Pork Congee

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A: Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of VOV 24/7’s“Food delight”. We are …. And …, and we are very happy to be here to share our recipes with you.
B: Hello, you guys. Hello, A (sneezing non-stop)
A: Bless you, B. Uhm. Are you ok? You look so pale, and tired, and exhausted, dear. 
B: I must confess that the last few weeks have been terrible. I’ve been sick twice in three weeks. But I’m feeling much better now (sneezing)
A: Godness me, B. Don’t pretend to be ok when you’re not. We all know that at this time of the year, the weather is cold and flu season seems to be in full swing. Now is the time to be kind to yourself and take it easy. And I’m going to give you the sweetest-ever solution to your condition. Tada. A super big bowl of Pork Congee - a special gift, with free personal delivery, only the best for you.  
B: The scent of congee carried on the chilly winds of winter sparks a bit of warmth in my heart. Don’t tell me you cooked this dish just for me. I'm literally gonna burst into tears, dear.
A: Well, I didn’t exactly cook it. Actually, I bought it from Mrs. La’s congee shop at 2A Ly Quoc Su Street. Mrs. La, who has been selling pork congee for 20 years, is a familiar name to local foodies. 
B: Hey. That’s my favorite congee shop, too. For those of you who may not know, congee is a kind of Asian-style rice soup which is easy to digest and is good nourishment in cold weather or when you have the flu. And believe me, when you’re sick, nothing helps you feel better than the warm comfort of congee.
Pork Congee - ảnh 1
Congee is a kind of Asian-style rice soup which is easy to digest and is good nourishment in cold weather or when you have the flu (Source:Kenh14.vn)
A: Hey B, you know what? I met Phan Duc Bach, the only son of Mrs. La, and learned from him some tips for making the dish. Do you wanna hear?
B: That’s great. I’m curious to know. Let’s start with the broth. “The ingredients for making this dish are familiar and easy to find. For 5 portions, you need about 200 gr of rice, pork marrow bones, and of course, pork ribs. After being carefully washed, the pork marrow bones are simmered on medium low heat to make the broth, to which the pork ribs are added to make it a bit richer. The pork ribs are done when you can pull the meat apart easily, about 25 minutes. Set the meat aside and return the bones to the pot. The longer you cook this nourishing broth, the more savory and concentrated it will become”.
Pork Congee - ảnh 2
Mrs. La, who has been selling pork congee for 20 years, is a familiar name to local foodies
(Source: Afamily.vn)
A: Wow. I have to admit that cooking the broth seems like an impossible mission for me. You know? It takes a minimum of 6 hours to create pork broth, and if you want to extract more taste and nutrients from the bones, it should be more like 48 hours. I think it would be better if I used canned broth, which is available at most supermarkets. 
B: Hmm. Canned broth may be convenient and a time saver, but it means your broth is full of preservatives. I prefer homemade broth even though it might be time-consuming. Believe me, it’s easy and super fun to cook a pot of broth on your own. 
A: Okay, okay. Let’s hear Bach elaborates on the congee cooking process. “The rice is pre-soaked and then coarsely ground before cooking long and slow in the broth.  Bring the mixture to the boiling point, then simmer on low heat for at least 30-40 minutes until the grains are soft.  Add more water if you feel that the congee is too thick and remember to stir the congee every 5 minutes to keep it from burning. Remember to season the congee with some salt and sugar to balance its flavor. After 2 hours of simmering, the congee is finally ready. All you need to do now is serve it topped with the pork meat. Congratulation! You’ve successfully nailed this nutritious dish.”
Pork Congee - ảnh 3
Mrs.La's congee attracts both Vietnamese and foreigners alike
(Source: Afamily.com)
A:  Let’s imagine we’re sitting at a tiny food stall, enjoying a big bowl of pork congee on a cold winter day. What a glorious experience.
B: Yep. For those chilly days, Vietnamese rice congee is the number one choice. I like to add a little chili pepper to warm my body up a bit. For fancier congee, add some dried onion, ham, or crullers. 
A: I think Bach has a few more tips for us. “You have to admit that enjoying a hot bowl of congee on a chilly day feels absolutely fantastic.  I have a couple tips to boost the flavor. Add a spoonful of pork fat to the dish to give it a richer flavor, and soak the rice for at least 2 hours before cooking to perfect the dish.”
A: Personally, I can eat congee anytime – when I have a cold, the stomach flu, or a wisdom tooth removal. Congee can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on a chilly winter day like today. 
B: Exactly. This healing, soothing, warm and tasty dish boosts your energy and helps you recover quickly from exhaustion.  You can find congee at many food stalls in Vietnam, or you can make it at home, following our tips. And now, goodbye, everybody. Join us next time on VOV24/7’s Food Delight. 


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