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I have been wanting to make congee for forever. For forevs. I have had it in various strange situations, including on a camping trip. A few summers ago, I went on this canoeing trip to the boundary waters in Northern MN. It was actually my friends "hikelorette". She wanted a wilderness experience before her HUGE Vietnamese wedding that summer. The girls on the trip had varied levels of experience with camping. Some had never even car camped. Some were more experienced backpackers.
|Too soupy, but still delicious|
We went during bug season. And when I say bug season, it doesn't mean like you may want to bring along some bug spray. It means you need full body protection, a bug net mask/hat, and Deet. There were swarms of bugs flying around your personal bubble at all times. Especially your face.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was all the delicious food we had. With all the Asian influence on the trip, we had a lot of Asian food, including congee. It was the first time I had it and they made it very clear that the texture of our backpacking version was not correct. That is why I love the Asian cultures. They know their food. They respect it. It is just a big part of their lives.
I chose to make this beef version of congee. It was extremely amazing. And I loved everything about it. Even though it does have some Asian flavors, it actually felt like a comfort food for me. I think it is ground beef and the starchiness from the rice that reminds me of the meals I grew up eating like meatloaf, beef stroganoff, swedish meatballs, etc. But this is also extremely easy to make. I guess it is more of a breakfast or lunch type dish. However, it is great for dinner but definitely needs something else and probably a veggie (no veggies, ahhh!). It is often made without meat and then there is some yummy meat served on the side.
Let me discuss some of the Asian ingredients that you will (not) need to get at your favorite Asian grocer. First, there is this crazy "Thousand Year Egg". I pretend like I am an adventurous eater and I usually will try anything. However, this is some egg that has been preserved in clay, ash, salt and lime for weeks to months. Hmm. I'll pass on that one. The second, is the dried shrimp, which I have wanted to try for a while. So, I did get some. They are actually in the frozen section of the Asian Market. They are also kind of disgusting. Definitely edible. And I did include them in my congee. But I don't see the point of them, so I would skip them too. This means that all the ingredients are very easy to find! Last note, for me, it was a little soupy day one of making it. But after it sat and was reheated for leftovers, it was the perfect texture. But I liked both. I wonder if I rinsed my rice too many times?
|Not worth it.|
Beef Congee (Rice Porridge)
from Steamy Kitchen
1 cup raw rice
1/2 lb ground beef (marinated in 1 tbl soy sauce, 1 tbl cornstarch, 1/2 tsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbl dried shrimp (optional)
10 c water or stock
1 1/2 tbl soy sauce + ground pepper to taste
Toppings: minced scallions, cilantro, deep fried wonton skins, shredded ginger or Thousand Year Egg (optional of course)
Wash rice, drain and repeat 3 more times until the water runs clear. Marinate the beef for 10 minutes. Soak dried shrimp in 1/2 c hot water and drain.
Heat large stockpot over med-high heat with 2T cooking oil. When hot, add ground beef, dried shrimp and garlic. Fry until ground beef is browned. Add the stock or water, soy sauce and rice. Turn heat to high. When boiling, immediately turn heat to low. (If you want Thousand Year Egg – add it now) Simmer 40 min. Taste and adjust with more soy and pepper if needed.
(Servings: 5-6, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 40 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 9/10
Scot (taste): 7/10
Dishwashing Effort: 1/5