Rice congee with pan fried fish (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Congee with pan fried fish and lettuce, memories of my mum’s kindness (FODMAP friendly)


(Serves 2 as a FODMAP recipe)

  • 1 cup of medium grain rice
  • 8 cups of water (more or less depending on your preference for the congee’s thickness)
  • 200g white flesh fish, cut into chunks (I used Barramundi, firm and sweet)
  • 1-2 cup of iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste (skip for a FODMAP recipe as it is not tested by Monash University)
  • a drizzle of sesame oil (optional)
  • some green shallot (For a FODMAP option, use the green part only)
  • some cooking oil – for pan frying the fish


  • Place the rice and water in a non-stick saucepan, bring to boil; turn the heat down to simmer, cook for approximately 2 hours or until the rice grains are creamy and smooth, adding more water as desired, stir occasionally.
  • Once the congee is done, turn the heat off, stir the lettuce into the congee
  • Heat up some cooking oil in a frying pan, pan fry the fish until golden brown
  • Serve the congee with fish, top with a drizzle of sesame oil and some green shallot

Memories of my mum’s kindness

My little boy asked me last night: ” what was the kindest thing your mommy did to you?” Somehow, I have been asking myself the same question since my mother passed away a few years ago.

“One time, she let me put my cold feet between her legs to warm up.” I said.

“That wasn’t much at all,” said the little boy. He expected every mother to be kind, loving, caring and demonstrates extraordinary devotion to their children.

“One time, I fell down the stairs, and she force-fed me a bowl of soup made with field mice. The soup was said to have calming effect on children after trauma. The mice were brought from a wandering vendor who skillfully balanced a bunch of long bamboo sticks on his shoulders. He put a cotton bag at one end of a stick, opened the lid, and shook out two field mice. He then smashed the bag on the pebbly ground before handing the bag to the customer. “

“Oh’, said the little boy. “That doesn’t count.”

“Another time, I was very sick, and I couldn’t eat any solid food. My mum cooked me fish and lettuce congee.” I said.

“What happened to you?” My little boy asked.

“I was in second grade at a local primary school. After a basketball game, we ran back to the classroom. A boy fell over me, and we landed on a concrete step. My lips were split, and some of my front teeth collapsed. The school principal took me to the hospital at the back of his push bike. I had an operation and could not eat solid food for days.”

I continued, “my mother tried to claim $10 for medical expenses from that boy’s family. But then she found out the boy’s parents were divorced, and the boy lived with his grandmother. They had no income and could barely come up with a few dollars. My mother told them not to worry about the money after finding out their hardship.”

“That was kind,” my little boy was finally satisfied. “What was the boy’s name?”

“Li Hai 李海, means ocean”. I answered. “He had very bright eyes.” 

I wonder how Li Hai is doing nowadays.

Memories of Chinese school boys
Impression of Li Hai and other primary boys

This afternoon, I cooked some congee for lunch. I pan fried a few small pieces of barramundi and served them on top of the congee. It was very comforting.

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