Brown rice congee
Congee, also known as jook in China and chao in Vietnam, is one of the world’s most comforting dishes
750 ml chicken stock
350g brown rice
30g ginger, thinly sliced, plus extra, finely grated, to serve
8 dried scallops (at Chinese groceries)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
12 scallops, cleaned
To serve: Thinly sliced spring onion
Chilli-black bean sauce
100g long red chillies
4 red bird’s-eye chillies, half the seeds discarded
100g salted black beans, rinsed and finely chopped (see note)
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp white grape juice
1 tbsp red grape vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp white sugar, or to taste
For chilli-black bean sauce, process chillies and black beans in a small food processor until finely chopped, then fry in oil over low-medium heat to soften, 4-5 mins.
Stir in grape juice and vinegars, simmer until reduced by half, 2-3 mins, stir in sugar. Refrigerate in a sterile jar for up to 3 weeks.
For congee, bring stock, rice, ginger, dried scallops and 2.25 litres water to the simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low, half-cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches a porridge consistency, 1¼-1½ hours.
Season to taste with sea salt and coarsely ground white pepper.
Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, add scallops and sear, turning once, until browned at the edges (30 seconds each side).
Serve congee hot, topped with seared scallops, spring onion, grated ginger, coarsely ground white pepper and chilli-black bean sauce.
Note: Salted black beans are available in jars from Asian grocers.