Monday, 21 May 2012
Bobur (Cambodia Rice Porridge)
Rice porridge is a staple in Asian countries all having different names but basically the same dish…the Chinese name, congee is probably the most recognised name, but it goes by many others. Bobur (Cambodia), jok (Thailand), cháo (Vietnam), san byohk (Burma), Okayu (Japan), khào piak (Laos), bubur (Indonesia) and lugao (The Phillipines). Korea, India and Bangladesh also have their own versions. The list could continue….there are many other countries that have their own version of rice porridge. Typically eaten at breakfast, along with some fish, it can however be eaten any time of the day. Where Westerners turn to chicken noodle soup (typically your dehydrated packet stuff!) when they are unwell, Asians turns to rice porridge.
It’s comfort in a bowl. It’s my get well bowl of soup. It’s my new hangover cure! I can honestly say I am an absolute convert…. I have eaten it with dried fish, chicken and ginger, pork and century egg, plain and many other ways. I have eaten it for many years and find that I am craving it more and more.
My recent time in Cambodia, I ate more bobur than I ever have. A small set up around the corner from my guest house, the lovely old lady made it by the potful, welcomed me with a huge smile every morning (and I ate there at least 3-4 times a week). It was made with chicken and a handful of vegetables (not so common) and the rice still had a bit of bite to it. At 50 cents for a huge bowl, it kept me going to lunch time. My guesthouse also made a version that I fell in love with and I usually had it at night when I wasn’t terribly hungry. It was served plain and the daughter of the owner used to hand me a piece of her fathers dried fish stash to go with it….dash of soy and lots of white pepper…yum. Some of my favourite memories are attached to bobur.
The past couple of weeks I have been craving a good bowl of bobur. So this weekend I had a look in the fridge to see what I could put with it and I made a plain version, with a few simple toppings. Can I just say it perked up my morning (as I was feeling a little seedy from a big night before).
½ cup of long grain rice
2 cups of water
1 tsp of chicken stock powder/ half a cube (I used Knorr Chicken powder from South East Asia which is similar)
Rinse rice to wash away some starch.
Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil.
Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until consistency is gluggy (but rice still has some shape).
3 Shallots, slicely finely
1 tbs ginger, finely grated
2 tbs Peanut oil
1 tsp salt
Toppings and ingredients are endless which could be covered under a separate post. Today I chose a very simple, classic topping plus a chinese inspired shallot and ginger sauce.
In the meantime, prepare the shallot/ginger sauce. (I am addicted to this salty, gingery, shallotty goodness at the moment!).
In a bowl place 2 shallots, finely sliced, the ginger and the salt.
In a frying pan place the peanut oil and heat until just smoking. Immediately pour over the shallot/ginger mixture (be careful as the hot oil will splatter!). Mix and let cool (and the flavours will meld together).
Once the rice porridge is ready, ladle into a bowl. Top with shallots, a few peanuts, drizzle with fish sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce (just a splash or two of each) and drizzle with the shallot/ginger sauce.