Monday, 5 March 2018

#ewew cooks 10-Ingredient Rice Porridge

Well, Chinese New Year is over.  So, have you had your fair share of high cholesterol CNY foods like lap mei fan, Peking duck, bak kwa and kuih kapit (according to an article in Sunday Star)?  I'm happy to report I haven't succumbed to any of these this year.

But for those who had over-indulged in these (or in any other food) during the festivities, there's always redemption...and this dish fits that purpose.  Whenever I go through bouts of eating too much unhealthy food myself, I would then cook and eat rice porridge (or congee) to make amends.  And that would somehow make me feel less guilty...hee..hee! ;)

But if something healthier tastes anything like this 10-Ingredient Rice Porridge, I say bring it on, I'm all for it! ^_~  I love, love, love porridge of any it "chee chap chuk" (mixed pork innards porridge), "sang yue chuk" (fish porridge), poached chicken with plain porridge or frog porridge that I order/eat outside and the minced pork porridge, chicken porridge or this 10-Ingredient Rice Porridge that I cook at home.

What?!!  Ten ingredients?!  I know that's a lot but it'll be all worth the effort once you taste the result.  The idea of this porridge actually came about from one that I had outside (sold by a shop in my neighbourhood as in the pic above).  I liked this porridge so much that I decided to replicate it at home (and threw in a few extra ingredients). ^_~

I will show you the ten ingredients that go into this porridge but I will not show you how much to put in. That's because it depends on how much porridge you're making...and how much you want to load your porridge with the ingredients.  I'm sure you're capable of judging how much you need as more or less will not change the dynamics (or taste) of the porridge too much.

Ingredient #1 - Peanuts

You can soak the peanuts overnight to soften but why bother (in case you suddenly just decide you want to cook porridge).  I just boil it for 10 minutes and leave it to steep in the hot water (covered) for at least one hour.  Note that this method will render the peanuts just soft enough to be acceptable but not super soft like the 'porridge lady's' coz she told me the only way to get it so soft is to use a pressure cooker (well, I have no pressure cooker, so I have to deal with it the best way I can).

Ingredient #2 - Dried Scallops

At the same time (you start steeping the peanuts), soak some dried scallops too.  I like to crush them a bit before adding to the  porridge.

Ingredient #3 - Rice, of course

Then add washed rice (and more water) into the pot of steeping peanuts, together with the soaked dried scallops (water and all), and start boiling (on medium heat).  Progressively add more water and cook on a medium-low heat as you go along once the grains are broken down and the porridge starts to thicken (this should be at least half an hour into the cook).

Ingredient #4 - Dried Oysters

Chop up the dried oysters into small bits, you don't need a lot as dried oysters tend to be pungent.  This can be added in together with the rice.

Ingredient #5 - Chicken Fillet

The strips of chicken fillet can also go in at the beginning.  Once cooked (it should not take more than 10 minutes), remove them from the porridge, let them cool and peel into shreds.  Although I put four fillets in, I only shred two of them for the amount of porridge I was cooking (otherwise it'd be too thick from too much shredded chicken).

Ingredient #6 - Crab Sticks

These crab sticks are already pre-cooked, so you just need to shred them.

Ingredient #7 - Meehoon

Yes, you heard right...meehoon!  I asked the 'porridge lady' why there's meehoon in her porridge and she said it's to give it texture.  Well, who am I to argue with an expert.  Just snip them into 1 to 2-inch lengths.

Ingredient #8 - Fried Ikan Bilis

Because I didn't bother to use chicken bones to impart flavour into my porridge (other than two extra chicken fillets), I decided to add crushed pre-fried ikan bilis to give it that extra bit of flavour it needs.

This fried ikan bilis is a good condiment to have around.  You can sprinkle them on fried rice, stir-fried vegetables, tofu, porridge or noodles as it enhances their flavours.  I usually fry a batch, crush them and store them in an airtight container and they're good for at least 2 - 3 months (probably longer if kept in the fridge).

Hey, even Cookie has his own private stash.  I sprinkle a tiny bit of it over his dry food (sometimes) and he loves it (even my cat has a refined palate...hehe!) though I try not to do it too often.

Add ingredients #6, #7 & #8 in the last 5 - 10 minutes of cooking (once the porridge has nicely thickened).

Ingredient #9 - Fried Garlic

Once the porridge is ready, drizzle some fried garlic bits and garlic oil on top.  Note that Ingredients #8 & #9 are not in the porridge lady's original recipe (I added these two).

Ingredient #10 - Spring Onions

Finish with a sprinkling of chopped spring onions and a dash of white pepper.

One quarter cup of rice yields about three (Chinese rice) bowls of porridge.  As a yardstick, for every quarter cup rice, you can use 1/4 cup peanuts, 4 (small) dried scallops, 4 strips of chicken fillet (but shred only two), 2 dried oysters, 1 crab stick, a handful of dried meehoon and 2 tbsp crushed fried ikan bilis.

One quarter cup of rice takes about an hour to cook down depending on how mushed you like the rice grains (I like them really mushed).  Cook it for lesser time if you like it less mushy.

Porridge is good for you.  We should all eat it more often.  It's healthy...and it's my 'go to' food when I'm feeling a bit under the weather.

Plus, there's nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot porridge on a rainy day....or, like now, when we've been guilty of partaking in too much unhealthy good food over the Chinese New Year festivities! ^_*


  1. Your porridge making is so inspiring to brighten my Monday blues. Being a Teochew Nang, I could eat porridge any time for any occasion be it sad or happy. I love such porridge with many ingredients and the more is the merrier lah. Yours is interesting esp the added mee hoon and the way you cooked the chicken fillet for just 10 minutes and shred them! This is really something new to a kitchen novice like me. I definitely must have dried scallops & oysters besides the peanuts & salted duck eggs. Now you just taught me more!

    1. I learned to add meehoon from the 'porridge expert'...hehe! ;) Shredding the chicken fillet and putting them back in towards the end is so that the chicken doesn't dry out from prolonged cooking. I love Teochew many small plates to accompany the porridge.

  2. I've never made rice porridge. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. You're welcome. Do you think you'd ever attempt to cook Chinese porridge at home? ^_* It's along the lines of healthy eating that you like.

  3. there's still lots of bak kwa in my family's fridge, heheh :D this porridge looks very comforting - since i'm not a fan of ikan bilis though, i'd request my portion comprise salted egg yolk instead (even though that makes it a less-healthy porridge!) :D

    1. Oh, you don't like ikan bilis. It's the salty component of the porridge so you can surely add salted egg instead for your portion! ^_~

  4. I can't say I am a fan of porridge but I am more enthusiastic about it now compared to when I was younger. I am OK with plain porridge which I used to dislike and subsequently I had the chance to taste a very delicious pork porridge and that really changed my mind about porridge. I think I will enjoy your 10 ingredient rice porridge as it must be packed with loads of flavors. I don't like dried oysters as I find the taste too strong but in small amounts it should be all right.

    1. Actually, I'm not that fond of dried oysters too for the same reason but this 'porridge lady' had it in hers and the taste wasn't too strong, so I followed suit. One of my favourite pork porridge is "chee chap chuk" (pork innards porridge)...and that I have to eat it at the shops :)

  5. Wah you are so patiently prepare so many ingredients for your porridge! I'll normally just put one or two kinds of meat and vegetables into my porridge and let them cook together. Or I will cook 8/10 grains porridge and pair with a few small dishes :)

    1. Yeah, I usually cook porridge (the easy way) with either just minced pork or chicken pieces but sometimes I'd be willing to put in some extra work for more flavour. ^_^


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