Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
gus_tatory

Congee

Recommended Posts

wesza   

Has there been articles or a book written about all the various different "Ehinic" varieties of the basic "Congee" preperation. It seems to have different consistancy, taste and flavor, even varieties of Rice. Almost every place in Asia it always tastes good, but varies. The side dishes, seem more important to some, while others cook it into the congee, with only side seasonings. In some places there are different "Congees" served in the morning, with different ones served for "night supper".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shiewie   
Oh my, ask a question and receive an embarassment of riches!  Thanks everyone!  I'm really overwhelmed by the thoughtful responses you've all provided.  It's amazing how much I've learned from this forum in a short space of time.  Mudbug has leapt to my rescue whenever a question concerning horticulture or the latin name for a specific vegetable arises with considerate replies and helpful links. Shiewie has turned into my Hokkien grandparent with plenty of advice to relate regarding homestyle Chinese cooking (SW -- I'm still looking for tung choy at my local grocery!).  Gary Soup gently corrects my pinyin.  And thanks Ondine, for piquing my interest of late and for the recipe tip for rou bing,  another dish from my youth not to be found on restaurant menus.  I make a passable rou bing myself, but will give your version a try (I assume minced pork is the same as ground pork).  I still have four xian dan left over from the half-dozen I purchased for making Shiewie's Steamed Triple Egg Custard.

Haha! Me a Hokkien grandparent?!!! :raz::wub::wub:. Thank you for the kind words. Like Ondine, I'm relying on childhood memories, what we eat/cook most of the time and just checking with mum.

Titus, Ondine - How did the triple egg custard turn out?

We usually don't have salted duck eggs (ham tan) or preserved duck eggs (pei tan) on hand so we just steam the egg mixture on it own (jing sui tan).

Another couple of variations to the savoury custard is to steam the egg mixture with sliced "yau char kwai" (yu tiao); or with seasoned minced pork (jue yook jing tan), like Ondine's minced pork steamed with salted duck eggs but with plain eggs instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Titus, Ondine - How did the triple egg custard turn out?

It was great! Next time I think I will double the recipe to feed all hands and maybe drizzle a bit of sesame oil at the end. I used a store-bought bottle of fried garlic (don't hate me) so I think the final dish lacked a bit of oomph. What's your take on the commercially available fried garlic? I'm assume you're clucking your tongue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shiewie   
What's your take on the commercially available fried garlic?  I'm assume you're clucking your tongue.

Don't know - haven't bought any before. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mudbug   

...I've never seen the "tiny red shallots (the size of fat garlic cloves)" that you describe, although I've seen plenty of the commercial variety, usually marketed as deep-fried "red onions" in jars.  Are the smaller shallots available in the U.S...?

Shallots (hawm daeng): The  preferred onions for Thai cooking are red shallots; they are purplish red in color and come smaller than the orangish-brown shallots sold in American markets, which may be substituted. Although larger varieties such as yellow onions are grown in Thailand, most of them are exported and relatively few find their way into Thai dishes. Shallots give a greater depth of flavor when chopped and pounded to make curry and chilli pastes; on the other hand, when eaten raw in salads, they are sweet and mild, leaving much less of a lingering aftertaste or "onion breath." Their size can vary considerably, but because the amount used for most dishes is not critical, make your own rough estimate on how many to use based on the size of the batch you bought (i.e., if they are large and come as a double, count them as two, and so forth). Thai people use red shallots very generously, and like garlic, they are a fundamental ingredient in the cuisine.

For some curries and chilli pastes, shallots are roasted to give a smoky dimension. This may be done by placing them with their skin still on in a very hot toaster oven (450 degrees F.), or in a dry pan over a burner set at medium heat. Cut the root tip off first to keep them from bursting when heated up. Roast until softened all the way through and slightly charred on the outside. This may take 15-20 minutes. When roasting in a dry pan over the stove, turn them frequently. In Thailand, shallots are usually roasted in the charcoal brazier, which adds a much more pronounced smoky flavor.

