Comfort in a Bowl

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With lockdown looming, and the temperature steadily decreasing, here are some warm meals for the season to fill your stomach. All the recipes work well for larger batches, to either keep for leftovers or share with your housemates.

Chicken Mushroom Congee

Based on the traditional Chinese and East Asian dish, here is my own easy recipe. Congee is a porridge-like dish that can be equated to porridge or oatmeal, but instead uses rice instead of oats. There are two ways to make this dish, the fast and the long and I’ll explain both below.

Ingredients:

  • Short or medium grain rice, jasmine also works but do not use basmati
  • Fresh ginger (sliced into thin pieces)
  • Stock cube (chicken or vegetable)
  • Mushrooms (optional, really you can cook in any vegetables you want like carrots or bok choy)
  • Chicken or pork or turkey (optional – if you want it vegetarian you can omit this for tofu)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Rice wine or vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Corn starch (optional – and don’t use it on the tofu)
  • Spring onion
  • Water

Method: (Fast – 15/20 min)

  1. Take rice and wash it 3 times, removing as much starch and water.
  2. Then place rice in a freezer proof bag or container and freeze overnight (or 8 hours).
  3. In a pot, put seven times the amount of water than rice and add the stock cube, ginger and the frozen rice.
  4. Bring to a boil and then put on low to simmer. 
  5. After five minutes add any vegetables (except spring onion).
  6. Prepare the protein. Slice into small pieces and put into a marinade mixture of 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon wine/vinegar, ½ teaspoon pepper, a pinch of salt and a pinch of corn starch.
  7. Once rice has cooked for ten minutes, add the chicken and excess marinade.
  8. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked and rice turns into a porridge consistency (another five to ten minutes)
  9. Serve with sliced spring onion and enjoy!

Method: (Slow – 1/1.5 hr)

You do everything the same, except you do not freeze the rice. After thirty minutes add vegetables and after twenty minutes add protein.

Broccoli-Spinach-Cheese soup (V)

Warm, cheesy, and comforting. This recipe is inspired by a soup I grew up eating this time of year, I hope you enjoy it too.

Makes 2 servings 

Tools required:

⁃ 1 medium to large pot

⁃ 1 blender or immersion blender

⁃ Spoon or spatula

⁃ A standard sized cup

⁃ Cutting board and knife

Ingredients:

⁃ 3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)

⁃ 1 tablespoon of butter

⁃ 1 medium white onion

⁃ 1/2 a head of broccoli (helps to chop it small)

⁃ 1 potato (chopped up)

⁃ 1 cup shredded carrots (optional)

⁃ 1 cup of water

⁃ A large bunch of spinach (chopped)

⁃ 1/2 cup of milk

⁃ 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella (optional)

⁃ 1 cup of shredded mild to sharp cheddar

⁃ Lots of black pepper and salt

Method:

1. In a pot, melt butter. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

2. Add onions and cook until translucent.

3. Add broccoli and potato and carrot. Cook until broccoli turns bright green.

4. Add water and cover for approx 3-5 minutes.

5. Add milk, spinach, cheeses and spices. Stir to combine.

6. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. If using immersion blender, place in pot and blend together. If using regular blender, wait until soup has cooled down. Then pour into blender and blend. Place back in pot to reheat.

7. Pour into bowl, serve with cheese on top. Enjoy!

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