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The Congee Chronicles


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23 hours ago, weinoo said:

@liuzhou do you have congee out in your city?  How is it made?

 

Sure do. It is very popular and although it is often made at home, it is also sold all over the city in restaurants ranging from hole-in-the-wall shacks to classy joints. There are also a number of people selling it from hand carts early in the mornings. That said, it is not only a breakfast item. People eat it at any time. I've even been served it at banquets.

 

Known as (zhōu) or sometimes 稀饭 (xī fàn, literally 'watery rice'), it is most often simply rice boiled in water, although stocks are used in the more upmarket places. It is unsalted and intended to be a neutral background for accompaniments such as pickled vegetables, Chinese sausage, fermented tofu in chilli, dried daikon radissh, bamboo shoots in chilli oil, peanuts, pickled young ginger, pickled celtuce stem, or salted duck eggs. The list is almost endless. And some people prefer just to eat it unadorned (白粥 -  bái zhōu, literally 'white porridge').

 

Meat congees are also popular as are sweet congees. The latter are made from a variety of grains and beans.

 

Here is the menu from one of my favourite places.

 

1440155577_porridgemenu.jpg.44b3ce5c99d0a1cc178493ace49f5359.jpg

Translation:

Congee / Porridge:

Frog congee
Pig 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

 

zhou1.thumb.jpg.f44bb0121a7a39586935f0b956291f51.jpg.ae092218afa711293573ff75b3899ecc.jpg

Home made chicken congee

 

Supermarkets sell premixed grains in various combinations for the sweet congees.

 

272444625_BrownRicePorridge.thumb.jpg.85cb5fc0c145611f603646e9afd4107e.jpg

 

I have to go to one of the larger supermarkets later today. I'll take some more pictures and get details of what's in the mixes.
 

zhou.thumb.jpg.181071a293381730258dc28dccd0ade1.jpg

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Even McDonalds sells congee in China.

 

mcds.jpg

 

These are their breakfast offerings. Left to right: Pickled vegetable, bamboo shoot and chicken congee. (酸菜脆笋鸡肉粥), Century egg and chicken congee. (皮蛋鸡肉粥) and Salted egg yolk and chicken congee.(咸蛋黄鸡丝粥).

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9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Known as (zhōu) or sometimes 稀饭 (xī fàn, literally 'watery rice') is most often simply rice boiled in water, although stocks are used in the more upmarket places. It is unsalted and intended to be a neutral background for accompaniments such as pickled vegetables, Chinese sausage, fermented tofu in chilli, dried daikon radissh, bamboo shoots in chilli oil, peanuts, pickled young ginger, pickled celtuce stem, or salted duck eggs. The list is almost endless. And some people prefer just to eat it unadorned (白粥 -  bái zhōu, literally 'white porridge').

 

Exactly what I thought (and read, of course).  

 

This is just a great topic. Thanks!

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Here are a few congee places near my home. All within comfortable walking distance. The first is a place I used to frequent a lot, but haven't been in a while. No real reason. Just got out of the habit. A very typical, small restaurant.

 

BH1A1028.thumb.jpg.2c48b15fbf6aae56a7eac6854788adcf.jpg

 

The sign on the left hand wall

 

BH1A1027.thumb.jpg.71d8f3cbf20c78b0d9ce4cb796351ec0.jpg

 

reads

 

(fěn) meaning 'rice noodles'

(miàn) meaning 'wheat noodles'

(zhōu) meaning  'congee'

 

the three main items they sell.

 

A bit further along I see this sign on a wall.

 

BH1A1041.thumb.jpg.18640f3375b4406b285689b5d4c31433.jpg

 

百粥 (bǎi zhōu) meaning '(plain) white congee'

玉米粥 (yù mǐ zhōu) meaning 'corn congee'

For obvious reasons I give that a miss.

 

Yet further on is this slightly more upmarket establishment.

 

BH1A1049.thumb.jpg.d945d770ecee495668f744da188f2365.jpg

 

Among its selection is

 

BH1A1044.thumb.jpg.29b3ab247028c02b363daa1915539ac1.jpg

 

皮蛋瘦肉粥 (pí dàn shòu ròu zhōu) or 'century egg and lean pork congee'.

 

BH1A1047.thumb.jpg.e1ff50e0fa358c9fe6630d12812b3897.jpg

 

现煮墨鱼粥 (xiàn zhǔ mò yú zhōu)or 'cuttlefish congee'.

 

BH1A1046.thumb.jpg.2fdf6e5a9eab74608240509493f0aa51.jpg

 

现煮海虾粥 (xiàn zhǔ hǎi xiā zhōu) or 'sea shrimp congee'.

 

Nearby is another small place which only has outdoor seating (not virus related - it has never had indoor facilities except for the kitchen.) Here is the main communal table with all the condiments you could want for your plain congee. Mainly pickled vegetables of various sorts.

BH1A1061.thumb.jpg.958f9dd23c04eb792363b86cc1536e76.jpg

 

Finally, I spotted this is one store I visited.

 

BH1A1056.thumb.jpg.8c510781caca3581f1543498dfa07095.jpg

 

杂粮粥 (zá liáng zhōu) or 'mixed grain congee'.

 

The grains involved are corn, white rice, black rice, and red Japonica rice.

 

Note: Very few Chinese speakers of English know the word 'congee'.  After all, it is neither Chinese or English, but of Indian origin, probably Tamil or Urdu. Most people here simply call it 'porridge' when using English.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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7 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

 

Note: Very few Chinese speakers of English know the word 'congee'.  After all, it is neither Chinese or English, but of Indian origin, probably Tamil or Urdu. Most people here simply call it 'porridge' when using English.

