'porridge' on Serious Eats

Sunday Brunch: Empty Fridge Congee

After the holiday season, cupboards run bare, and stomachs become sensitive. There is one dish that overcomes the first problem while beginning to alleviate the second—congee. It's a rice porridge that can be very complex, or very simple. Which means that whatever you've got lying around, you can make into a very soothing bowl of congee. More

Lunch for One: Porridge Set at Cha An

For lunch today, winter commands "Set A" from Cha-An, a $16 prix fixe centered around one cozy bowl of porridge. It's a 15-grain rice porridge, and includes (among many other grains) red and brown rice, buckwheat, barley, and millet. It's the sort of dish you want after a hectic day or when you feed a need to revive your health. More

Behold, The Spon: A Double Backed Spoon

Each year the winner of the World Porridge Making Championship takes home the Golden Spurtle Trophy—the spurtle being a a rod-like kitchen tool from Scotland used to stir oatmeal while it cooks—but this year's winner didn't spurtle his way to victory. The 2010 champion Neal Robertson attributed his perfect porridge to the water from the hills above Auchtermuchty, Scotland, where he runs The Tannochbrae Tearoom, and his use of a Spon instead of the traditional spurtle. More

Cooking the Perfect Pot of Asian Porridge

"When life gives you bad rice, make porridge." [Photographs: Chichi Wang] Quiet dinners at home usually begin with my rice cooker. Using the plastic measuring cup that comes with the cooker, I scoop out exactly one cup, fill the basin to the requisite water level, and the all-important matter of having perfectly cooked rice to accompany my meal is done. Except this time around, I couldn't locate the measuring cup. I rifled through my cabinets and found, among other choice items, ten different types of flours (when was the last time I used that bag of fava bean flour?), five separate bags of glutinous rice, and several cans of coconut milk strewn about, each purchased absentmindedly for fear of running... More

2010 Trend Prediction: Fancy Oatmeal

©iStockphoto.com/ burwellphotography I was pretty giddy to read the Guardian declare that "we're currently in the midst of a porridge renaissance...everyone from McDonald's to Michelin-starred restaurants serving it." If 2010 is the year of porridge (or oatmeal, breakfast goop, whatever you want to call it) then shoot, let's get this party started. Thanks to Robyn, for Christmas I got the soon-to-be-most-vogue accessory: a spurtle. Yes, it's basically just a wooden wand (fine, a stick) but it's the official stirring device, particularly in the UK. At the end of the Guardian piece, the writer described her idea of a perfect bowl: Place a quarter of a cup of unsoaked McCann's steel cut oats in a pan with one cup of... More

The Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in Scotland

A spurtle. [Photograph: etsy.com] Of all the thingamajigs floating around in drawers, the spurtle might be the coolest. The wooden stick is something of a magic wand for porridge—it's engineered to prevent the lumping and congealing of mushy hot cereals. On October 11, expert porridge makers from far and wide will compete for the coveted golden spurtle trophy at the sixteenth annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in Carrbridge, a village in the Scottish Highlands. This year, Matt Cox of Bob’s Red Mill—the first and only U.S. participant—will compete with his oatmeal brûlée topped with pears, cherries, hazelnuts and distilled spirits, stirred with a custom-made Myrtle spurtle (naturally). Part of me still wants a spurtle to be an... More

Gruel, the Real Deal

Photograph from matsuyuki on Flickr "Please, sir, can I have some more?" You know the line even if you haven't read Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist. But did you ever wonder if a bowl of gruel was worth asking for seconds, as the title character did? Well, members of The Royal Society of Chemistry in London followed their curiosity, and, based on an array of Victorian-era recipes, replicated what they supposed gruel would taste like. The BBC asked some brave samplers what they thought of the concoction. But the slushy gruel, containing oats, water, milk and onion, got a mixed response from tasters."It's extremely bland," said Jennifer Gilson, a retired scientist. "There's no flavour at all without the onion."But... More

Snapshots from Asia: Jook

Photographs by Shimin Wong Most of us think of comfort food as fat food: creamy risottos and pastas, hearty stews, buttery mashed potatoes, mayo sandwiches, hot chocolate, cheesecake, hot fudge sundaes. In Asia, there are a host of dishes people make a beeline for when they get off a plane, return from grueling military training, or when they've had a rotten day—dishes I affectionately call "a highway to a heart attack." (A straw poll will likely turn up "lard" and wok hei or "wok's breath—the essence imparted by a hot wok to food"—as determining factors in succor-level.) One would imagine the ultimate comfort food to be riddled with saturated fat and swimming in carcinogens then. Interestingly, this granddaddy of... More

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