Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Easy Chicken Porridge with Dried Scallops

What do you do when you're too tired to cook dinner? Sometimes I resort to making porridge or congee.

Porridge is filling yet nutritious and with a rice cooker, you can cook porridge in 1 hour or less.

This time, I will show you how to cook a simple chicken porridge with 3 basic ingredients - chicken, dried scallops and rice.

I use chicken wings because I like the texture and softness of chicken wings but you can use any part of the chicken you like. Chop the chicken meat into fairly large pieces. Set aside.

Wash rice as if you are going to cook rice. A cup of rice is enough for two persons. Put rice into your rice cooker and add 3 times the water. More water is better than less. Your porridge will thicken as it sets.

Into this rice + water mix, add chicken. Add 3 large dried scallops (pre-soak in water to soften). Break up the scallops gently.

That's it. Place the lid on the cooker (do not cover tightly or your porridge will boil over! And what a mess that will be) and switch on the electricity. Stir it every 15 minutes.

As there's more water than rice, the cooker will not turn off automatically until the water is almost dried up. Keep stirring the porridge until it reaches a consistency that you like. I usually boil it for 40 minutes before I turn off the electricity.

Add a little salt and pepper and a good dash of roasted sesame oil (Ghee Hiang brand). The sesame oil makes the world of difference. It's aromatic and brings out the best in your porridge. Trust me.

Once you turn off the electricity, cover the lid tightly so that the porridge will continue to thicken slightly for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with good quality soya sauce like Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce.

Simple, easy and so yummy!

Note: Dried scallop is one of the more nutritious ingredients you can buy. Get the large ones if you can. This is a pricey ingredient (about RM38 for 1 tahil - you get about 20 scallops) but what a tasty ingredient it is. It is also nourishing for the Yin and good for children and the elderly. It imparts a slightly fishy taste to food but a fragrant fishiness. Dried scallops is a premium ingredient which can be used with broccoli too (as you usually see in expensive chinese restaurants).
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