Serves 4, 1 hour 30 minutes
For the Chili oil
1 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp sichuan chili flakes
2 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 star anise
1 bay leaf
For the Congee
1 whole garlic clove, peeled
1 tbs grated ginger
1 cups Brown rice
8 cups Vegetable or chicken stock
8 Shiitake or portobello mushrooms
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp Chili Oil
For the chili oil – Prepare your spice mix in a ceramic or heat-proof bowl (very important to be careful when dealing with hot oil).
Heat the oil to 190C using a cooking thermometer to test. Then simply (and carefully) pour the hot oil over the spices and stir to mix through.
Once cooled, you can choose to remove the garlic, bay leaf and star anise, or leave them there. The flavour develops with time. The oil is now ready to use or can be kept in a jar.
For the congee – Wash the rice a few times and strain.
In a pot, heat some oil, and fry the garlic and grated ginger till the garlic becomes golden. Add the rice and fry the rice for a couple of minutes, before pouring in the hot stock. Simmer covered for about 45 minutes to an hour. In the meantime, fry the mushrooms in some ghee until the develop a golden colour on either side, about 10 minutes, and season to taste.
When the congee is done, turn off the heat, and leave the rice to rest for a few minutes. Then serve into individual bowls, garnishing with the mushrooms, chili oil, spring onion and an optional soft-boiled egg, lightly pickled in a soy sauce brine.