Through an interesting chain of circumstance, today I wound up meeting my cousin Nancy in Boston. It was lunchtime, and we were both hungry. We talked about where we might have lunch, and I mentioned that my stomach is still feeling queasy and all I really wanted to eat was some nice white rice and soft vegetables. Nancy, who is a fluent Chinese speaker and who worked in the Chinese community in Boston twenty years ago, said, “I know just what you need. Come on.”
So we walked down to Chinatown, and then walked around looking at restaurants. When we got to the Windsor Dim Sum Cafe on Tyler Street, Nancy said, “Here, let’s try this one. See in the window?” She pointed to a neon sign with Chinese characters and the word “Congee” in Roman letters. “They have congee here.”
We went inside. Nancy ordered various dim sum dishes for herself, and chicken congee for me. It turns out that congee is white rice made with eight or ten parts of water to one part rice, and cooked slowly for an hour or more. The end result is a warm, comforting rice porridge. The chicken congee had chicken broth and bits of chicken in it. “Comfort food,” said Nancy, “people eat it when they’re sick, too.” I liked the chicken congee so much I ordered a bowl of plain rice congee. My stomach felt much better afterwards.
Now I shall have to try to make congee on my own. I found this recipe for basic congee on a software devceloper’s blog.