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Congee

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#31 Suzanne F

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Posted 08 September 2003 - 07:27 AM

I'm considering making congee for a group of friends next week. This thread has been a huge help in figuring out what additions to offer. But since I've never made it before -- only eaten it in restaurants -- I have a few questions:
1. If I have sliced fish, it would go in raw, yes? Are there any varieties of fish that are better to use than others?
2. Similar question wrt chicken: goes in raw, assuming shreds or small dice? Or should I pre-cook it?
3. Shredded lettuce: romaine? iceberg?

The only other consideration is that I have to keep the additions kosher. So no pork, no shellfish, no clams. :sad: Any other suggestions would be very much appreciated.

#32 titus wong

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Posted 08 September 2003 - 08:36 AM

Suzanne F:

I can't answer some of your questions authoritatively, partly because congee appears in many different versions with many different ingredients. I tend to think of it as a canvas. You supply the colors and the final result is left to the diner.

I've never had a congee with fresh seafood for example, but somewhere, someone's culture might allow for one. Raw fish and meat seem more likely ingredients for a fire pot (charcoal brazier) dining experience. I'm stretching my memory in order to recall that as a child, we sometimes had canned dace as an item paired with congee but I hesitate to recommend it as it is an acquired taste. I often see dried scallops/dried oysters tossed in for flavoring but your post contraindicates that as a possible ingredient.

As a kid I was infrequently treated to a rich chicken broth-based congee my grandma used to make from scratch, which was quite a treat. I've made congee on a few occasions from leftover roast duck. Flavored with a bit of tomato paste, it was a hit. The meat was already cooked when it went into the pot and the overall dish was none the worse for it. Most congee, however, seems to be simpler in flavor to begin with.

You may wish to concentrate a bit beforehand on getting the texture of your congee to your preference. I've burned congee in the past from carelessness and it's not something that is quickly rectified.

#33 trillium

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Posted 08 September 2003 - 03:42 PM

My favorite version of jook (what I know as rice porridge...probably the Cantonese pronunciation) is indeed made with raw fish. You can get it a many all-night Chinese eating places in the SF, it's a favorite of those who indulge in late night majong sprees that last until the wee hours of the morning. The fish (it should be white, mild, fresh and from the sea (not fresh water)) comes on a little plate with cilantro and scallions strewn over it and dash of sesame oil and some light soya sprinkled on top. I'm guessing what I had was some sort of sea bass. You get your hot bowl of jook and slide the fish into the bowl, stir it around, and voila! Time to eat. The fish is sliced so thin that it cooks instantly. I liked it with plenty of white pepper and red chillies in dark soya as a condiment. The rest of the animal flesh that ends up in jook tends to be cooked along with the rice, flavoring the whole pot, which is sort of the point.

Like I mentioned before, adding glutinous rice flour dissolved in water to the jook right before serving results in a texture that I favor.

One last anecdote, the partner has been known to treat a bowl of oatmeal like jook (soya, chilli and sesame oils, green onions and deep fried shallots). I admit I tend towards the butter and brown sugar camp myself.

regards,
trillium

#34 Shiewie

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Posted 08 September 2003 - 07:51 PM

Hi Suzanne

1. Fish congee - per what trillium says - thin fish slices (seasoned with some sesame oil and soya sauce, if desired). You can have it on a plate for each guest to add in or simply place it at the bottom of a bowl before ladling hot congee on top of it. We've used grass carp (freshwater), sea bass or garoupa. Have cilantro, scallions, julienned ginger, thinly sliced fried shallots, fried minced garlic, garlic / shallot oil, sliced yu tiao, white pepper and soy sauce on the side so that guests can add what they like to the congee.

2. Chicken is poached with some ginger slices and shredded. Use the chicken stock from poaching the chicken to cook the congee. Alternatively the poached chicken can be cut into pieces and arranged on a large platter to share topped with a dressing of soy sauce and sesame oil and some cilantro. Same condiments as in 1 above.

A less elegant more homey version is to cook chicken pieces (and chicken feet too, in our house) with the porridge.

3. Lettuce - iceberg - we usually have iceberg lettuce with fish ball and sea moss (fatt choy) porridge though, not with chicken or fish.

