Cantonese congee (guangzhou congee)

Cantonese congee

Cantonese congee, white rice is boiled in many times its weight of water for a long time until the rice breaks down and becomes a fairly thick white porridge. Congees made in other regions may use different types of rice with different quantities of water, producing congees of different consistency.
Congee is often eaten with zha cai, salted duck eggs, lettuce and dace (Cirrhinus chinensis) paste, bamboo shoots, youtiao, rousong, pickled tofu, wheat gluten, with other condiments, meat or century eggs.
Other seasonings, such as white pepper and soy sauce, may be added. Grilled fish may be mixed in to provide a different texture.
Congee is often eaten with fried bread sticks known as youtiao. Congee with youtiao is commonly eaten as breakfast in many areas in China. Congee can be left watery, or can be drained so that it has a texture similar to Western oatmeal porridge. Congee can also be made from brown rice, although this is less common and takes longer to cook.
Besides being an everyday meal, congee is considered to be food therapy for the unwell. Ingredients can be determined by their supposed therapeutic value as well as flavor.
The origin of congee is unknown, but from many historical accounts it was usually served during times of famine, or when numerous patrons visited the temples, as a way to stretch the rice supply to feed more people.
In China congee has also been used to feed young infants. However, the cooking time is much longer than for okayu and, because it is for infants, the congee is not seasoned with salt or any other flavoring. Often it is mixed with pre-steamed and deboned fish.
Congee can also be made from other grains, like cornmeal, millet, barley, and sorghum. These are common in the north of China,where rice does not grow as well as other grains suited for a colder climate. Multigrain congee mixes are sold in the health food sections of Chinese supermarkets. Congee with mung beans is usually eaten with sugar, like red bean congee.

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