Another week of living off 20 dollars in groceries. Its starting to get really challenging because I wanted to get avocados but I knew I would be over budget. I wanted to get açai puree but I knew I would be over budget. I just had to tell myself “maybe next week.” Oh the temptation! This week I went over by $2.06. Not bad…I think its because of the chicken that I needed for my favorite margarita pasta recipe (will post that next week).
So here is what I bought this week:
Sprouts had an amazing 72 hour sale (Friday-Saturday):
1. Mom’s Best naturals Toasted Cinnamon Squares
2. 1 Gallon of 2% Milk
3. Roma tomatoes (1.29 for a pound)
4. Shredded cheddar cheese (1.30)
5. Grapes (0.88 per pound)
6. Chicken breast (really small portion for 2.83)
7. Pasta (1.50 each!)
Vietnamese market down the street from my place — I usually like buying meats here.
1. 1 pound of pork shoulder (1.99 per lb)
2. Pork neck bone (0.99 per lb)
3. Ginger (I only needed 1-inch of ginger. Don’t recall how much it was per pound but I was only charged 4 cents)
4. Dozen medium eggs (1.19)
5. Preserved duck egg
I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of my grocery shopping trip. But just take my word for it folks.
I’m going post the congee recipe by popular demand. It’s called by many names throughout Asia — Chao (Vietnam), Jook (China), Lugao (Philippines), and more.
Anyways, I grew up eating this dish and I didn’t like it too much growing up. Maybe because my mom made it every week and my dad liked it and that was all he asked for. My boyfriend loves this dish. In fact, he tried to make it and I didn’t like the texture too much–too much rice. Then one night, my friend took me to a Hong Kong cafe in Alhambra. She told me her favorite dish was the rice porridge and I said “eh…really? I’m not too crazy about it because my mom always makes it. My boyfriend loves it and makes it. My boyfriend’s mom makes it too.” Then when the tilapia with preserved egg congee came in, I became a believer. It sounds like an unusual combination but its so good, it’s addicting! I guess it was the creamy texture and the preserved egg that bought me in.
A couple weeks later, I took my boyfriend to the same Hong Kong Cafe in Alhambra and ordered the tilapia with preserved egg congee to show him what it’s all about. He liked it too and I was trying to find out how this congee’s smooth and creamy texture.
After researching, it’s very easy — no blending or breaking rice required. It’s a very forgiving recipe so feel free to change the quantities. Also it’s very cheap to make.
Pork and Preserved Egg Congee
2 cups of rice, rinsed
13 cups of water
1 lb of Pork (1.99 for 1 lb)
1 lb of pork bones (69 cents)
1-inch of ginger (4 cents)
4-6 preserved eggs (1.99)
1. Rinse rice and put rice in a container. Marinate rice with sesame (try other oils too if you don’t have sesame) oil and 1 tbsp of salt. Take your time.
2. In a stew pot of 13 cups of water put in pork, pork bones, and ginger and let it cook all the way through. This will be your pork stock. (Feel free to put chicken or beef stock).
3. After the pork cooks, take out the pork and cut it into small pieces and set it aside for later.
4. In the stew pot, let your pork stock reduce (to however you want). Add more salt to taste.
5. Take out the pork bones and discard.
6. Rinse your marinated rice with water and put it in the stew pot and let the rice cook. Take your time with this one. How the rice becomes so creamy and fine is that when the rice cooks in the stew pot, it pretty much get “overcooked” that it breaks itself. See? No blender needed.
7. After you get your desired texture, you can add more water to make it less sticky.
8. Add back your pork. Add quartered preserved eggs and let it heat up.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Add in green onions (I didn’t have a lot of green onions in my porch, so I used chives too).
Feel free to add soy sauce or fish sauce or some sriracha :-).
Cost of ingredients: $4.71 (does not include rice, oil, salt, ground pepper, green onion).