Grandfather Porridge of Taihang

uncle juk with familyI had a double porridge experienece yesterday- one euopean inspired in the morning -the date and flax healthy guts and glowing skin combo that i posted about. (the another at dimsum, based on Rice and the boat-people’s style of chucking it all in the pot , rice , eggs , veges, seafood, pork and pickles, the Chinese word for porrdige is congee. Now I really should wikipedia and find out the actual definition for porridg , and if it is as I’ve always believed, only otas based, or if it is more inclusive, but then that could be limitig to this blog. Porridge , for the purpose of theis blog can be any old gloopy bowl food, and here in asia there is a lot of that! The post basic porridge in hong kong is plain white rice congee, basically rice boiled to withinn a couple of milimetre of being glue. But those milimetres are very important. those milimetres determine the Chinese equivalent of aldente on which the whole glory of good congee rests – just as good pasta does for food-serious Italians.
Hundreds of shops all around Hong kong cook up congee , some staying open 24 hours to service the congee lusts of this city. For congee, or lets just call it porridge for a moment , is taken seriously in this town, and satisfies a range of emotional needs in the way that chicken soup does in say America. It soothes the soul.
Congeee is what you eat when you fight , or break up with your lover. Congee is what you eat when you are tired of the shallow banqueting with rapacious corporates who ar buying you dinner as prelude to screwing you in a business deal. congee is what you to cleanse the feeling of gluttony after eating too many roe -laden crabs, balanceing out this exorbitantly expensive freshwater crustaceans , with the cheapest bowls of carbs that you will find this side of the China / Hong kong e border.
Congeee is also a blank canvass upon which you can create. A bit of white pepper can bring back spice. A few fish of carp and aspinkling of shredded ginger, shallots, and a finger clutch of fried peanuts and you are already over that last boyfriend and ready for the next.
I love our local JuK shop! Juk is the cantonee word for congee. It is a small family shop with walls tiled mosiac in the 1960’s, electric clocks on the wall, the grandfather makeing cheung fan rice noodles out the front, whilst his children prepare congee ( you can also have roasted pork and thousand year old egg – a classic combo) or beef my least favoutite). The kids, one of whom the mother had strapped to her back whilst she stired the congee pot and served the patrons for the first two years that i lived here in taihnag, now run around under the feet of the returees, mechanics, school students and local Taihnag resients who frequent this bagdad cafe style establishement. I captured a portrait with a bit of action of the three generations on the night of the taihang fire dragon festival which will decorate this post.

The recipe

Get a container, opreferably ne of those old fashioned enamel tins with a handle and a lid
walk down to your local juk shop ( If you dont live in Asia -try your ocal chin town).
Ask for a Bak Juk ( whte porridge), pai dan juk ( pork and thousand year od egg porridge), yu juk ( fish- my favourite), or the unpronounceable ngau yug ( beef)
Decant into the most bautiful bowl that you have – ┬áin the spirit of elevating simplicity to the sublime.
sprinkle with white pepper and eat waith a porcelain spoon , scooping the cooler porridge from along the bowls edge.

or if you decide to cook it yourself.
1/2 cup of well washed long grain rice (substitute 1/4 of this with glutinous rice for textural variety)
6 cups of water
Boil in a deep pot then simmer for two hours until porridge consistency is achieved, stirring the mix every now and again.


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