Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rice porridge for the sick soul

It's been a trying time in the Ooh, Look... household in the past week, with the taint of winter illness befalling 66.67% of the household.

Firstly, the other half got a severe dose of 'man flu'. Symptoms included wooziness, runny nose, aches and pains and a reluctance to do any housework. Several trips to the pharmacy (by me) for antibiotics and cold and flu tablets had no effect, and I had to cancel an anticipated visit to a fancy restaurant as a result. Not happy, Jan.

Then, a couple of days later, I caught a really bad cold that turned into a chesty cough. Urgh! Unfortunately, this happened on Friday, so I had to spend the weekend on the couch, going through several boxes of aloe vera tissues. My symptoms included wooziness, nausea, runny nose, aches and pains and an unexplained urge to do all the housework (believe me, the place is a mess).

So, not much cooking was done this week. But I did manage to make this cure for all winter ills, rice porridge, aka congee or jook. It's warming and delicious and economical and it makes me feel all motherly. I'm sort of on the mend now, and I do declare, it's all due this wondrous soup.

Rice porridge
serves 4

1/2 cup long grain rice
8 cups water (or 2 cups chicken/vegetable stock plus 6 cups water)

1. Place the rice in a sieve and rinse under running water until the water becomes clear.
2. Put the rice in a large saucepan and add the water (or water plus stock).
3. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat. Place the saucepan lid slightly ajar on the pan and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until the rice grains have broken down and become soft and soupy. Taste and season with salt, if desired.
4. Serve the porridge hot.

This cooked rice porridge can be cooled then stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 days.

 I kind of 'cheated' (I was sick, after all) and added a tub of chicken stock jelly to the water.
Yes, it's that Continental chicken stock pot stuff that is promoted by Marco Pierre White. It gives the rice porridge a good flavour, and it means you don't need to add extra salt.

For the patient/s, I also added some sliced ham, chives and fried onions.

Yum, I could eat this even if I wasn't ill.

Tabitha cat managed to avoid this round of illness, thank goodness.
I made sure to stock up on oranges and mandarins as an extra precaution (for us, not the cat).


  1. Fantastico!! se ve delicioso!!
    Saludos Da & Mer

  2. I can't believe you cleaned the house while you were sick. You should have used that as your get out of jail free card!

    The porridge looks like fabulous carb loading fuel. I'm gonna have to make this.

  3. This is perfect for me as I have just finished some stong antibiotics that have ruined my stomach. It looks so comforting :)

  4. Sad to say I've never had a congee. I'll have to give this one a go. I hope you feel better soon :(

  5. that is my go to sick food as well... but then I will eat it any day and time as well :)

  6. I love porridge, so comforting. I hope you feel better soon...and no more housework Bel :-)

  7. It's funny the rice porridge made you feel motherly - as soon as I saw it I thought of my mother! She used to make it all the time when I was a kid. Good luck getting over all the illness and be careful - as well as the housework reluctance - manflu seems to go on FOREVER ha ha.

  8. Am sick already from reading this. Can I have some? :) Nice Photos

  9. It definitely cures what ails ya. In fact, am told that the hospital in SF's Chinatown has rice porridge available to its patients 24/7. ;)

  10. Now you've got me really curious about the Continental stock as I've never used it before. I'm still a little skeptical about MPW's recommendation about using beef stock cubes to marinate a good steak though. Wonder if Neil Perry would agree.

  11. We think of it as the Asian antibiotic and our mother always made it for us when we were sick! Yours looks very inviting and I'm craving it now! :D