Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thai Breakfast Congee


some of you may have already guessed, but the isn't a whole lot happening in the garden lately. the big producer at the moment, and even those numbers have dropped, are the hens. i've got 3 busy kale plants,  6 purple sprouting brocolli (yay!), a box of beetroot, and thats it! so eggs are on the menu, along with some kale i used in this recipe. 
its been a long month for the hens with non stop rain and freezing temperatures. the prolonged daylength and a small rise in temperature has done a world of good for egg numbers. my young pullet at the moment just started laying last week! it feels like spring is actually coming. which is a great
feeling after the shock returning from holidays in thailand. my first order of seeds has arrived and i've already put a few broad bean seeds in the ground.
before the growing season begins, i decided to take the time to repair and finish the fence i started last fall. it's made from pallet wood thats been stained a mahogany colour, with willow branches attached to create a sort of cottagey feel. it looks just about how i imagined it would, which is a relief! all thats left is a gate and possibly a new arbour for vine plants. ill try not to get too carried away!  

the hens out on their first real day of sun in a long time!

finished chicken proofing the veg patch, the willow prevents the hens from hopping over the fence

while visiting thailand last month i was awestruck by the amount of great food being served, everywhere. and by everywhere, i mean it, we never had a bad meal. the flavours were fresh and light, and at the same time wholesome and filling. spices like ginger, chilli, lemongrass, tamarind, galangal, curry, and blackpepper were most prominant. i absolutely loved the use of coconut in the thai curries and soups. one dish that became standard everyday for me was the thai breakfast soup, or congee.

congee is a simple dish of rice, sometimes aptly called 'rice soup,' that can be eaten at everymeal. its a broth filled with soft rice grains which any number of accompaniments can be added. egg and tofu for breakfast, seafood for lunch or pork for supper. there always a bit of coriander sprinkled on top with chopped peanuts, served with a variety of spicy condiments, its a great kick start to a hot morning in thailand, or a cold winters day in ireland!

breakfast on the sea, literally!

my favourite congee was served at a restaraunt called Bamboo Hut on hat yuan beach in koh panghan. they served a heaping bowl with steamed vegetables, tofu, and egg. the setting of the blue green ocean at our feet made everyday feel like a dream come true!

this dish is great for leftover rice. in fact, i like it so much i make sure to make extra rice just so i can eat congee the next day. using left over rice also cuts down on the cooking time in the a.m., when faster is better. speaking of left overs - use any leftovers you have in this recipe. left over chicken, veg, ham, pork, beef - you name it, it will work!

Thai Breakfast Congee
2-3 big portions

1 liter stock
large thumb sized piece of ginger, sliced thinly
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
pinch of chilli flakes
 optional spices: ganalgal, lemon grass and cinnamon

3 cups (1.5 pints) precooked rice
2 poached eggs, see previous post: Perfect Poached Eggs
large handful of kale leaves, chopped
small handful coriander leaves, chopped
left over cooked vegetables (such as carrots, brocolli, cabbage, parsnip..)

to serve (place in small seperate bowls):
fish sauce, Nam Pla
soy sauce
chopped peanuts
chopped green onion
sliced chilli's

  • place 1 liter of stock on the boil with ginger, garlic and desired spices
  • let simmer for around 10 minutes to infuse
  • add your precooked rice, kale leaves and coooked vegetables
  • heat through, and serve topped with a poached egg and chopped coriander
  • add desired condiments to your liking


  1. One of the best things about going abroad on holiday is that you can experience some new food and new ways of eating - and bring some of those ideas back home with you! Unfortunately I am very allergic to leaf coriander, so I have to be very careful with Thai food.
    You have certainly put in a lot of work on that fence of yours. Is the willow alive. I mean, will it grow, and turn into a hedge?

    1. i dont think i could live without coriander in my life! i didn't use live willow for the fence, its been drying out for a year or so. i'dlove to have a living willow fence somewhere. its a great effect in the garden.

  2. Hi Taylor; I love your food photography style! I'm going to do my best to ensure that some other people sse it. Hope you don't mind, but I've quoted a few of your words on my blog today...

    1. Mark! thanks so much for the shout out, it means a lot! its great to get positive feedback from a long time writer/photographer like yourself! its can feel a bit lonely writing a blog, (especially in early the days), you wonder if anyone is listening! haha. thanks again, mark. you made my day

  3. I love how you connected Ireland and Thailand, especially thanks to that pullet of yours :)

    1. thanks audrey! ill pass the 'thank you' down the pecking order for ya.

  4. I love the parallels you drew between Ireland and Thailand. And you made me very hungry...
    - Audrey