Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Winter Kept Us Warm...

One of my favourite food items has to be the simplest of simples; brown rice porridge. This dish is a staple in Asian kitchens, where it is known as jook, or congee. It can be jazzed up with tofu, slivers of ginger, vegetable stock, cinnamon, nut butter, coconut milk, vanilla, toasted nuts... the sky is the limit. I have been there, done that, but nothing will ever compare to straight up cooked brown rice, reheated with water until it becomes a creamy porridge.

This winter I finally swung myself a dedicated morning yoga partner, and every morning after yoga we would sit down to a bowl of brown rice porridge with a cup of genmaicha (roasted brown rice tea). After yoga, if you told me that I could only have this to eat for the rest of my life, and that would be it, I would be happy. Any type of rice works, brown, or white, short grain, long grain, basmati, jasmine, etc. Better than that, you can do this with any leftover grain... millet, buckwheat, quinoa, etc. However, brown rice has my heart. I am not keen on quinoa... it never breaks down into creamy goodness.

The directions are simple... put as much (or as little) leftover cooked rice or other grain into a heavy bottomed bot, and cover with a half-inch of water. Cook until it is the consistency that you desire. I like my congee to really be pudding-like, others prefer it where the rice has maintained its shape.

I often add nothing, just a little salt. Today, in the name of using them up, I tossed in some of the tapioaca 'grapes' leftover from the recipe I am in the middle of illuminating... and here is another close up of those funballs, for the heck of it..

Speaking of simple pleasures... A piece on shared experiences making us happier than material acquisition... And here is where I note that I have never sat down and had this centering dish by my lonesome.


Anonymous said...

I love porridge! I just found your blog and really like it. I recently did a little post about porridge myself. Have a great week!

juineve said...

Hi there,
Your page links to your flickr page but not your blog? or am I just reallllly slow right now?
But yeah, porridge is awesome. You are so lucky to be living in Japan. I only got to visit for a few days.

Any other daily/near daily foodie things in Japan you wish you could bring back with you? I know that they have a really beautiful reverence for food and some whole grains that doesn't quite make it over here.

Anonymous said...

I've actually had a bit of a hard time finding grains other than rice! Quinoa took me over three months to track down.

I'm really going to miss the organic miso here.. and organic shoyu. I'll definitely miss all the different kinds of mushrooms, the lotus root, the kabocha squash [!!!], the taro root [satoimo], the "sticky mountain yam" [yamaimo] and the stress put on FRESH produce in the stores. I also have a really easy time finding local stuff from here in Nagasaki, which is also fun.

My blog is www.abimages.blogspot.com

I'm not sure why it only linked to my flickr page.. that's strange.

Hoorah for porridge! and vegetables!