Yesterday was a very lazy day for all of us. Lots of naps and watching videos and watching Germany trounce England in their World Cup match. We were really happy that it was the 4pm game and not the 8:30 match. The cheering, horns, shouts and firecrackers were almost over by bedtime. Though the noise did start up for a bit after the second game ended.
The only constructive thing that I did yesterday, aside from taking the girls for another gelato, was make congee. For those who don’t know, congee is usually made as a rice porridge eaten for breakfast or a light supper. There are many variations from country to country and house to house. When I make congee it is less porridge and more rice stew or thick soup. We usually have it for supper and, like many dishes, eat the leftovers reheated for breakfast.
Stores are not open on Sunday in Berlin, at least not in our neighborhood. I think that I saw online that there is one grocery store somewhere in Berlin open on Sunday, but I have not found it. Restaurants, pubs, attractions, and for some odd reason, florists, are open Sundays but that is about it. None of the usual corner stores to buy milk. That means that Sundays you cook what you have. This can get tricky when you start to get used to picking up food for each day as it comes. Also when you are on vacation and can’t keep track of what day of the week it is.
Yesterday it was a good thing that I never seem to rely on recipes or cooking something the same way twice in a row. That way no one noticed that Sunday world cup congee was any different than any other creation from our kitchen. What it really was, was here what we got, eat it, stores open again tomorrow. Luckily, it was tasty and like most congee, comforting. Perhaps most importantly, finished before game time.
Mince garlic and ginger together. Fry in a bit of olive oil in a large pot. Add sliced tofu or small pieces of meat. When starting to brown, add some sweet soy sauce, sake (I really like the Red Crane brand that I found here – good drinking too), mushroom soy sauce, tiny bit of sesame oil, and crushed chilies or chili paste. Probably a tablespoon or two each of the sake and soy sauces and a teaspoon or two of the oil and chilies. Add some rice. I think around a cup. Cook for a minute then add water. Probably around eight cups and, heaven help me, a package of French onion soup mix. (at home I have boxes of organic mushroom and onion bouillon cubes from Organic Horizons that the Root Cellar orders in especially for me – the closest I could find here was the envelopes of Knorr soup mix) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer about ten minutes. Add chopped vegetables, whatever you have of what tastes good to you. I had chanterelle mushrooms, green onions, broccoli stalks and florets, and chopped potatoes. Cook for another half hour or so until all the vegetables are cooked. Eat as is or add more chilies.
I could tell you that the reason there are no exact measurements is because there are no measuring cups of spoons of scales here. And while that is true,