One other thing with cooking congee - I know this seems a bit strange but my mum says that one shouldn't stir congee while it is cooking. Once you stir it, you'll have to keep stirring till it's cooked, otherwise it'll stick to the bottom of the pot. If you need to add water to it, pour in it slowly at the side of the pot. I've tried it and it's true! An easier way is to just pop it in the crockpot and leave it to cook away.

trillium - I also eat my oatmeal savoury like congee and don't like it sweet. :biggrin:

#35 herbacidal

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Posted 08 September 2003 - 10:50 PM

i never used to like the pork and thousand year egg jook when i was a kid. but now i do.

my favorite though is chiu chow jook.

(hey, let's marry the threads!!)

dice green peppers, onions, leftover meats, etc.

stir fried with some spices (now if I could also remember what spices)

throw that into the plain rice porridge.

mmm mmm good.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

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#36 Suzanne F

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 06:33 AM

Shiewie, I was planning on using the crock pot -- I've got a nice 6-quart one. How long to cook, though, and on what setting?

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and made a list of all the items I thought I should offer -- by golly, almost a perfect match with yours! (Not bad for a middle-aged Jewish lady who grew up in Flushing long before the Asians came! :wink: ) I'd love to offer preserved egg, but that's maybe a bit too "exotic" for this bunch.

#37 mudbug

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 07:05 AM

Suzanne,

When we make it, we put about two or three cups of rinsed, uncooked rice in the crockpot, any other desired foodstuffs, and fill to within one to two inches short of the top.

We usually make it the night before so we'll bring it to a boil with the crockpot and then put it on low and leave it that way all night. Ready to eat in the morning!

:)

:smile:

#38 Shiewie

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 07:49 PM

Suzanne, it's just like mudbug says (except we make less, only half cup to one cup of rice). There is an auto setting on our crockpot so we use that and leave it on through the night for at least 8 hours. If there's no auto setting on your crockpot, set it on high till it bubbles (if you use hot water / stock to start with, this takes a shorter time) then turn it down to low. If you find that the jook is too thick the next morning, just add more water/stock until it is the consistency you want.

I love preserved eggs (pei tan) with lots of pickled young ginger slices - but that may be a bit much for the uninitiated.

#39 Jason Perlow

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 08:00 PM

Personally I prefer Japanese-style rice porridge, or zosui, which is more of a soupy-or nabemono type dish.

http://www.bob-an.co...osui/zosui.html
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#40 torakris

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 09:18 PM

Personally I prefer Japanese-style rice porridge, or zosui, which is more of a soupy-or nabemono type dish.

http://www.bob-an.co...osui/zosui.html

Zosui is a wonderful way to finish up the soup and little bits of left over food in the nabe pot!
Unlike congee, zosui is made with rice that is already cooked so it is more of an instant meal, the Japanese dish of okayu is the slow simmered rice dish that is essentially the same as congee.
This okayu is one of the first foods babies in Japan eat, it is also the equivalent of the american chicken soup and is given when sick, it is also the first food you will be given in the hospital after any kind of operation.
Most rice cookers have an okayu setting and lines on the inner bowl to indicate how much water to add.
Some families cook the okayu for the babies right in the rice cooker WITH te rice for the rest of the family, a small rice bowl with a little rice and a lot of water is placed on top of the uncooked rice and water mixer in the rice cooker, when it is done perfect rice and perfect okayu, all done at the same time!

picture and recipe for okayu:

http://www.bob-an.co...gayu/torig.html

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#41 Gary Soup

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Posted 09 September 2003 - 10:10 PM

Zosui is a lot like the pao fan of Jiangnan and parts north in China, which is not surprising since so much of Japanese culture is derivative of China's.

#42 herbacidal

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 10:23 PM

Unlike congee, zosui is made with rice that is already cooked so it is more of an instant meal, the Japanese dish of okayu is the slow simmered rice dish that is essentially the same as congee.

there's yet something else called fan jew in cantonese.

basically, when most of the rice has been taken out of the pot, with some left on the bottom and sides, you put some water in and put on the stove to boil for about 5 minutes. actually, somewhere between boil and simmer, let's say 3/4 strength burner.

my dad eats this every time we have rice, just plain, nothing else in it.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

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#43 Suzanne F

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 07:24 AM

Did congee for my friends last night; described on the Dinner thread. I used 1 cup plain rice and 1/2 cup jasmine, in the 6-quart slow cooker, just water and a little salt and white pepper. I'll have to check back in this thread to figure out what regional style that is (if any). Lots of garnishes to add, nothing particularly "exotic" (no pidan, although I did consider it). Everyone said they enjoyed it -- anyway, they ate well.

