Time for another episode of, #cookingoutloud.
Congee, the ramen of rice, where versatility is its strength and strange ideas are welcomed. First make a base of fragrant oil by frying a few sliced shallots until crispy and caramelized. Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon then fry two handfuls of ground pork, pre-seasoned with fish sauce and cornstarch, until crumbled and crispy on the edges smelling like a glorious morning. Add the fried shallots back in and raise it with equal amount of thinly julienne ginger, and a couple cups of cooked short grain rice.
Now add enough chicken stock to flood all the ingredients but reserve the option to readjust. Remember you can always add but you can’t take away. Season with more fish sauce and good amount of black pepper, then simmer until the rice is soft but not dissolved. For more textural contrast, kindly consider Korean sliced sticky rice cakes to enter the scene towards the end. Readjust with more chicken stock to your liking. A very delicious case can be made for a consistency that is still soupy and not overly thickened.
For toppings, boneless mackerels that are heavily seasoned with salt and white pepper and coated with potato starch, are fried until charred and blistered spots appear on both sides then flaked by forks and scattered on top of the congee. The crunch and sturdy oceanic profile brings not only contrast but excitements. Speaking of which, a touch of acidity like chopped pickled chilis along with their pickling juice would be an unforgivable crime if overlooked. That green you’re seeing is hand-torn mint. But I’m not gonna tell you where to stop. •
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