Cooking log 22 : Prawn & Corn Porridge

The taste of Zen

When in doubt, make porridge.

The frequency i have to cook at home since the isolation began makes it harder and harder to figure out what i want to eat. I had instant noodles quite often when the objective was just to get it over with, those meals will never make it here. Another go to menu for me is actually porridge, although it takes quite some time to cook.

I love porridge since childhood but only the Cantonese version which is sticky with no clear form of rice grain, topped with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, spring onion and fish or chicken. People said that we form our preference on food in our home but strangely, my mum’s porridge was nothing like that. My mum is from Taiwan and their porridge has strong influence from the Hokkien region in China, where the porridge itself is not season at all and the grains are still visible. It is treated similar as rice where you have it with other savory dishes and pickles. I never like it when i was young, now i do but still much prefer Cantonese porridge.

Thinking back, i remember my mum’s porridge had strange smell sometimes. Years into adulthood i found out it was due to not thoroughly washed rice grains, when i made a mistake at the restaurant i worked by not rinsing the rice enough. As i now lives in Japan, i found that with good rice comes good porridge and it is the same with the porridge i had while visiting Taiwan. So it was all about the rice…..our rice when i was young was not great. Simpler the dish, higher the requirement on the quality of the raw material is something very true about porridge.

I enjoy adding vegetables in porridge and today i added corn(canned…not the season yet) and green leaf vege. For protein i threw in some prawns, although my preference is normally pork or chicken i used what i have at hand.

Seasoning is important, i am not sure everyone knows this but adding salt to the base porridge is crucial, even if soy sauce will be added later. Sesame oil is another key seasoning, i always feel sad that sesame oil in Japan is not as fragrant as those in Taiwan or Malaysia which i grew up on, and sometimes wonder why. Is it due to the species of sesame plant or the manufacturing process?

I save up half the pot for tomorrow’s lunch. Wonder if i should restart lunch box prep, even though i am currently working from home…

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