also a good dinner or late night snack if you don't want to eat much. In Japan, we had it seasoned with some kind of sweet-soy-sauced dried anchovy fish. Better than it sounds. Some people kind of poach an egg in it by dropping in a raw egg and lightheartedly hoping the heat of the porridge will cook that egg. Maybe, maybe not. Raw eggs for breakfast are common in Japan.

This is great when you don't feel good. Or if you are not up for much to eat.