One of the most physically annoying things about aging is not the wrinkles & fine lines visibly showing–get on those anti-aging serums, stay out of the sun, use sunblock, moisturize daily, get ahold of some Asian genes, etc–but that agonizing pain in the back of your mandible. You know the pain I’m talking about, right? That jerk wisdom tooth who’s popping up to say, “hey gurl, sup?” & your response is, “BYE FELICIA, DISAPPEAR.” That pain. Yeahhhh, so since I can only pop so many pills of Motrin before I destroy my liver & overdose, all my food choices have been solely categorized under, “can I feed this to a baby?” and “cannot feed to baby.” Thank goodness for my random craving for cháo (also known as congee or rice porridge) a few weeks ago because it’s so easy to make & I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Also, it falls under the, “10/10 can feed this to a baby.” I mean, it’s not exactly healthy to be exclusively eating it because rice is not going to fulfill the essential vitamin spectrum for a healthy body, but look, my mouth hurts to chew so I’m going to choose to slurp on rice porridge. That’s where the versatility comes into play though! Dressing up porridge with your favorite ingredients will help you get over the general boringness that is porridge.
Growing up in a Vietnamese household, the only time you ever really ate cháo or Vietnamese rice porridge, was when you were sick. I was never the biggest fan of it because it was always so plain, but now that I’m older & more adventurous with my cooking, I’m revisiting the dish. Borrowing some ingredients from other Asian countries, it’s easy to create a perfectly seasoned rice porridge/cháo/congee that’s great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Use this recipe as a base for whatever delightful protein you choose to add to it whether it’s tofu, fish, an assortment of vegetables & mushrooms, or meat.
How to Reheat: It’s best to reheat rice porridge in a small saucepan with about half a cup of broth or water & part of bouillon cube or paste. I use about a teaspoon of Hon Dashi (bonito fish stock), but you can use whatever you’d like. Reheating on the stovetop allows me to add uncooked ingredients like mushrooms, egg, or tofu. You can also do the same thing in the microwave.
- 2 cups rice
- 12 cups water
- 1 Tbsp Hon Dashi (fish stock) or any type of prepared stock base or miso
- 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 Tbsp wakame
- 1 knob of ginger, peeled & quartered (about 5 cm or 2″)
- 1 cup carrots, sliced (optional)
- 3 cups napa cabbage, roughly chopped (optional)
Savory Topping Ideas
- Preserved Duck Egg aka Century Egg
- Fried onions
- Soy sauce or tamari or ponzu sauce
- Tofu or any other protein
- Mushroom (shiitake or enoki are personal favorites)
- Rinse rice in a strainer until the water runs slightly milky.
- In a dutch oven or a large nonstick pot, add rice & water, Hon Dashi, soy sauce, wakame, ginger, carrots, & cabbage. Stir to mix. Place a lid over the pot & bring it to a boil on medium heat.
- When the broth comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. Lift the lid, leaving it slightly ajar so that the pot is not covered completely. Cook for an hour & 15 minutes or until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally & add more water when needed.
- Remove from heat & ladle the porridge in a bowl, topping it with your favorite ingredients.
- Whether you have short grain, long-grain, jasmine, or brown rice it doesn’t matter. You can use any rice you have on hand!
- HonDashi can be found at an Asian grocery store. It can be expensive (well worth it though, highly recommend), so a great alternative is any sort of vegetable bouillon whether it’s a paste or in little cubes.
- If you’re not a fan of wakame, try using a few 7-10 cm pieces of dried kombu. That way you can remove the kombu when you’re ready to eat the soup.
