Illustration by Kelly Waters
Hunks of braised meat mingle with Dungeness crab and a soft-cooked egg for good measure? Hell, yes. This Westlake Rice Porridge is the ultimate salty breakfast dish from Mission Chinese.
Chef Danny Bowien explains:
“The dish is called Westlake Rice Porridge after a traditional soup called Westlake Soup, which is usually a chicken broth soup thickened with egg, kind of like egg drop soup, but with bits of beef or chicken. We use a similar flavor palate, but in the context of a rice porridge, and also add crab for another accent/layer of umami. I like it as a breakfast food. Ideally you’d also have some roasted peanuts and fresh you tiao (Chinese donuts) to go along with it.”
Danny has shared one riff on the soup, whose ingredients change from time to time, though the base is always the same. Mix things up for Sunday brunch.
Rice Porridge With Dungeness Crab, Chicken and Soft-Cooked Egg from Mission Chinese
Time: 1 hour, plus time to brine the chicken
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup jasmine rice
4 to 8 eggs (1 per serving)
4 teaspoons fish sauce, or more to taste
8 ounces fresh lump Dungeness or other crabmeat, picked over for cartilage, for garnish
4 to 8 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, for garnish
1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish
1/4 to 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
4 to 8 teaspoons fried garlic or shallot (available in many Asian supermarkets), for garnish.
1. Rub the chicken with 1/4 cup salt, cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Put the rice in a large dry pot over medium heat and toast, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 16 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium. Vent a lid over the pot: place a wooden chopstick on each side of the top of the pot and then place the lid on the chopsticks. Cook for 45 minutes, then transfer the chicken to a plate to cool. Turn the heat up to high and boil the porridge until the rice grains break down almost completely and the liquid is the consistency of heavy cream, another 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with ice water and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a large pinch of salt, then add the eggs using a strainer basket or spoon. Boil over high heat for 6 minutes and 15 seconds, then transfer the eggs to the ice bath. Once the eggs are cooled, peel and set aside.
4. When the rice porridge is done, take it off the heat. Remove the chicken meat from the bones; discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat and add it to the porridge; season with fish sauce and salt.
5. To serve, ladle the porridge into individual bowls and garnish each portion with an egg, some of the crab, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon scallions and 1 teaspoon fried garlic; the residual heat from the porridge will warm the crab and egg. Serve.