The white part of a Japanese leek, green onion, etc.
a small amount
These are all the ingredients. The dried scallops won't get soft very fast, so soak them in water the day before. We'll use the soaking water too.
Put the dried scallops in a generous amount of water with a little sake added to rehydrate. The next morning, they'll be amazingly tender. Shred them by hand.
By the way, the dried scallops sold in the Chinese ingredient section are expensive, so buy the small, cheaper snacking ones sold in the drinking snacks section of your supermarket. Use more of them if they are very small.
The chicken breast will be shredded later, so just cut it up roughly.
Bring 2300 ml of water to a boil and add 5 tablespoons of sake and bits of leek or onion. With the water still boiling fast over high heat, add the chicken.
Scum will come out of the chicken. Skim it off cleanly, and turn the heat down to low.
Add the uncrushed half clove of garlic to the pan. You won't taste the garlic if you use it like this. Cover with a lid.
Leave the pan covered over low heat for a while. Rinse the rice well and drain in a colander or sieve. When it starts to dry add the sesame oil and mix.
As you cook the rice, the oil will emulsify and you'll get the unique flavor of Chinese style porridge.
The chicken should be cooked through. Take out the bits of leek or green onion and the chicken. Shred the chicken with your hands and put it back in the pan. Leave the garlic clove in.
Turn the heat back up to high. Add the rice and the scallops along with the soaking liquid. ♪ If the heat is too low here, the rice will stick to the pan. Skim off the scum again and turn the heat back down to low.
Partially cover with a lid, leaving a little gap. Simmer over low heat for a while.
When the rice is cooked and looks good, season with a little salt. Add the zha cai. The zha cai is important! Don't leave it out. Simmer for a while more.
Done! Sprinke with some green onion or leek to taste. The more you add the better I think.
If you like samgyetang (a Korean soup), you'll probably like this too. But you can make it in a much shorter time than samgyetang. Basically you're just making porridge.
Addendum. About the zha cai - you may or may not like it, so try adding just a bit first...and adding more to your bowl to taste.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to eat something piping hot, mild and yummy. And, I found a packet of dried scallops from the depths of the freezer! It'll be very hot, so make sure to blow on it before you eat it up! If you have cold, eat your fill of this warming porridge and go to bed.
You don't want the meat to become garlic flavored. You're just using it to eliminate the gamy flavor of chicken. The finer you cut the garlic pieces, the more it will smell like garlic. You can get all kinds of flavors from it, depending on the way you slice it up. So try it in different ways in various dishes.