I was at a New York dinner party a few years ago when someone noted that he thought Singaporeans were "weird" because of their breakfast choices. "They eat noodles for breakfast," he said. "That's WEIRD."
I refrained from saying anything about how, when I first came to the U.S., I had thought that big hunks of steak breaded, deep-fried and served with a massive glop of fatty gravy and eggs were a rather odd choice to start one's day myself.
But hey, I'm a polite person who keeps an open mind. (And besides, having tried it, I'll now happily order chicken fried steak and eggs whenever I see it on a brunch menu.)
And so it was that I was thrilled to see Saveur's "A World of Breakfast" October issue on how different countries and cultures kick off the day. With features devoted to breakfasts filled with "the spicy tang of fresh chile sauce in Indonesia, the briny bite of
plump olives in Turkey, the sweetness of just-picked peaches on a
California farm," the issue aimed to show that "the diversity of breakfast foods prepared around the
world is proof of one thing: that the first bite of the day is also the
Having long been partial to curries and noodles for breakfast myself, I suddenly felt vindicated. And I was elated to hear today that Saveur won a National Magazine Award for "Single-topic issue" for its Breakfast edition.
I've so far managed to stop myself from mailing my copy of the issue to the noodles-for-breakfast-hating friend with the note, "How do you like them apples?"
But I will share this very simple recipe for congee from Saveur's prize-winning issue. It may not be eggs and bacon, but it sure counts in my book as a breakfast of champions.
Versions of congee can be found on breakfast tables all over Asia.
1?2 cup long-grain white rice
1 tsp. kosher salt
Chinese chile oil
1 tbsp. salted dry-roasted peanuts
In a sieve, rinse rice under cold water and let drain. Put rice, 6 cups
water, and salt into a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high
heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally,
partially covered, until the rice takes on the consistency of porridge,
about 1 1?2 hours.
2. Divide porridge between 4 bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of Chinese chile oil peanuts.