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

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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 cooked me a soup with field mice. The soup was said to have calming effect on children after experiencing trauma. There was a wandering vendor balancing a few long bamboo sticks on his shoulder. 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. I was force fed the soup that afternoon.”

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

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

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

“I was eight, second grade in a local primary school. After a basketball game, we ran back to the classroom. A boy fell over me, and we fell 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 that.”

“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.”

IMG_5037 #1
Impression of Li Hai and other primary boys

This afternoon, I cooked coogee for lunch. Rather than breaking up the fish and cooking it in the congee like a stew, I pan fried a few small pieces of barramundi and served them on top of the congee – tasted lovely.

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

Recipe is as follows. A FODMAPs check list is also attached.

(Serves 2+ as a low FODMAP recipe)


  • 2/3 cup of medium grain rice, dry (standard measurement cup)
  • 6 cup of water
  • 200g white flesh fish (I used Australian farmed Barramundi, firm and sweet)
  • 1-2 cup iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • a drizzle of sesame oil (optional)
  • a little green shallot (scallion, green onion), green part only, say 10 g  (optional)
  • a little cooking oil – for cooking the fish


  • I use a rice cooker.  We can also use a pot to cook congee, but it may take a longer.
  • Place rice and water in the rice cooker; cook the rice using the congee setting.  I found that I need to repeat the cooking twice (total 3 times) to achieve the consistency I like.
  • Once the congee is done, stir the lettuce into the congee; bring the congee to boil again (briefly).
  • Cut the fish in smaller pieces; pan fry the fish until golden brown and just cooked.
  • Serve the congee with some fish, a drizzle of sesame oil and some green shallot (I like to saute  the green shallot briefly in very hot oil before serving, optional).

FODMAPs check list

Ingredients Quantity used in this recipe Monash University recommended serving size Implied serving
Rice 2/3 cup dry, equivalent to 2 cup cooked 1 cup 2
Iceberg lettuce 2 cups Only trace amounts of FODMAPs, eat freely n/a
Fish 200g 115 g 2
Sesame oil 1 tsp 1 tbsp. 0.3
Green shallot, scallion 10 g 16 g 0.6

Data last updated on 30 June 2017

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