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TdeV

Slow cooked congee

22 posts in this topic

I've got some leftover baked duck and I'd like to try to make congee. Preferably I'd like the congee to cook for 24 hours, in my slow cooker which is controlled by a PID temperature controller from Auber Instruments.

Right now the cooker is set for 130F. Should I raise or lower it?

Here's my thoughts about the congee:

4 cups duck stock

4 cups water

1 cup white rice, washed

2 sticks lemograss

An hour or two before serving, add:

1+ cups duck meat

1/2 - 1 cup dried mushrooms which have soaked for 20 minutes

1 Tblsp light soy sauce

Thoughts?


Edited by TdeV (log)

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I can't advise on technique but this sounds absolutely delicious. Please report on how it turns out.

(Btw - thinking - would it be possible to do this in a pressure cooker?)

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Hi Patrick, the duck stock is very dark so it won't make traditional congee—but I don't really know how to make traditional congee either. No idea what a pressure cooker would change.

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Sounds way too low a temperature to me. You need a higher temperature in order to break down the rice and thicken the stock. I have a conventional slow cooker that has 3 settings: high, low, and keep warm. I normally use the low setting for congee but on a couple of occasions I've accidently switched it to 'keep warm' and all I got after hours of cooking was soupy rice.

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I strongly advise against this. The longer rice is cooked, the more starch is released. If you heat congee for too long, you will be eating a bowl of pure starch with no visible rice grains left.

I have been eating congee since I was born, and making congee since I learnt to cook. My typical congee recipe is 10 parts water (and maybe some chicken or pork bone stock) to 1 part rice, simmered until the texture is just right. If I have leftover congee and try to reheat it, water must be added otherwise it is too thick.

(edit) having said that, congee is made differently in different parts of China. Some congees are more akin to a light broth with whole rice grains floating in it. I am Cantonese - our congee is more typical of what you would find in most restaurants in the West - i.e. the congee is opaque, with some thickening from the starch, and a contrast in texture from softened rice grains.


Edited by Keith_W (log)

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

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You have to be very careful using a PC for starchy type of cooking.

Read the PC directions. You may end up repainting the kitchen ceiling.

dcarch

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Last night I raised the temp to 150 F and this morning I've just raised it to 165F. I'm hoping to have it for lunch today (3 hours).

It smells nice but that's the duck stock.

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Definitely. In my experience, today, most Chinese families make congee in pressure cookers.
You have to be very careful using a PC for starchy type of cooking. Read the PC directions. You may end up repainting the kitchen ceiling.

Very curious to hear how this is resolved!

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Definitely. In my experience, today, most Chinese families make congee in pressure cookers.
You have to be very careful using a PC for starchy type of cooking. Read the PC directions. You may end up repainting the kitchen ceiling.

Very curious to hear how this is resolved!

Very simple solution:

Use a separate container inside the PC. Essentially you are steaming inside the PC, what is inside the container never boils.

dcarch

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I added a pinch of salt, some Maggi seasoning and some chopped green onions.

Delish!

The dish was cooked at 130 F for 5 hours, 140 F for 3 hours, 150 F for 10 and 160 F for 4.

Next time I might try 150 F for 20 hours and 160 F for 4 hours.

Do you think it would be too much to cook it at 160 F for 24 hours?

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Glad it came out fine.

Nevertheless, I would go along with what Keith_W said. I, too, am Cantonese and I would expect my congee ("jook"; 粥) to look like what he described. The "watery" version with separate rice grains floating in it is typical of Teochew (Chiu Chow; 潮州) "jook", amongst others. I normally start with a 1:8 ratio of uncooked rice to liquid and add more as needed. And, yes, I definitely concur with his comments about "overcooked" congee becoming just a pot of paste with no texture; as well as having to add more water when reheating leftovers. I would say it is not possible to reheat it *without* adding more water if one wishes to get a decent congee.

Is there a reason why you wish to cook it so slowly for such a long time? If done on the stove top it takes just 1 to 1 1/2 hours to get a nice congee with nice texture.

