October 10, 2014

Sibu Tales : Porridge

Porridge is a favourite food of the Foochows.

Here are 10 things you might like to know the associated thoughts regarding Foochow porridge

In the past :
1) Those who wanted to stretch their budget further, they would have porridge every meal.
2) Those who believed in having a light meal in the evening, they would prepare a simple porridge, accompanied by one or two condiments.
3) My uncle who was very frugal would use broken rice to cook porridge and good rice for afternoon meal.
4) Porridge was for the sick.
5) Porridge was for those who have become toothless
6) Porridge was a Foochow breakfast

A clay pot is more appropriate but I was thinking of the urgency of making this porridge because we were short of time. So I use this Indian mini kuali, or metal serving bowl.

7) Porridge was never eaten by a woman who is doing her 30 days confinement after birth.
8) A very thin or watery porridge was good for fever, to get over anxiety, and when one extremely sad. It was also an antidote for lack of appetite.
9) Porridge with lots of ginger juice could cure a stomach upset or even diarrhea.
10) Giving porridge to a step child was a bad act of a step mother while her own children ate good rice.

And an egg in the middle of the bowl of porridge showed love and hospitality!!

And these are some of the other more "expensive" porridge combination for the Foochows for various applications:
1) porridge with tapah, white pomfret, haruan
2) porridge with red dates, goiji, mushrooms for good eye sight
3) porridge with meat floss
4) porridge with dong gui,dried black and white fungi and ginseng (for energy)
5) porridge with a pair of doves (for great health and recuperation)

Lou pah juk ( swallow porridge) is a Foochow metaphor for a sad life situation, or to indicate poor financial situation.

Today, whenever I cook porridge I would make it in many different creative ways. This photo shows a  porridge which is full of goodness, two or three kinds of vegetables like pumpkin, winter melon, some meat stock, slivers of fish and lots of onions. The egg in the middle is love and kindness, warm hospitality and life giving!!



Anonymous said...

I think porridge or congee is more Teochew than Foochow. Congee are not for the poor nowadays, Things like salted fish, salted egss, ect are very pricey nowadays.

Ensurai said...

What you say is true. In many places good rice is also not affordable!! In Sarawak, 100 kg of good hill rice is now 350 ringgit, and may be more. thanks for your comment.

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