As you may know, I was a chef for many years, almost a decade ago now. The foods that I cooked were all niche oriented: I worked at a Mexicali restaurant where I developed my taste for all things Mexican, I worked as the head chef at a Thai/Caribbean fusion restaurant where a developed my love of South Asian and West Indian cuisine, and I worked at a 4 star bistro were I developed a taste for the “sheshe poopoo” delicacies.
One of the dishes that I miss from those days is a soup made from rice called Congee… Basically, it is just a rice porridge with whatever you want added for flavor. You boil the crap out of the rice in lots of water until it turns into a super soft mush, add in you toppings and slurp it up. It is a great way to extend the volume of a small quantity of rice. 1 cup of rice will make around one and a half to two cups of cooked rice, while the same will give you 3 to 4 cups of congee.
Since following the Paleo diet excludes the use of grains, congee has been off my radar until the other day. I had made a pot roast in the slow cooker along with some mashed roast garlic cauliflower, when it hit me that with a little tweaking, my cauliflower dish could replicate the consistency and texture of congee.
I made this the other day with the pork meat I scavenged off of the pork fat I used to make a huge batch of lard. Seeing as I can’t find a pastured pork supplier in my area, I get my pork fat from my local Chinese grocer: 4-5 lbs for $1.
- 1 Head of cauliflower
- 2-4 cups of homemade stock
- Fish sauce to taste
- black pepper to taste
Split your cauliflower into quarters and remove the stem. Reserve one 1/4 of the cauliflower for later.
Break up and place the remaining 3/4 of the cauliflower into a pot. Add in enough stock to just cover. Place the pot over med/high heat and bring to a boil for 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat and with either a blender or handheld blender wand, puree the cauliflower until smooth and creamy.
While the cauliflower is boiling, you can make some “rice” with the leftover 1/4 you have reserved. Grate the cauliflower with a grater or use a food processor to get the desired rice-like size. Place in a microwave safe covered dish and heat on high for 5-7 minutes (or until it is soft ad almost mushy). You can watch this video on how this is done.
Stir the 2 together and add more stock to get the right consistency…Not too thick, not to runny.
Ginger Pork Crackling and Cabbage
- 1 cup Fatty pork scraps
- 1 Thumb of fresh minced ginger
- 3 Cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup Diced cabbage
- 1 tbsp Fish sauce
- 1 tbsp Organic wheat free soy sauce
- 1 tsp Organic sesame oil
In a wok, cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pot on med/high heat, toss in your fatty pork scraps. Cook until they are crispy (about 10-15 minutes) and remove from pan and reserve fat.
In a wok, cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pot on med/high heat add some of the reserved fat, the ginger and the garlic. Fry until the garlic turns a golden colour, then add in the cabbage and the cooked pork. Cook until the cabbage softens, then add the fish sauce, soy and sesame oil.
Remove from heat.
Take the pork mixture and add it to the cauliflower congee (garnish with a mixture of minced scallion, celery tops and cilantro) and enjoy!