The weather has been unseasonably wet. On Friday helper D and I got soppingly drenched in the rain despite umbrellas as we navigated the long route from the carpark to the wet market. The recent policy to cordon off wet markets has meant that the entrance to my usual market is now inconveniently far away from the carpark. When I finally got to my favorite tofu stall, the sweet old couple that run the stall told me they had been hailing me in an attempt to point me to a gap in the fencing that the delivery people had been using! They were so sweet to be concerned that I would get too wet.
Anyway August is not typically monsoon month but it feels like it. There has been an unprecedented rainfall, opposite to the drought seen in some countries. Crazy climate change. But when the rainy weather comes, I hanker for piping hot soupy meals. I’ve always loved congee and I’ve shared before that this is my ultimate comfort food. The low carb adaptation I use is cauliflower. And because I adore Cantonese porridge which is a thick, gooey mess compared to Teochew porridge which is more like softened rice in soup, I decided to try a different way of cooking the cauliflower to mimic the thick starchiness of Cantonese congee. In essence, half the cauliflower is steamed and mashed and the other half is chopped into small grains and cooked into the soup. When mixed together, the cauliflower congee has a wonderful thick texture with discrete bits of cauliflower rice in it, and the flavor is actually a little sweet thanks to the cauliflower itself.
I called this porridge “premium” because it’s chock-full of ingredients. This goes beyond the classical pork and century egg porridge as it contains both salted duck egg and century egg, as well as homemade pork balls, lean pork slices and pork liver. This congee is protein rich and is pretty filling compared to other kinds of porridge. It’s something that the old folks in my home really appreciated as it reminded them of traditional congee that they would have on special occasions.
Of course there are other ways to make this porridge even more loaded. Adding scallops, soaked cuttlefish or abalone would raise it several notches. I will probably do the super premium version at the next torrential rainfall!
Premium Cantonese Cauliflower Congee
- Pork balls
- 250g minced pork
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp almond flour
- 1/2 beaten egg
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 heads of cauliflower
- 100g lean pork, sliced thinly
- 100g pork liver, sliced thinly
- 1 century egg, chopped into small pieces
- 1 boiled salted duck egg, chopped into small pieces
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 sprig of spring onions, chopped into small pieces
- fried shallots (optional)
- Mix the pork ball ingredients together and roll into small 2 cm width balls. This recipe makes about 30 pork balls. Refrigerate for about 10-20 min as you prepare the other ingredients.
- Mix 1 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ground pepper with the lean pork and set aside. Mix 1 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ground pepper and 1/2 tsp sesame oil with the liver and set aside. Refrigerate for 10-20 minutes.
- Cut 1/2 head of cauliflower into florets and steam for 20 minutes. Mash with a blender.
- Using a food processor, chop 1 head of cauliflower into small rice-sized pieces.
- Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the cauliflower rice to the broth and cook for about 10 minutes. If the broth is unsalted, add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground white pepper.
- Add the pork balls and boil for another 5 minutes, stirring to make sure the balls don’t clump together. Add the pork slices and just cook through. Add the liver and cook for 1 minute then turn off the heat.
- Stir in the mashed cauliflower, century egg and salted egg. Top with spring onions and fried shallots and serve hot.
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