Recovery Food: Gingered Chicken and Mushrooms on Rice

There is nothing – I mean, seriously, nothing – better than a good hearty meal of hot, fluffy rice topped with all sorts of good things just after one has recovered from one illness or another. One can easily do this at home by simply scooping freshly-cooked rice into a large, deep bowl and putting a healthy ladleful of good meat stew or maybe a crisp, beautifully breaded and deep-fried pork chop and brown gravy on top.

However, if the Gestapo – er, those *ahem* nice HR people – get on your case and demand that you haul your backside back to work ASAP, you may be pressed to seek comfort elsewhere. Because I have a habit of fleeing the coop whenever the clock hits high noon, I can always seek consolation in any number of Chinese or Japanese restaurants that serve really good rice bowls.

The rice bowl above is particularly nice and is what I had after the flu a couple of weeks back. This one is from Mongkok and consists of gingered chicken and mushrooms on top of hot white rice. The chicken is braised in its own broth till tender and takes on the flavor of the spices used; in this case, I could detect star anise, a bit of cinnamon, and a touch of black pepper.

There are restaurants that serve variations of this dish that skimp on the mushrooms – and that really gets my goat because I love mushrooms! Thankfully, this particular bowl featured large, wonderfully succulent slices of shiitake mushroom: tender, earthy morsels that lent more savor to the dish.

The ginger in this dish served as both a flavor accent and a garnish. Sharp-tasting, even sinus-clearing, the yellow shreds were evenly scattered atop the rice and added a good counterpoint to the fluffy blandness.

To add any more sauce to this would be like gilding the lily, but I found that a touch of chili oil, kalamansi [native lime], and soy sauce gave it a bit more oomph. A satisfying – and rejuvenating – meal, indeed.