Thanks for all the help here. :biggrin:

But one more question: now I've got 3 quarts left over in the fridge; how long does it keep?

Edited by Suzanne F, 17 September 2003 - 07:29 AM.


#44 Shiewie

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Posted 17 September 2003 - 06:53 PM

It should keep for at least a couple of days. You can also freeze it in smaller portions for handy jook meals.

#45 gus_tatory

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 10:29 AM

Suzanne F--that sounds like your guests had a nice meal!
everyone else--thanks for your pointers/terminology/regional variations on congee-like dishes!
:smile:
so... now i feel a cold coming on :angry: and i'm going to make a huge stockpot of chicken soup.

suggestions for cold-beating garnishes? there's already going to be sambal oelek (chili paste), garlic, ginger, etc. in there. i don't mind if it's not 'authentic' to any one cuisine--i just want to beat the cold! :biggrin:

thanks in advance for any answers,
gus
"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."
--Isak Dinesen

#46 Suzanne F

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 02:19 PM

gus -- don't forget the lemon or lime juice! (extra vitamin C). :biggrin:

#47 PCL

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 06:25 AM

A few people have expressed concern over the "To stir or not to stir" issue of the congee.
I generally agree with the fact that constant stirring is tiresome, but can result in a nice smooth texture if carried out properly.

A trick my grandma taught me is to drop a porcelain soup spoon (the ones you get at PROPER Chinese noodle houses) into the pot. What happens is that while the congee/jook/chook bubbles away, it agitates the spoon which then sends mini-shockwaves through the rice gruel, minimising the risk of sticking to the base.

In any case, if there is a skin/casing remaining on the base of the pot, one would do well to scrape it off carefully and serve it with a light dipping sauce (chilli and soy, or whatever) as its pretty tasty stuff. If almost burnt, let it dry and treat like a snack in the kitchen.


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

#48 kOffkOff

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 11:42 AM

Odd that no one's mentioned it, but I think an essential ingredient in congee is pidan, a.k.a. Thousand Year Old Egg.

the english name for pidan is century egg :smile:

Edited by kOffkOff, 20 October 2003 - 11:43 AM.

"A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar."
- Lao-Tzu

#49 herbacidal

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 10:47 PM

Odd that no one's mentioned it, but I think an essential ingredient in congee is pidan, a.k.a. Thousand Year Old Egg.

the english name for pidan is century egg :smile:

where? the only name i've ever seen is thousand year old egg.
century is better, easier to manage, but i just haven't seen it.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

#50 kOffkOff

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 11:01 AM

Odd that no one's mentioned it, but I think an essential ingredient in congee is pidan, a.k.a. Thousand Year Old Egg.

the english name for pidan is century egg :smile:

where? the only name i've ever seen is thousand year old egg.
century is better, easier to manage, but i just haven't seen it.

maybe a case of different naming in different regions. I live in Singapore, and century egg is the only name I've seen though.

just did a search over yahoo, and yeah these 2 names are both used. :biggrin:
my wrong heh

Edited by kOffkOff, 21 October 2003 - 11:05 AM.

"A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar."
- Lao-Tzu

#51 trillium

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 01:45 PM

Just for fun...

regards,
trillium

#52 herbacidal

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 02:17 PM

Just for fun...

regards,
trillium


ding ding ding, we have a winner.

it was a long tough fight. i just couldn't get enough solid hits on him.

then when he hit me with that right uppercut, i just went down for the count.

the winner, in ten rounds, century, by a knockout!!
Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

#53 Gary Soup

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 05:22 PM

Just for fun...

regards,
trillium

Not quite that lopsided .....

Rematch

#54 Ling

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 01:03 AM

My favorite congee is with salted pork, pidan, and dried oysters. And the Chinese fried long donut things on the side, of course! :biggrin:

My second favorite is with the sliced fresh fish, scallion, and ginger mentioned in this thread. My dad makes the best version with fresh sole. It's so delicious.

