Rice Congee With Olives

Course : Chinese
Serves: 8
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1 cup long-grain rice
12 cups water
1/2 teaspoon msg -- optional
1 pound chicken bones or pork neck bones (or a bit of each)
1/2 medium roll preserved Chinese turnip -- chopped and rinsed
1 slice fresh ginger root
1 cup Chinese dried olives -- (lam see)
2 large eggs -- beaten - (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 dash freshly-ground white pepper -- or to taste
2 medium green onions -- chopped for garnish

Preparation / Directions:

Put the rice in a 6-quart heavy-lidded saucepan and add the water, optional MSG, bones, preserved turnips and ginger. Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer, covered. Stir often and cook for 2 hours or more until the mixture is thick and fairly smooth. During the last couple of minutes of cooking, add the olives. Remove the bones and ginger slice. Pour the beaten egg over the top of the soup in a thin stream and count to 10. Gently stir in the eggs, thus forming "egg flowers." Mix the sesame oil, vinegar and white pepper together and add to the pot. Garnish with the green onions. This recipe serves 8 to 10. Variations: You can add almost any kind of cooked meat or fish to this. Try any of the following: Abalone -- canned, drained and sliced thin Pork -- chopped, and dried oysters, soaked for 2 hours, drained and chopped a bit; add to the pot during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Chicken -- cooked, chopped Chinese roast duck -- chopped into bite-size pieces. Seafood -- shrimp, scallops, etc. added during the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking. Comments: This is a very warming Chinese soup made by cooking rice until it simply turns to a thick liquid. It is most often served for breakfast and the flavor can be different each time, depending on what kind of meats you add to the soup.

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