After I got back from the Pasadena Wine Festival, oldest nephew's childhood friend was camped out in my living room, catching up online and doing laundry. Lil' sis and oldest nephew weren't coming to pick him up until the next day since we were going to Fogo de Chao - Beverly Hills for DineLA. A few hours later, jetlag finally caught up with him and the snores were so loud that I couldn't even hear the television, so I retreated to my bedroom.
I figured he'd probably wake up in the middle of the night hungry, so I decided to make rice porridge for him. I've never met anyone who likes rice porridge as much as he does. He likes bland foods he says and can happily eat rice porridge every day for every meal. In fact, I made a 5-quart pot, left a note beside his glasses telling him there was rice porridge on the stove, and went to sleep. At 1 a.m., he woke up and ate three big bowls. He then ate another bowl for breakfast. And happily took home the quart-sized container of leftovers.
I've made Chao Hot Vit Bach Thao (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Preserved Duck Eggs) before, but it's been three years and this recipe has ground pork added. So, you know, a new post is required, right? :)
Lil' sis, who doesn't quite get the whole appeal of rice porridge either, said she tried making it once, but it didn't turn out right. Didn't turn out right? How can you mess up rice and water? I generally do a 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice, and add more if necessary. I usually end up adding more water, but prefer to do it in increments as the porridge cooks instead of all in the beginning. Not that this requires close monitoring at all, but if you want more control over the consistency, it's better not to add too much water in the beginning.
The ground pork provides a slightly more nuanced broth than just water. The preserved duck eggs at the end add just a touch of saltiness. How thick you want your porridge is entirely up to you.
Chao/Congee/Jook Thit Heo Bam Hot Vit Bac Thao (Vietnamese/Chinese Rice Porridge with Ground Pork and Preserved Duck Egg)
For a 5-quart pot, you'll need:
1/4 lb ground pork
2 cups jasmine or any kind of rice
1 tsp salt
2 preserved duck eggs
Saute 1/4 lb ground pork in the pot on medium-high heat until the meat is mostly cooked, breaking it into little pieces if necessary.
Then add two cups of rice and lightly saute until the rice has absorbed all of the pork juices.
Add about 4 cups of water, or enough to cover the rice by at least an inch. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover with a vented lid, and let simmer.
After about 45 minutes, most of the water will have been absorbed.
Stir up the soup and see if you like the consistency. If not, add more water. I added another 2 cups to this and let it simmer some more while I chopped the duck eggs.
Preserved duck eggs, which are sometimes called 100- or 1,000-year-old eggs, aren't really that old. They're preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, and lime. They are often sold in packs of half a dozen for less than $2. They are very salty so just two eggs is often enough to flavor a whole pot.
Add the chopped duck eggs into the soup.
Give it a stir. Taste and add salt if necessary. Cover the pot and let it simmer some more.
I like the duck eggs to be well incorporated, so it was another 45 minutes on the stove.
Finally! Ready for eating.
A close up of the pork and duck eggs in the soup. You can add grated ginger or chopped scallions if you wish, but I like this just fine as is.
Other rice porridge recipes:
Chao (Vietnamese Rice Porridge)
Chao Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Rice Porridge)
Chao Hot Vit Bach Thao (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Preserved Duck Eggs)
Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)
1 year ago today, Dismantling Camp and Leaving Rockaway Beach - Oregon.
2 years ago today, Rau Den Luoc (Vietnamese Boiled Amaranth Leaves).
3 years ago today, on the yin and yang of food, traditional Chinese medicine, and eating bird spit.