Anyone who follows Mei Lin on Instagram (If you don’t, go here and start), knows that she is cooking some amazing comfort food right now, like cheddar-scallion biscuits, mapo tofu and scallion pancakes. Even better is that she’s posting the recipes and techniques in her Instagram stories. So we asked her to join us on our Instagram Live to share how to make her favorite comfort food: congee.
The chef behind Nightshade won Top Chef a few years back on the strength of her congee and also serves an outstanding version at her hit Los Angeles restaurant. It’s a food she grew up eating and is actually really simple. It’s a porridge made from rice that you cook extra-long to start breaking down the grains to create a creamier texture. The congee becomes a blank canvas to layer flavors on top and then stir into the bowl. It’s especially great right now because you can top the dish with whatever ingredients you have at home that you think will work well together. Have some leftover roast chicken? Shred that up and add it to the congee along with scallions, your favorite hot sauce and a poached egg and you’re got a great meal.
In this episode of Robb Report’s Culinary School Lin shows how you can transform that carton of takeout rice in your fridge into a restaurant-quality dish.
Odds and Ends and Additional Links
- When Nightshade opened last January, it took home our Best of the Best award for top debut restaurant. Lin’s Bloomin Onion was also one of the best dishes our restaurants editor ate all year.
- In the video, Lin showed off her XO sauce she calls Umamei. Last year she made a limited number of bottles available through Now Serving, LA’s beloved food-focused bookstore. She’s preparing a new batch that you’ll be able to buy soon.
- One of the most popular dishes Lin has made while we’ve all been sheltering in place in LA has been her scallion pancake. You can watch all the steps here to make it at home.
- Nightshade briefly did takeout at the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdown and may restart again. For the time being, you can support the Nightshade staff by donating to their Employee Relief Fund.
- Before her restaurant opened, Lin was a dining correspondent for Robb Report, writing travel guides to some of her favorite cities.