#55 stephenc

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 10:16 AM

Plain, with pickled cucumbers

#56 kai-chan

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 09:26 AM

Hi,

I like the very smooth HK style chuk/congee. I've has it in restaurants with mixed results. I've found one at the Sweet & Tart Cafe in Flushing, New York to be extremely smooth, savory, and white. Mine is never as smooth no matter how long I cook it and it's always tinged yellow from the chicken stock. I make my own stock and still my chuk isn't as tasty. Does anyone know what the secret is??? I'm working on the ex-head cook who is my friend's father but he's very secretive and refuses to divulge anything. He especially won't give me any pointers on his superlative shrimp dumplings (har gow).....they're the best I have ever had and I've been to dim sum joints on both sides of the coast.

kai-chan

#57 tonkichi

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 03:58 AM

Hi,

      I like the very smooth HK style chuk/congee. I've has it in restaurants with mixed results. I've found one at the Sweet & Tart Cafe in Flushing, New York to be extremely smooth, savory, and white. Mine is never as smooth no matter how long I cook it and it's always tinged yellow from the chicken stock. I make my own stock and still my chuk isn't as tasty. Does anyone know what the secret is??? I'm working on the ex-head cook who is my friend's father but he's very secretive and refuses to divulge anything. He especially won't give me any pointers on his superlative shrimp dumplings (har gow).....they're the best I have ever had and I've been to dim sum joints on both sides of the coast.

kai-chan

I think the secret is chicken fat. The chicken which is quite fatty, is probably cooked separately from the porridge. When the extremely hot congee is poured over it, the fat kind of melt into the congee, imparting the great flavour.

The smoothness is probably from a combination of using new rice, slow cooking, and the fat, again.

Edited by tonkichi, 27 February 2004 - 04:00 AM.


#58 Marco_Polo

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 04:17 AM

Not strictly congee, I know, but growing up, whenever we were sick or a little under the weather, my mother would make a pot of 'rice soup' - nothing more than good sticky Korean rice cooked with enough water to make a soupy gruel. Nothing else, not even salt, certainly not broth. This warm, steamy, bland, delicious bowl of comfort is something I still long for occasionally (and it is never the same if you make it for yourself, I can tell you). The best thing, nay the ONLY thing, to accompany it would be what we called in our household 'Korean hot meat' (it's really changjorim), fiercely hot soy-braised shin of beef, cooked for hours with lots of fresh chilies and toasted sesame seed until the gelatinous meat falls apart in shreds, then allowed to cool so that it forms a cold blend of rillette-like strands of meat and bits of red chili, all fused together in a fiery hot, soya gelatine. A big bowl of steaming hot rice soup topped with some fridge-cold Korean hot meat is one of the simplest and greatest food combinations on earth!

MP

#59 Ben Hong

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 02:13 PM

It's amazing that no one has mentioned ngow yuk jook, or niu rou chou. Thinly sliced tender beef marinated in soy sauce, a small pinch of sugar, sesame oil. Put over boiling hot bowlful of jook, add scallions, shredded iceberg lettuce and white pepper. Yummm.

Jook cooking: 1 to 7 rice to water ratio. I use half long grain and half glutinous rice.
Bring to boil, immediately turn down to low, low simmer. Add nothing, but stir a lot.

Basic comfort: jook with raw salmon slices, scallions, ginger slivers, white pepper, mam nuoc. Or, just mam nuoc, scallions and white pepper.

Fancy dancy toppings: pork tripe; or pork liver; or oysters and/or scallops; the latter is similar to sampan rice.

Speaking of sampans, memories of eating on a gently rocking sampan in the middle of HK harbour, catered to by a boat girl (dang ga nui) who also operated the boat, in the early sixties.......mmmm

#60 Ben Hong

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 02:21 PM

I don't know if anyone here grew up in a pre-revolution village in China. But, one of my favourite food memories was coming home to lunch from school and seeing my mother dig a small crock out of the ashes of the wok lu (stove). That crock held a treasure that I have not enjoyed since those times - thick jook with salt fish and a bit of ginger slowed cooked in the embers of the stove for 3 hours. We called it "doh fut jook" or stove cavity jook.

I miss my Mother.





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