When I first graduated from college, I found myself needing a strict discipline grocery budget-30 dollars a week, to be exact. One day, while queuing in the checkout line, I suspected my groceries I had selected cost slightly more than my remaining money.
I told the cashier just stop when we reach 25 dollars. I was able to purchase everything I had selected but a bottle of preserved olive leaves. As I was about to get on the bus to go home, a man stopped me. He said, “here’s your preserved olive leaves”, handling the bottle to me. Before I had the time to thank him, the bus door shut and he already walk away.
Remembering the simple goodness of this act of kindness still warms my heart and brings to mind my grandma congee ingredients also had preserved olive leaves, salted duck eggs, century eggs, preserved olive leaves, spring onions, black mushroom, dried shrimps, Chinese pickled vegetables, fish, fried oysters and scallops, fresh ginger sticks, fried shallots and poached chicken. My mom’s congee similar too; except a little less ingredients than grandma.
As the man anonymous kindness reminded me, giving should never be about us. We give only because of what generous God has so lavishly given us. Thank you God for your abundant supply and the discipline to rely on you and enable me to enjoy grandma’s congee more with my own twists.
My congee is cooked in rice cooker, has prawn heads and chicken stock, fish fillets and minced pork, garnished with preserved olive leaves, fried shallots, spring onion and XO chili sauce. I got to have chili in it, that’s me chili lovers. It’s comforting delicious and flavourful congee. Also thank you to the man’s kindness for the bottle of the preserved olive leaves wherever you are. Let’s cook!!!!
2-3 c cooked rice
1 ” fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbs minced garlic
1/2 Tbs oyster sauce
1/2 Tbs soy sauce
6-10 prawn heads, fry with 1 Tbs oil and 1 Tsp minced garlic, once turned red, smashed and cook with 4 c water, salt and pepper to make stock
2 drumsticks plus 4 c water; 1 c extra water, 1 ” ginger, salt, black peppercorns and 4 garlic cloves to make stock
200-250 g minced pork
200 g white tail snapper, fillets
2 Tsp olive oil
1/2 Tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 Tsp minced garlic
1 Tsp Shaoxing wine
1 Tsp soy sauce
1/4 Tsp salt, and extra
1 Tsp pepper and extra
water, if necessary
1 stalk spring onion
1 1/2 Tsp preserved olive leaves
fried shallots, sprinkle
XO Chili sauce, my friend gave me (OPT)
In the rice cooker, add cooked rice, two stocks (2 c each stock first), fresh ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce to pot and turn on rice cooker. Uncovered and stir occasionally for 45 minutes; to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom or until congee is smooth and no longer grainy and broken. Add more prawns or chicken stock and water if necessary.
In a bowl, combine minced pork, ginger, garlic, Shaoxing wine, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and oil. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator. When congee is nearly done; has the right consistency: creamy. Add minced pork to congee, breaking down minced pork, and simmer until minced pork is cooked, for about 10 minutes.
When congee is done, change setting to ‘keep warm’. Add fish fillets to rice cooker. Stir and cover for 5 minutes or until it is cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with preserved olive leaves, spring onions, fried shallots, serve with white pepper and XO chili sauce.
Note: You can use any ingredients of your choice. Or you can add the ingredients like my grandma and mom does as mentioned above. You might want it more liquid, so add more stock or water.
You can omit XO chili sauce. You can put fresh ginger matchsticks, Chinese doughnut, or fried tofu. Or create your own flavour ingredients. You can use vegetables, or box ready stock or cube packet stocks.