Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rabbit and Mung Bean Congee (Viet Dish)

Before I was a vegetarian, approx. three years ago, I was in Vietnam one summer and my cousin and I dropped by a local congee/rice porridge street vendor and ordered some rabbit and mung bean congee. Since I had been a fan of gamey meats, the rabbit was right up my alley. The restaurant served piping hot congee topped with mung beans, minced rabbit meat, scallions and a vegetable that I cannot find here nor know what it is called. It is similar taro stems, an ingredient used to make the delicious Vietnamese Spicy and Sour Soup. Since I did not have that particular ingredient, I omitted it in my version of the dish.
The rabbit was purchased at a Chinese supermarket, frozen and creepy looking as heck. Thawed and unpackaged, it looked even worst hahaha! This was my first time ever cooking with rabbit so it was a little nervous but the thing was dead, so whatever hahaha. (God I am a bad vegetarian...)
Instead of mincing the meat like the street vendor did, I chopped the bunny up and seasoned it slightly before adding it to a pot of water to create a Bugs Bunny stock. I had toasted some rice in my conventional oven before adding it to the boiling pot to slowly cook and break down.
Mung beans are amazing and these little green pellets were given as a gift to me on my last trip to Vietnam. Mung beans are so versatile as an ingredient. They are used to make savory and sweet dishes as well as bean sprouts, providing a good source of fiber and protein.  I placed 1 1/2 cup into my slow cooker the night before so that they would be nice and tender the next day. As soon as the rice cooked down and the soup was getting thicker because of the starch, I drained the cooked mung beans and added them to the pot.
Served piping hot with sliced scallions and fresh ground black pepper.

Silly Rabbit...
Mung Beans (photo from the web)



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