Congee is the morning version of fried rice to asian people. It literally a blank canvas that you can throw in any left over you have and somehow it will taste good. You can top it with sauce or leave it plain. It's totally up to you. Normally, I've always had congee that has stuff like chopped up pork, chicken, squid, scallions, and peanuts. It's like the golden standards of congee.
But today I didn't feel like the golden standard. Today I felt like the golden standards black sheep cousins standard. We'll just call it the black standard congee. It completely different but taste just as good. Different textures and tastes and colors! I generally have my tomato sauce on hand, even through out the winter. I just get tomatoes and cut it until the flavors reduce and I throw in spices to make it even more flavorful. I even think that the one thing I wouldn't get rid of in this dish would be the tomato sauce. Congee and tomato sauce just work so well together that I just eat it like that! But if you have the extra time and money I would go all out and try it with fish and pigeon peas. It just adds a another layer of flavor and texture! Flakey fish, creamy beans, what could go wrong!
NOTE: A nice rule of thumb to remember how to make congee is 1 cup of rice: 10 cups of water. So if you want to make more of less that you would start from 1 cup of rice and go down from there. 1 cup of rice will serve about 5-6 big bowls. In my family all we do is eat big bowls of food so its a good number for us.
Black Standard Congee
Serves 5-6 big bowls
1/2 cup of rice
5 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon of salt
Baked White Fish:
1 fillet of white fish (tilapia, cod, or your favorite white fish)
drizzle of oil
sprinkle of salt & pepper
My go to tomato sauce:
1/4 cup of oil
1 onion diced
2 garlic, smashed
1 cup of tomatoes, diced ( I always use fresh )
1/4 teaspoon of dried basil
pinch of dried cilantro
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of salt & pepper
1 can of guandules aka pigeon peas, drained
In a large pot combine the rice, water, chinese five spice, and salt and bring to a boil.
Let this boil for about 20 - 30 minutes. Then once it starts thickening lower the heat to a medium low, stirring every 10 minutes, and leave the lid open.
After another 30 minutes it should be have thickened nicely. If you like it thicker, continue cooking it in 10 minute intervals.
While the congee is cooking, work on the rustic tomato sauce! In a medium sauce pan, add in the oil, diced onion, and smashed garlic. Let this cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the onion have shrunken and gone translucent.
Then add in 1 cup of diced tomatoes, dried basil, cilantro, and oregano. Give the sauce a stir every 20 minutes and crank the heat up to medium high.
Let this cook until it breaks down into a rustic looking sauce. You want most pieces to be broken down but still have some chunks. This should take about 30 minutes.
While the congee and tomato sauce are cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place your white fish in a baking dish along with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
Once everything has come together, grab a bowl, spoon some congee in, add in the tomato sauce, a piece of fish, and top it with some guandules aka pigeon peas.