When I did a search on the word "congee", Wikipedia threw up different names for "congee". In Burma it is called San Bohk which literally means "rice boiled". In Cambodia it is called Babaw. In China and Hong Kong it is called Zhōu. In India it is known as Ganji. In Indonesia it is called Bubur. In Japan it is Okayu whilst in Korea it is Juk. The Filipinos call this Lúgao and the Thai people would call it Chok (โจ๊ก) And in Vietnam it is known as Cháo. In fact the word in some languages sound pretty much alike such as in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
Most Asians would have grown up eating congee in one way or another. To us it is the ultimate comfort food .. be it when you are well or when you are ill. So it is not surprising that I cook this quite often at home. My hubby loves it whenever I cook congee especially the thick plain congee and have many side dishes such as stir fried vegetables, egg omelette, cold chinese tofu, fried luncheon meat, pickled chinese cabbage and braised ground peanuts to go with it. This particular weekend which also happened to be wet and cold, was calling out for rice congee for dinner. So I made a meatball version and it was extremely, extremely comforting!
Rice Congee with Meatballs
Ingredients for the Congee:
200g long grain rice, washed
7 cups (around 1750 ml) water
2 teaspoons chicken stock granules or 1 chicken cube
2cm ginger, skinned and smashed lightly
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon teaspoon ground white pepper
Ingredients for the Meatballs:
200g minced pork with a bit of fat in it (you can use minced chicken as substitute)
2 Tbsp sliced green onion
2 Tbsp sliced coriander
2 Tbsp sliced chinese celery
1 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
6 waterchests, chopped into small pieces
2 Tbsp chinese preserved turnip, finely minced (can be found either Asian groceries either sold loosely or canned version)
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoon chinese wine
1 Tbsp corn flour
Sliced green onion and chinese celery
A drizzle of sesame oil
Dash of ground white pepper
1) Place all ingredients for the congee into an electric rice cooker and cook using the congee mode. Stir occassionally.
2) Mix all ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl. Stir to combined all the seasoning. Using your hands, shape the balls into 3/4 size of ping pong balls. You can make this ahead and keep in the refrigerator in a air-tight container.
3) Once the congee starts to thicken (at this time the congee should be almonst cooked), drop in the meatballs. Cover the rice cooker and cook until meatballs are done.
4) To serve, dish hot congee into bowls and sprinkle with garnishings.
If you do not have a rice cooker, you can cook this over a stove. Just make sure you keep an eye on your congee to prevent burning and over boiling. Best to cook congee in a non-stick pot over medium fire in this case. Once the congee starts to thicken you can drop in the meatballs and cook them for about 15 minutes for doneness.