Cooking Class: Luxurious and Nutritious Congee with Kiki Aranita

Cooking Class: Luxurious and Nutritious Congee with Kiki Aranita


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Congee is a rice porridge of many names and almost as many variations. It can be humble or luxurious. It is, in essence, rice cooked in copious amounts of liquid, be it water or broth and it is the most comforting of all Asian comfort dishes. In the Philippines, spiked with calamansi and patis, it is Arroz Caldo or hot rice. In Vietnamese, it is Chao. Congee possesses the reputation of being a poor man’s dish and a sick man’s cure. There is a Cantonese saying, “Hui sik jook,” which translates to “going to eat congee” which is a euphemism for being broke. “I’m poor, I can’t go out, so I’ll just head home and hui sik jook.” Join this hands-on cooking class to learn to make your own congee from scratch.

Together we will make Red Rice Congee, based on a homestyle recipe from a multicultural Hong Kong household. Congee can be a luxurious dish, served at high-end restaurants for celebrations or to culminate a meal of dim sum in Hong Kong as well as a staple of frugal home kitchens across Asia, using up leftover fillings from making wontons or spring rolls. Often served for breakfast, Congee is also part of Hong Kong barbeque restaurant menus. We will even learn some old traditional legends about ghosts as we cook!

Led by chef, restaurateur, and expert on Asian cuisine, Kiki Aranita, this interactive seminar will explore Congee, a basic dish with many roles in Asian cuisine. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how to prepare your own Congee at home and how it is eaten around the world.

Below are the items you’ll want to participate in this class. We will email attendees the full recipe with measurements and instructions prior to the class so that you can pre-measure ingredients before joining.

  • Chicken stock (1 quart, more if you like runnier congee). Substitute: any bone broth or mushroom-based broth
  • 2 cups cooked, leftover red rice
  • Peeled ginger root (about an inch or 2)
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Pork floss
  • 1000 year egg, salted duck egg or 7-minute chicken egg
  • Chinese cruller/you tiao
  • Cook time: 2-3 hours, with a crockpot, rice cooker, or non-stick pot on the stove, turned on as low as possible

Kiki Aranita is co-chef and owner of Poi Dog, a restaurant and catering company that closed its Rittenhouse location in July 2020 but served Hawaii’s local food to Philadelphians for seven years and now makes sauces. In addition to running a busy fast-casual storefront, she has catered many large-scale weddings, events, and fundraisers in Philadelphia and around the U.S. For years, her goals involved celebrating the underrepresented cuisines of multicultural origins as well as seeking to minimize food waste. She is a writer who has contributed food writing and narratives to Edible Philly, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Food and Wine, Roads and Kingdoms, and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, as well as recipes to Munchies Vice and many other publications and platforms. She has created content and recipe-driven videos for companies such as La Colombe, Philadelphia Magazine, and Vitamix.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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