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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Roasted Grey Mullet Congee

This weekend totally sucked, the sky has been all gloomy, cold and rainy. My mom got sick and I wasn't feeling good either so I decided to make a dish that was an absolute must for sucky days such as this: congee.
Congee is a comfort food made from simmering rice in water until a semi-thin porridge-like consistency is achieved. There are many variations of congee and my variation was a fish congee, using chunks of roasted grey mullet, ginger and scallions. I scaled and gutted a grey mullet, making sure to keep the delicious fat cushioning the fat. I placed the fish and the fat on some tin foil, scored the flesh and seasoned with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Baked the whole thing in a 450 F oven for approx. 20-25 minutes while I brought a pot of water to a boil and simmered around 3/4 to 1 cup of long-grain Jasmine rice, slightly toasted beforehand. Once the rice has broken up and the porridge becomes thick, I added my desired amount of thinly sliced fresh ginger and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper to taste. I left the pot on low heat while I went to de-bone the fish into meaty chunks. If you don't want to go through the process of de-boning an entire cooked fish, you can cook up some fillets (sole, cod, whatever you want) but I personally like to cook a whole fish cause all the juices and flavor are further enhanced. On very low heat, I added the grey mullet meat, gently stirred and added 1 tbsp of fish sauce to boost the flavor of fish in the soup. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot with sliced scallions for a nice hot meal on an ugly cold day.

For my own vegetarian twist, I made the same rice soup base and added around 1 cup sauteed Cremini mushrooms. I sauteed the mushrooms separately in a small skillet with some shallots and 1-2 tsp of Kikkoman soy sauce. The reason why I used Kikkoman instead of regular soy sauce is because Kikkoman is light to the palette and it does not give a sour-like after taste once added to the soup. Another alternative of Kikkoman is Maggi Seasoning Sauce. I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper and a bit of mushroom seasoning powder. (Sorry, I didn't take any pics...)


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