fish congee

I love congee and I love seafood. My parents should not have fed me as much seafood as they did while I was growing up because now I’m super obsessed and it’s not cheap to satisfy seafood cravings, guys. Please don’t get me started on how much I love sashimi (ugh, momentary pause in writing to cry over how beautiful sashimi is and how mean my friend in Vancouver is for sending me picture of his sushi).

But also congee! I love it, it’s just such a comforting rainy day meal. Not that that limits me to only eating it during rainy days, but I like to think of it as an Asian version of chicken noodle soup. I also just think that ever since I start university and had to learn how to cook my own meals, I’ve been craving Chinese food because it reminds of home and a better time when my mom did all my cooking for me.

There aren’t many places in Waterloo that have congee and even the few places that do, don’t serve up bowls up to my standards (Mississauga and Toronto have spoiled me). Apparently Grace and Healthy Premium Dumplings does a pretty cheap bowl but sometimes you just want to make your own at home! In large batches! That you’ll eat all on your own and pretend that you’re normal!

Okay enough about how weird I am, and onto the deliciousness of fish congee!

This recipe should make approximately enough for 4 bowls of congee. Sorry if that’s not that accurate.

You will need:

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  • 1 ¼ cup of white rice (Some recipes call for jasmine, others want basmati. We’re students, you grab whatever rice is on sale. But not brown because that’s a different texture altogether that I don’t have the capacity to deal with.)
  • 6 cups of water (This depends on how thick you like your congee, always better to start with less water and pour more in until you get to the perfect consistency.)
  • White fish filet (It doesn’t matter if it’s fresh or frozen, I personally stock up on frozen because it’s cheaper and more convenient. I also have a preference for basa, but you can use any white fish.)
  • Spices and seasoning:
    • Salt 
    • Pepper
    • Salt pepper (Which is different from both salt and pepper because it tends to use white pepper and has more of a kick to it.)
    • Sesame oil
    • Soy sauce 
    • Ginger 
    • Cilantro 
  • Optional:
    • Green onion (If the cilantro isn’t enough for you.)
    • Chili oil 
    • Fish sauce
  1. Soak the rice overnight if you can, it helps absorb the water so it can be broken down more. I like my congee this way but you don’t have to! Especially if you forgot to soak it overnight try to get it in water for an hour or so before you start cooking it. I’ve been told other methods of breaking the grains are to put it in the freezer, or if you’re lazy like me, stick it into a blender for 15 seconds.
  2. Put the rice and water into your pot to start to boil. All the starches are probably going to float to the top and look unappetizing. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times now, testing what happens if you skim off the layer of starch and if you don’t. Really, there’s no difference. When the congee gets to be thicker it’ll all get absorbed in and it’ll be fine.
  3. While your rice is boiled cut up your fish into really thin pieces so that it cooks easily. Marinate it in a bowl with the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger pieces, salt, pepper, and the salt pepper. Add just a splash of fish sauce if you have it on hand. I like adding some cilantro at this stage because I’m a fiend for it. Leave the fish in the marinade until the rice is thickened and ready for it to be tossed in, should be around 20 minutes. 
  4. Add in your fish when the rice in your pot looks thick and porridgey, as opposed to just rice in water. If you’re like me, you maybe freak out when your rice doesn’t immediately turn into congee-consistency for like, 15 minutes, and then it does and you thank god that there’s no one else in your kitchen to witness this.

    Rice looks like this when it's about ready for the fish!
    Rice looks like this when it’s about ready for the fish!
  5. Give it like, 7 minutes for the fish to cook through. It probably takes less time because it’s so thin but I’m not about to tempt fate.
  6. Ladle your yummy goodness into a bowl and top it off with more cilantro if you’re like me, or even green onion if you want!
That’s all there is to fish congee, yay! Go use cooking as a procrastination method now!

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