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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Doing Porridge, for Dad

My Dad was right all along. At least, on one thing. Porridge is what to have for breakfast.
Have you noticed the papers are saying "Porridge is the new power breakfast"?
That writer said the poshest stuff was at The Providers. Ah, a Kiwi chef ... Peter Gordon.

One of the best porridges I had was at what was called The Swiss Chalet, a small boutique restaurant/hotel at Arthurs Pass. This is a small village in the mountains of the South Island. There the porridge was cooked by the Swiss owner and served with cream. Yum.
It looks like the place has changed its name to Arthurs Hotel.

Dad's porridge was a little simpler, and he called it "Pongers." Was he right about the simple too? We were allowed to stir it ... but only if we were good. It was served with brown sugar and milk. Sometimes we would steal the cream off the top of the milk. Good old milk bottles. Cooked rhubarb was a special addition.

Feel like a healthy start to the day? Then check How to Make the Perfect Porridge, from The Guardian. I am sticking to Dad's recipe though.

On a similar track, yesterday Angay was coughing a lot. So Ugyen cooked up a rice-porridge dish for her. This is one of the Bhutanese comfort foods. Here is how she makes it...
Bhutanese Rice Porridge
(Possibly called Tukpa, but Angay and Ugyen were not sure)
1 small cup of rice
Water (enough to cover the rice by about 5 cm)
3 Tb butter
Chilli powder (to taste)
Big handful of grated cheese
Knob of fresh ginger, ground
Salt and pepper

Boil the rice (with water!) in a pressure cooker for 5 whistles. This is how they time things in Bhutan. Take the lid off and check for consistency. Add more water if needed, continuing to cook with the lid off. When it is right (it looks like congee) add the butter, chilli, cheese and ginger. Season to taste.

Here is something similar from Britten's NY Times blog – Jook, a Chinese rice porridge.

Dad loved beetroot too. So I noticed this Chinese beet recipe. You will need the recipe for Chile Orange Oil "China Moon" or Tropp Goop.

Dad never did blend beetroot and porridge together though. The worst porridge I ever saw was made by a tramper in the mountains. He was wanting to save time, so cooked his saveloys in the porridge. Now that looked like bloody, fatty congee. Perhaps that was Peter Gordon, in his early years, attempting fusion cooking for the first time.

Eat your oats, and this is what you might produce...

Thanks, Lad!

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