Congee in a Storm
There's a cold front moving in from the ocean tonight and if you live anywhere in the Perth metropolitan area you should probably abandon all plans, buy a bottle of red wine, and barricade yourself in for the night with the entire series of A Handmaid's Tale. And cook this dish, obviously.
The most amazing and wonderful thing about this bowl of hot deliciousness is that you basically can't screw it up. It's fundamentally impossible. And that's coming from someone who is always intimidated by meals involving rice. You pretty much don't even need to measure anything, which makes it even more perfect in case you bought two bottles of red by 'accident' and have already got through the first before you start cooking. Also a handy hint: even though it requires minimal effort, this meal does take an AGE to cook, so best not to wait until you're already drunk and hungry before you start making it.
1 cup brown rice
1 1/2 stock cubes
1-2 tsp grated ginger
6 garlic cloves (dice 2 cloves very finely, slice the remaining four into thin slivers)
4 spring onions, finely chopped
A handful of coriander, roughly chopped
A packet of firm tofu
A handful of Enoki mushrooms
Sweet soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
Fresh red chilli, finely diced
Put your rice, stock cubes, ginger, the finely chopped garlic and half of your spring onions into a saucepan, along with about 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer with the lid on (but leave a little gap so the steam can escape... you know?)
Your rice will take at least an hour to cook and break down into its porridge-y deliciousness, stir it fairly often during this time, and make sure that the rice doesn't start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Have a jug of water next to the saucepan, and add extra water as the rice cooks, to keep it at the consistency of porridge.
You'll know the rice is nearly done when the grains are soft and have lost their bite, and the remaining liquid in the pan starts to thicken. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a bit more than an hour, but it's very hard to overcook the rice or ruin the dish as long as you keep stirring the pan and adding more water so it doesn't dry out.
When your rice is just about done, chop your tofu into chunky sticks, and fry it in a little oil, 2-3 tsp of Tamari and 1-2 tsp of sweet soy sauce. In another pan, fry your Enoki mushrooms with a little more Tamari and olive oil.
Serve your congee rice into bowls (it should make 2-3 portions), and swirl 1 tsp Tamari through each bowl of rice. Top with the tofu and Enoki mushrooms.
Briefly fry your garlic slivers in 2 Tbsp olive oil until they go crunchy and golden. Pour the garlic infused oil, and the crunchy garlic over your rice bowls, and top with the fresh coriander, remaining spring onion and sesame seeds. Add some fresh chilli if you are so inclined. Enjoy!
Note: Tamari is a lot like soy sauce, but it has a subtler flavour and I think it's wayyyyyy better! It's no more expensive so go get some. You can even lap it up in little sips from a teaspoon when you're feeling a little rough on a Saturday morning.