 

Interesting - I had assumed that congee was Cantonese

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Turkey makes good congee. I've often eaten post-Thanksgiving congee made with turkey leftovers (carcass, some of the meat). I'm not sure about all the different pickles, but I really enjoy the pickles (salted cabbage) as a condiment. The pickles might be a little hard to find if you don't have a Chinatown or Asian grocery store in your area. IIRC, cilantro or Chinese parsley is involved as well. (It's been a while since I've had post-Thanksgiving congee.)

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I am not a porridge person but that magnificent array of pickle condiments! I've never been presented with such a bounty when served congee. Calls for warm fresh ricc. The mixed grains are what I see in piles at Korean markets touted as "for health". 

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48 minutes ago, BeeZee said:

this may sound like a dumb question, but is it possible to make a "sort of" congee using already cooked (leftover) rice?

 

Yes. Freshly made is better, of course, but what you suggest is quite common.

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

Yes. Freshly made is better, of course, but what you suggest is quite common.

Well I certainly got my assumptions corrected! Not sure where I got the idea but I always thought it was a way to use up leftover rice. Thanks for the correction. 

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On 10/30/2020 at 9:30 PM, liuzhou said:

Known as (zhōu) or sometimes 稀饭 (xī fàn, literally 'watery rice'),

 

8 hours ago, KennethT said:

Note: Very few Chinese speakers of English know the word 'congee'.  After all, it is neither Chinese or English, but of Indian origin, probably Tamil or Urdu. Most people here simply call it 'porridge' when using English.

 

It's risotto, except thinner.

 

dcarch :B

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5 minutes ago, liuzhou said:


It's nothing like risotto.

 

"------ Risotto (/rɪˈzɒt/, Italian: [riˈzɔtto], from riso meaning "rice")[1] is a northern Italian rice dish cooked with broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetables. -----"

 

I an trying to be funny. So often I fail ^_^

dcarch 

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11 hours ago, KennethT said:

Interesting - I had assumed that congee was Cantonese

 

Here in Hong Kong, "congee" is the English name. It's "juk" in Cantonese. Here's a good article on the origin of the word:

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/2119163/where-word-congee-comes-answer-may-surprise-you

 

 

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O que nao mata engorda.

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The original meaning of congee was the water rice rice had been boiled in, which was used for invalids and as a source of starch. The 'porridge' usage came much later.

 

Quote

conjee, congee Anglo-Ind.

 

(ˈkɒndʒiː)

 

Also conji.

 

[ad. Tamil kañji; in Telugu and Canarese gañji, Malayālam kaṇni, Urdu ganji: of doubtful origin; ‘not Dravidian’ (G. U. Pope). The Eng. form may have been taken through the Portuguese; Garcia 1563 has canje; candgie, canji, cangia are early representations in other European langs.]

 

The water in which rice has been boiled; used as an article of diet for invalids, and as starch.

 

   1698 Fryer Acc. E. India iv. vi. 200 They have‥a great Stone, on which they beat their Cloaths till clean: and if for family-use, starch them with Congee.    1789 Saunders Boutan & Thibet in Phil. Trans. LXXIX. 101 The patient is nourished with congee and other liquids.    1800 J. R. Forster tr. Paolino's Voy. 70 (Y.) Cagni, boiled rice water, which the Europeans call Cangi.    1831 E. J. Trelawny Adv. Younger Son. I. 290 You must not eat! I have ordered the boy to make you some congee.    1833 A. T. Christie Epid. Cholera 35 note, This [i.e. the resemblance of cholera-stools to rice-water] has given rise to the vulgar term for the secretion in India, viz. ‘Conjee-evacuations’.    1869 E. A. Parkes Pract. Hygiene (ed. 3) 227 The rice (or conjee) water contains some albuminous matter.

 

Oxford English Dictionary

 

 

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1 hour ago, MetsFan5 said:

Does the type of rice matter when making congee? This looks like comfort food to me and I’d love to make it. 

 

My family uses short-grain, white rice. Other people can chime in with what they use.

 

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All I know is that at one time when I was having serious stomach issues congee (plain, or maybe with a little sugar) was all I could eat. Even though I recall those days with a shudder, I sometimes crave congee--the plain stuff, with no toppings. Soothing and sits on your stomach quite peacefully. 

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Some more premixed congee ingredients.

 

883818198_.thumb.jpg.0fe54010cb45559d8eec32760e5a282c.jpg

 

冰粥 (bīng zhōu) - Ice Congee. As the name suggests, this is served cold, often with added fruit. popular in Vietnam, too.

 

918786939_.thumb.jpg.8632160addd65d041142716932e3f4c5.jpg

 

核桃红枣莲子粥 (hé táo hóng zǎo lián zi zhōu) - walnut, red jujube and lotus seed congee.

 

1418603879_.thumb.jpg.d6511103a900f7c0479de78f723cb498.jpg

 

绿豆百合粥 (lǜ dòu bǎi hé zhōu) - Green mung bean, lily seed congee.

 

413044921_.thumb.jpg.6f595d23223a8b03b352308616d8fa15.jpg

 

荞麦莲子粥 (qiáo mài lián zi zhōu) - buckwheat and lotus seed congee.

 

2002715495_.thumb.jpg.cd8c2b381c04988acf04d8ea36686377.jpg

 

八宝粥  (bā bǎo zhōu) - Eight treasure congee. This is very popular. The eight treasures vary (and may not even be just eight) but include peanuts,, red jujubes, mung beans, red beans, corn, dried longan, walnut, Job's tears, millet, white kidney beans, lotus seeds and many more.

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