When I’m sick, I whinge. A lot. Suffering through a stuffy nose, a sore throat and general listlessness means one of two dishes, that I can make easily in a rice cooker and very patient family and friends. After a few ‘poor baby’ commiserations, I do manage enough energy to prep a supply of easily reheatable meals to last through my germy days.

Growing up in Malaysia, we ate a lot of chinese food. Jook, or porridge is soft but not mushy and definitely warming.

Jook/Congee/Porridge

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Japanese sushi rice or any other glutinous short grain variety (yes it is gluten-free)
  • 2 inches of ginger, cut in to thin strips
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, rinsed and chopped up
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 2 scallions chopped fine
  • 1/4 cabbage shredded
  • 1 handful chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ume vinegar

Method

  1. Rinse rice and put in rice cooker (one with a porridge setting.)
  2. Add water and 2/3 of the ginger, the celery, the shitake mushrooms and the cabbage and leave it to cook.
  3. When cooked, mix in the grated carrot, the coriander leaves, soy sauce, ume vinegar and scallions in to the portion you are going to eat. The rest can be frozen overnight for the next day. Other variations include adding a thinly sliced chicken breast to cook with the rice or finishing with an egg, if you like runny yolks.

My other sick day alternative goes back to my own cultural heritage and the advice of my GP, who insists curry and spice are the best cures for a cold.

Khitchari

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Basmati rice long grain
  • 1 cup lentils (i use yellow dahl but mung bean dahl is also common)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup of┬ádiced carrots and red capsicum
  • 1 tomato chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves (yes, I add these to lots of things)
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Rinse lentils and rice and put in rice cooker with 5 cups water. Add all vegetables, 1/2 the coriander leaves and spices and stir. Start the rice cooker.
  2. When cooked, serve with the left over coriander leaves and a spoonful of plain yoghurt. Any uneaten portions may be frozen and reheated.

Minimum effort, maximum benefit. Comfort food, my way.

Kiss kiss,

Bubbles