Sunday, January 27, 2013

Goto Kind of Day

It’s a goto kind of day. By that I mean I’m indoors. Let me further qualify that. Apart from the occasional heavy lifting (move the washing machine on higher ground and keep it above water, for example) it’s the sort of day you’re stuck in the house. It’s an opportune time to get back into blogging. It’s nearly 10 months since my last post after all.

Queensland is experiencing another major summer storm right this very moment. It been raining non-stop for a week now. People are on the edge but hopeful the events of 2011 won’t be repeated.  We’re pretty blessed to be near the top of the hill but still a sudden surge of water causes our basement to flood.

Goto is the Tagalog word for tripe. It is also the street name for the Pinoy tripe congee (rice porridge with tripe). It’s perfect for a day like today...for me anyway.

I realise that not everyone is a fan of tripe. It’s probably safe to assume that there are lots more haters than lovers of this divisive ingredient. It’s synonymous to rubbish in the English language for a reason.

No matter how much you try tripe is tripe. It will never taste like chicken. But everybody loves chicken. To get around the dilemma of being the solo tripe lover in my household I make a chicken arroz caldo (chicken rice porridge) as a base for my goto. The goto then becomes more like a side dish/a topping/a condiment rather than being the main event....everybody happy.

The recipe below is basically how to make chicken congee and a side dish of tripe.

There are at least 3 types of tripe I’m aware of. There’s the ‘honeycomb’, the ‘towel’ and the ‘book’ descriptive of how they each look like. Be mindful of what you buy as it would determine how long you’re going to cook it for. I used the ‘towel’ for this dish. It’s meatier than the ‘book’ and texturally better than the ‘honeycomb’.

I highly recommend using a pressure cooker (for the tripe – to at least halve the cooking time) and a thick based pot (for the porridge – to avoid sticking to the bottom) for this dish.

I usually make my congee as basic as possible. I allow the diner to finish the dish by dressing it up to suit his/her taste. Apart from goto there are plenty of other additions to the Pinoy congee:
Tokwa’t baboy (deep fried tofu and pork)
Chicharon (deep fried pork rind)
Egg (hard boiled or soft boiled or even fresh)
Century egg
Spring onions
Cooked garlic in oil
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
White pepper/black pepper
And a lot more…

The possibilities are limitless (almost).

Chicken Congee ala Beancounter
2 cups of jasmine rice
1 teaspoon salt
Slivers of ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 medium sized onion chopped
1 dozen chicken wingettes
Peanut oil
At least 6 cups of Chicken stock (more if you want thinner congee)
1. First wash the rice. Mix in the salt and about 1 tablespoon of oil after washing. Straing to get rid of excess water. From experience this helps in breaking down the rice quicker to reach my preferred consistency.
2. In a large stockpot with a thick base (this prevents the rice from sticking and burning quickly) heat up a bit of oil.
3. Sauté the ginger first then the garlic and then the onion.
4. Add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes.
5. Add the rice and stir continuously for about 2 minutes. (If the base of your pot is not thick enough the rice will be sticking to the bottom like crazy. So invest in good pots and pans.)
6. Add half the stock. You’ll notice that as the rice cooks it will absorb the stock. You’ll need to keep adding more stock to achieve the consistency that you like. The rice will soon have enough and will start breaking down. I like my congee almost soup like not overcooked rice. There’s nothing worse than congee with still recognisable rice grains
7. Serve steaming hot with your preferred condiments and the goto of course!

500g tripe (towel/blanket)
Slivers of ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 medium sized onion chopped
Black pepper to taste
Fish sauce to taste
Peanut oil
1. Heat up a bit of oil using a a pressure cooker.
2. Sauté the ginger first then the garlic and then the onion.
3. Add the tripe and cook for a couple of minutes. Add fish sauce and black pepper to taste.
4. Add just enough water to cover the tripe. Pressure cook for about half an hour.
5. Set aside while you finish off cooking the congee.