- Prep Time: 10 m
- Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
- Category: Brunch
- Method: Stove-Top
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: chao, rice, porridge, congee, soup, breakfast, brunch, asian, vietnamese, chinese, japanese, recipes, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, pescatarian
It’s October, not St. Patrick’s Day, I know, but I couldn’t resist DAVIDsTEA’s limited edition Pumpkin Pie Matcha, which is what made my pancakes green. I bought 2.5 oz of it thinking that would be a good amount & after making these pancakes, I bought more the next day. I couldn’t resist. I’m that person who loves pumpkin, but to be fair, I love all squash! The shaming of people who love pumpkin flavored things has become so mainstream that it’s now trendy to bully someone who loves autumnal flavors. I can’t tell you how many times people come into work, ask about our pumpkin flavored teas, & then apologize for being that person. Stop apologizing!!! I don’t apologize for being obsessed with sushi or chocolate, why should you apologize for being obsessed with an orange seasonal squash?! Madness, I tell you. /pumpkin rant.
Let’s talk more about matcha because not everyone’s heard of it & let’s face it, green is the new black. That’s right all you black tea lovers, green tea is getting its righteous revival–& I’m not even referencing Selena Gomez’s new album, but there, now I’ve plugged it because it’s pop royalty. Green tea was actually the first tea to be discovered, but black tea was made popular by the British, especially since it fared the journey from China to the UK much better than green tea. Green tea has fantastic health benefits (antioxidants, longevity, antibacterial properties, etc) & although it has a significantly shorter shelf-life than black tea (1 year-ish vs. several years), it’s making its comeback. While black tea is the most popular tea and makes up about 80% of the sales in the West, matcha is changing the game. So imagine a whole pound of beautiful Japanese green tea that has been pulverized & that’s what matcha is: powdered green tea. It’s not artificially colored, it’s just that beautiful & green. Not only are you reaping all the benefits of green tea, but you are now actually consuming entire tea leaves. Amazing, right?
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YOU GUYS, it’s pumpkin season again aka my favorite season. Summer? Pft, too hot & also bugs. Spring? The melting snow becomes black mush & it’s gross. The blooming cherry blossoms hang out for like 2 weeks & then they die. Also, bugs are back with vengeance. My point is that it’s pumpkin season – the most important season because pumpkins????. Look, there are a lot of pressing issues in the world, so I’m going to make it clear that I’m being facetious, but I must emphasize with hyperbole how much I love pumpkin season.
This Tea Time Thursdays will not be with a pumpkin tea because it’s embarrassing that the time before my last TTT was on pumpkin tea, so…here’s my attempt to mix it up. But just so you know, DAVIDsTEA has 4 new pumpkin teas. Yep. Get PUMPED y’all! Okay let’s actually talk about what’s in my picture right now.
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For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know that Josh & I went on a little weekend getaway to Maine. We traveled up to Portland & then made our way to Bar Harbor. Although I love city living, I begged Josh to adventure up into Bar Harbor to see Acadia National Park because this city girl needs to immerse herself in nature every once. The mountains & the trees called to me like the colors of the wind call to Pocahontas. Lucky for me, Josh enjoys the great outdoors so we made plans to visit Bar Harbor & it was even better than we could’ve ever imagined! Funny how that all works out, kind of like when you don’t expect very much from a recipe, but it turns out to be something you want to eat everyday.
Speaking of which, this modified recipe from Clean Slate by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living really surprised me. I mean, I knew I liked oatmeal, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I am, however, crazy about the combination of caramelized nectarines, coconut flakes, & almond milk. You could grab that box of cereal in your cabinet or you could reheat some delicious homemade oatmeal, toss some fruits on top, & sprinkle with agave or honey for a really delightful breakfast. I loved the addition of coconut flakes to the oatmeal, but do you know what brought this recipe to the next level? Mint.
I hear you, I hear you. “Mint, Tiff? Really? It’s just an accessory, a garnish.” OH, but you are wrong, soooOooOoo wrong. Mint may be a pretty little garnish or accessory to any plate, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t add another dimension or complexity to any dessert or savory dish. When Gaby visited, I added mint to our oatmeal with some mixed fruits & she remarked that it was a very surprisingly good & refreshing addition. So, when the people of Invaluable–a website dedicated to auctioning off nifty valuables such as art, jewelry, a signed jersey, etc–inspired me to write about my accessories or jewelry, I was dumbfounded on tying something completely unrelated to food or how anyone who would be interested in their company would be interested in my blog. But then I realized…