One variation I sometimes do is to sauté LOTS of finely julienned fresh ginger and maybe just a wee bit of smashed garlic till the ginger is just beginning to brown, add cut-up short-cut (against the bone) pork spare ribs with plus sea salt to taste, sauté until the mixture has lots of fond,* then add water/stock (8-10 parts) and simmer for maybe 1/2 hour or so. Raw rice** (1 part) is then added and the mixture stirred and simmered for somewhere between 1/2 to 1 hour more, depending on my mood and texture desire that day. Typically I would eat a bowl of this with chopped green onions, cilantro, "Tung Choy" (Tianjin preserved vegetables) and fried (browned, crispy) sliced shallots.

* Sometimes I add in other stuff as well - e.g. "Ja Choy" (Preserved mustard stems; 榨菜) (Google it). It gets sautéed here with the meat. I think this would go well with shredded duck meat too. Preserved turnip is another addition that might be made.

** I tend to use long-grain (Basmati, even) rice for congee. I find that short-grain stuff gives too thick and gummy a result.


Edited by huiray (log)

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Huiray, I really, really like slow cookers and sous vide because I can put something in the pot and then walk away, so that's why the long cook time. The version of congee I had today had every rice kernel expanded like miniature popcorn, but whole. The soup liquid had a little thickness to it but it was largely clear. I'm thinking that's what congee is supposed to look like?

Many of these items you've listed are new to me—I see I shall have to spend some time in the Asian markets!

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TdeV, what you describe is closer to Teochew congee (except the rice grains would generally not be expanded like popcorn). Most versions of congee that I would expect would tend to have the liquid part definitely opaque/semi-opaque, with a fair bit to considerable body, for my taste anyway.

Here's a pic of a batch of that pork spare rib congee I described above, from a few months back. (Cropped from a bigger picture, so less resolution than I would like). Also, a pic of that "Tung Choy" I mentioned, at higher resolution.

DSCN6407b_Chook.jpg

DSCN6403a_TungChoy_1k.jpg


Edited by huiray (log)

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Huiray, it looks scrumptious! I see I have much research and testing to do . . . :biggrin:

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Here is the congee menu pasted to the wall of my local breakfast shack.

Congee_menu.jpg

from top to bottom:

Congee:

Frog congee

Pork offal congee

Fish congee

Beef congee

Chicken congee

Preserved egg and lean pork congee

Lean pork and leaf mustard congee

Rice field eel congee

Sweet congees

Mung bean congee

Eight treasure congee

Peanut, silver ear fungus, jujube and mung bean congee


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Heh.

That "Rice field eel congee" is interesting. :-)

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Never took that long to cook jook before, and don't really understand the logic to it. I put the rice, stock, pork bones or duck or chicken carcasses and slivered ginger into the crock pot on High in the morning - 9 am...and it's ready for lunch. On the side, we have diced century eggs, spicy preserved radish, dry shredded pork, cilantro, fuyu, deep fried Chinese donuts, and whatever else anyone can dig up in the fridge.

Last weekend, I got my Chinese grocer to pick up a BBQ duck for me. Because I bought SO much, he gave me a quart of duck sauce (the stuff from the BBQ duck cavities. My Caucasian s-i-l was in heaven...drizzled a few tbsp onto his jook...

But I would be interested if someone can do a comparison with 3 hour congee to 24 hour congee...Is it worth the wait? :unsure:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Sorry, Dejah, as I've no idea what anyone else's congee tastes like!

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Why over-complicate things? Is there a problem you're trying to solve by cooking it for so long at a lower temperature? Just cook it at a medium simmer for an hour or so.

I'm vegetarian, so usually make my rice porridge pretty plain, but my MIL likes cooking dried scallops (very expensive by weight, but they're light, and you don't need a lot) in her porridge, which would be another way to add more savory flavor. I wouldn't add soy sauce or salt during cooking, only when serving. Small slices of frozen or rehydrated dry doufu skin added at the beginning will break down and add a nice texture to plain porridge (trick a friend taught me).

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It's an interesting method, but it seems like a lot of work for something that should be relatively straightforward.

I agree with Keith and huiray above. When I make congee, I do 9-10 cups water or stock to 1 cup rice and let that cook from 1 1/2 to 2 hours over low heat. Works fine for me.

My congee tends to be plain unless I am doing something like monkfish congee. Toppings are a different story though -- Sichuan preserved turnip with chiles, crispy fried garlic or shallots, gomashio, chopped hard-cooked farm eggs, ginger-scallion paste, minced shrimp with bitter melon and black beans, fried shrimp paste (bagoong) with lots of garlic, or shredded ginger and white pepper -- have all appeared at one point or another.


Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)

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