Teochew Moey or Teochew Rice Porridge is a meal rarely talked about outside of the Teochew and Hokkien (Fujianese) communities although it forms a large part of their everyday food. The meal consists of plain rice porridge or congee eaten with an array of dishes and condiments. It is very versatile and is served throughout the day. The weight of the meal is dependent on the dishes and condiments the porridge is served with. For breakfast, the porridge is usually eaten with just salted eggs and pickled vegetables. Meatier dishes like Teochew style duck, pork, or tofu cooked in soy sauce together with a variety of pickled and fermented vegetables are the norm for dinner.
Rice porridge or congee have come a long way since it was first eaten. It was served to stretch the rice supply to feed more people in times of famine. Today, this humble food has been elevated to new heights with seafood and other expensive ingredients added to it like this one where I threw in a few dried scallops. And so it is with Teochew Moey, as many hotels in Malaysia and Singapore offer it as part of their breakfast buffet. Do give it a try if you encounter it in your travels.
Teochew restaurants usually offer twenty to thirty dishes and condiments for their Teochew Moey. The favorites are lor ark (braised duck), lor bak (braised pork), lor tau kwa (braised tofu), boey chai (salted mustard stew), kiam nui (salted duck eggs), tau ju (fermented beancurd), sik hu (salt boiled mackerel), and kua’ chai (freshly pickled mustard leaves). Chicken is seldom, if ever served with this porridge. The Hokkien (Fujianese) dishes are different and not as extensive. Some Hokkien favorites are chai por nui (pickled radish omelet), chai por chai tau (fried pickled radish and long beans), and tau cheow kang hu (anchovies cooked in fermented bean paste). Pickles and salted duck eggs are mainstays. The dishes tend to be a little salty (when eaten on its own) to counterpoint the bland rice porridge.
Teochew Moey need not be elaborate. Lots of the condiments come in cans and jars available at the Asian grocery stores. I normally have some of these in my pantry as I like to serve rice porridge for Sunday lunch after church. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook the porridge. Unlike the Cantonese jook which requires longer boiling, plain rice porridge tends to have more of the rice grains intact.
The texture of fresh fermented beancurd is like that of soft cheese. It is salty and is often used as an ingredient in stir-fries and braised dishes.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)