Friday, November 11, 2011

Sweet Potato Porridge 番薯粥

Of all the fall/winter bounty of pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash etc. - I can handle none at this moment due to my injury! Thankfully, I could still turn to the sweet potato - it's easier to peel, at least.

Late last week to early this week, the temperature around the Bay Area has been dipping fast. On such cold frosty nights, I decided to cook some sweet potato porridge or congee - 番薯粥 (Fan Shu Zhou) for dinner. So good to have piping hot congee to warm myself inside out, and it really feels comfortable. This congee goes well with side-dishes such as  Chokos, Cabbage and Mushrooms Stir-Fry, Pickled Leaf Mustard with Chicken, steamed side-dishes or even a light melon stew.


Instead of white rice, I used brown rice and millet 小米 (both grains are more nutritional than white rice). Millet also fluffs up rather well when cooked, so it renders the congee a more gruel-like consistency.

The above stainless steel pot is part of my TATUNG TAC-6G RICE COOKER that I am currently using. Ever since my Rice Cooker Cookbook has been completed (and published), I have switched from a conventional rice cooker to this multi-functional rice cooker and steamer.

It cooks rice, congee and soups really well by using indirect heat on the food contents in the stainless steel inner pot (See diagram above). For example, fill the inner pot with food contents and water if required, then place the inner pot back into the cooker that is also filled with water. When Cook Switch is turned on, the food contents in the stainless steel inner pot is in effect, indirectly "steamed" to cook by the surrounding boiling water in the cooker. It has a "Keep Warm" function as well.

I like this way of cooking my soups as the indirect heat does not allow the soup in the inner pot to boil off so quickly (since it is the water in the cooker that is boiled off). This is similar to a double-boiled method. In short, you don't have to re-add much water to the soup while the soup is cooking, thus maximum nutrition and flavor is retained. Once the water in the cooker is boiled off, the cooker turns to "Keep Warm" function automatically.


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