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Traditional Common Breakfast from Jiangsu
Here's a breakfast I had every day living in a Chinese family's home in Jiangsu:
Zhou - rice porridge. Take last nights rice or put some uncooked rice into a rice cooker. Add about double the water you would usually use to cook your rice. If it's already cooked, just add a few cupfulls. Turn on the rice cooker. Make sure it doesn't boil over, as it's more prone to while cooking zhou.
Xian ya dan - salted duck egg
Jia (zha?) cai - pickled vegetables
Pour the zhou into a bowl. Add the salted duck egg. Sometimes the hardened yolk is yellow, sometimes greenish or blackish. All are normal and edible if the egg has been stored properly and smells good. I like to stir in the yolk instead of eating it whole; if you stir, it will soften and make the zhou creamy.
Add in a packet of jia cai. I like the spicy one with mushrooms.
Viola! A Chinese breakfast. It takes some getting used to, but after a while I liked it better than cereal.
Subsitutions: I'm a little health conscious, so I often substituted the whites of two duck eggs for the yolk.
Also, instead of jia cai which is very salty, skin and chop up a cucumber. Put it into vinegar. Add a little soy sauce and some sesame seeds, and pepper if you like.
Tips: There are many ways to peel a salted duck egg. A friend of mine cracks one end and digs it out with chopsticks. I like to break it in half and scoop out both sides with my thumbs. A little messy, but less time consuming. Taking off the shell bit by bit takes too long though.
They're often cheaper if you buy individually for some reason.
You can find jia cai in any vegetable market or grocery. They'll come in small packs 3 for 1 kuai or a big pack for around 2 to 4 kuai. You can also buy it from the big pickle vats, but I don't like the smell, taste, or texture of those. To each their own.