Pork Porridge

“Hearty congee (or called it porridge) meal that warms the heart of your loved ones”

You are wrong, if you think porridge only limited to oatmeal or cereal in liquid. Chinese congee, savory thick rice porridge has been so well-liked by Asians for centuries.

Congee is usually to be taken for breakfast or supper as its taste tends to be more subtle, and yet, wholesome. But not to this Cantonese-style congee which has become more flavorsome with pleasant briny taste by adding other ingredients in it, for instances, red meat, fish slices, seafood (bite-sized), and/ or eggs, to your preference, that can now be eaten anytime of the day!

I had fresh lettuce served with my congee. This was inspired by the congee meal I had in Hong Kong. I loved the idea of having fresh crunchy lettuce as it makes this meaty congee meal tasted more refreshing. No worries about any odd taste, lettuce tastes wonderfully with the congee. It also balances your meaty meal with some greens here. Good garnishing not just for decorating, it relishes the congee, too. Serve it nicely, and then, mix it all up before digging in, you’ll discover the pleasure of savouring such delicious and hearty Cantonese-style congee once in a while (smile).

Pork Porridge

Cantonese congee is a 1-dish-meal that is unembellished easy to cook, and hearty to eat! Not sure why, but Cantonese congee often pairs with fried fritters (fried dough sticks – 油条) that savours marvelous experience of having a congee meal. My girl and I love it so much!

I cooked pork congee last evening as my hubby felt like having some hot liquid meal for dinner. I always like to cook with pig assortments (猪什) to offer more varieties in my congee. But to cook it simpler and quicker this time, I cooked with only the pork meat and added pig’s liver as an extra to the pork congee (猪肝肉粥).

Let’s see:

Ingredients
200 gram of lean shoulder butt pork meat, thinly sliced
100 gram minced pork meat
50 gram pig’s liver, thinly sliced
6 – 8 pork meat balls
2 pieces of 20 cents big dried scallops (or a few tiny ones), steeped for 3 minutes
1 thin slice of ginger, about thumb size, cut into thick stripes
2 medium eggs

1½ cups of long grain rice
6 – 7 cups of water (about 1500 – 1800ml)
1 cups of thick chicken stock (or 2 chicken essence stock cubes)

Slabs of salt (1 teaspoon, more or less. Adjustable to your taste)
About ½ – ¾ teaspoon of ground white pepper (amount adjustable)
Sprinkle of sesame oil
Few drops of light soy sauce

Seasoning (each for pork meat slices and minced meat respectively):
1 teaspoons of light soy sauce x 2
½ teaspoon of rice wine x 2
Sprinkle of ground white pepper x 2
Pinch of sugar x 2
2 teaspoons of corn starch x 2
* x 2 refers to prepare two portions, one portion each for marinating pork meat slices AND minced meat

Garnish:
½ teaspoon of fried shallots
Fresh lettuce, cut into stripes

Optional:
1 pair of fried fritters, cut into bite size crosswise

Method:
1) Marinate pork meat slices and minced pork meat (separately) with seasoning, for 15 minutes. Keep refrigerated while marinating. Then, blanch pig’s liver slices with boiling water for 30 seconds, or till it’s half done. Drain and reserve for later.

2) To make congee: Rinse rice, place rice and water in a large pot. Bring pot to a boil over high heat. Add chicken stock (or cube), dried scallops and ginger, bring it to another boil before lowering heat to small fire, and simmer for 20 minutes. While simmering, you have to stir it continuously till rice breaks down and liquid slightly thicken.

3) Add pork meat ball and meat slices, and continue to stir. Add some water occasionally if porridge is getting too thick before it’s formed (thicken and smoothed). Add in minced meat (make into balls or have it mixed loosely in the pot). Then, add sesame oil, salt and pepper. Adjust amount of seasoning to your taste. Stir and simmer for another 10 minutes.

4) Add in blanched pig’s liver, 1 minute of heat off. Immediately after heat off, add raw eggs and few drops of light soy sauce into the pot and stir vigorously to mix eggs with congee well. Cover pot with lid for 1 minuted before serving. Laddle into bolw(s), garnish and serve hot with fried fritters.

A bowl of my pork congee counts about 250kcal. With some fried fritters, counts added another 50- 80kcal.

Tips: Right consistency of successful congee should be fairly smooth, light gluey with enough moisture. To achieve smooth consistency, rice has to be softened till completely emerged with the liquid by stirring it continuously (and mashing the softened rice grain to break it down with ladle occasionally) when simmering. Add water to lighten the texture, if you find some resistance to your stirring.
* It’s ok if you don’t like pig’s liver. Opt it out.