Congee is like a porridge, made with rice and normally flavoured with different meats and seasonings. However, there’s also a more simple version. Something I would deem as an old school, low-on-dough version, which is the Chiu Chow Style Congee. Chiu Chow is part of the Guangdong province of China. This province is a bit different from the others (as well as Hong Kong) because they predominantly speak Cantonese, whereas a majority of China speaks Mandarin.
Unlike the typical congee, this is thicker. It only contains water and rice boiled together. I know, it sounds very bland, plain and boring on its own but (like an infomercial) wait , there’s more!
Once the congee part is cooked, that’s when you add the good stuff. Usually it’s salted or pickled morsels of food. Some samples include peanut wheat gluten, salted lettuce, chili radish and black bean dace fish.
These preserved items help liven the flavours of the otherwise tasteless congee. I don’t think they are common items used in many households, but they are readily available at many Asian grocery stores and are relatively cheap.
Although the Chiu Chow Style Congee is actually supposed to be a lot thicker than what I have pictured above (I was hungry!), you can get the main gist of it – thick porridge with pickled and salty things on top! It’s not that hard to make the base, so it’s just a matter of finding some interesting toppings to add to it. 🙂