Shallots are also fried into brown crispy pieces to sprinkle on salads and garnish finished dishes. Fry thin slices in plenty of oil (enough to submerge the pieces) in a wok or small pan until they turn golden brown. Because western shallots contain more moisture than Thai red shallots, they should be fried over low heat for a prolonged period of time (20 minutes or longer) to allow the slices to dry up before they brown. This ensures that the pieces turn crispy after they are drained from the oil and cooled. When fried at high temperatures, the pieces brown quickly but are likely to be soggy and greasy. When crisped properly, the shallot pieces absorb little oil and should not taste greasy. For western shallots, I find that slicing them crosswise into rings tend to produce more evenly crisped shallots than when they are sliced lengthwise.

While frying, you need to stir only occasionally until the pieces begin to turn color, then stir frequently to evenly brown to a rich shade of golden brown. They will shrink to a third or less of their original mass. Drain through a fine wire-mesh strainer balanced over a bowl to catch the remaining oil. Reserve this fragrant oil to add a delicious flavor to your stir-fried dishes. To reduce frying time, shallot slices may be pre-dried in a dehydrator, very low oven, or on a rack in the sun. If making your own crispy fried shallots seems too much trouble, look for pre-packaged products in Asian markets. The pieces should be loose and sound crispy when the container is tapped. A fairly good product now readily available is imported from Malaysia, packed for the Rockman Company, Inc., and is simply labeled "Fried Onion." [Nang Fah (Tue Kung) Brand distributed by V. Thai Food Products is crispy and delicious -- almost as good as fresh-fried shallots.]

Text Copyright © 2000 Kasma Loha-unchit in Dancing Shrimp: Favorite Thai Recipes for Seafood. See pages 68 & 69.

From: Adventures in Thai Cooking & Travel

:smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trillium   

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shiewie   

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:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mudbug   

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:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shiewie   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
torakris   
Personally I prefer Japanese-style rice porridge, or zosui, which is more of a soupy-or nabemono type dish.

http://www.bob-an.com/recipe/dailyjc/basic...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.com/recipe/dailyjc/ref/t...gayu/torig.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shiewie   

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PCL   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kOffkOff   
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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kOffkOff   
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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
    • By liuzhou
      I’m an idiot. It’s official.
       
      A couple of weeks back, on another thread, the subject of celtuce and its leafing tops came up (somewhat off-topic). Someone said that the tops are difficult to find in Asian markets and I replied that I also find the tops difficult to find here in China. Nonsense. They are very easy to find. They just go under a completely different name from the stems – something which had slipped my very slippery mind.
       
      So, here on-topic is some celtuce space.
       
      First, for those who don’t know what celtuce is, let me say it is a variety of lettuce which looks nothing like a lettuce. It is very popular in southern mainland China and Taiwan. It is also known in English as stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. In Chinese it is 莴笋 wō sǔn or 莴苣 wō jù, although the latter can simply mean lettuce of any variety.

      Lactuca sativa var. asparagina is 'celtuce' for the technically minded.
       

       
      Those in the picture are about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and have a maximum diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The stems are usually peeled, sliced and used in various stir fries, although they can also be braised, roasted etc. The taste is somewhere between lettuce and celery, hence the name. The texture is more like the latter.
       
      The leafing tops are, as I said, sold separately and under a completely different name. They are 油麦菜 yóu mài cài.
       

       
      These taste similar to Romaine lettuce and can be eaten raw in salads. In Chinese cuisine,  they are usually briefly stir fried with garlic until they wilt and served as a green vegetable – sometimes with oyster sauce.
       
      If you can find either the stems or leaves in your Asian market, I strongly recommend giving them a try.
    • By Duvel
      “… and so it begins!”
       
      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

    • By Soul_Venom
      The best Chinese food restaurant I have ever been to is a place called the Imperial Buffet in Aberdeen SD. Their General Tso's is unlike the Tso's anywhere else. The closes comparison I could make is the Orange Chicken at the Panda Garden only 3x better. Their Lo-Mein Noodles are done with the skill of a master Italian pasta chef & perfectly seasoned. They also used to do a mean fried squid. I say used to because they had it when I lived in Aberdeen from 02-04 but didn't when I visited in 15'. One of their other discontinued specialties was a dish advertised as 'Golden Fried Cauliflower'. Note, this was NOT a breaded product. The cauliflower was cooked as though it had been boiled perfectly. It was not greasy as I recall but was a golden orange color as was the sauce it was evidently cooked in. I never could identify the flavors in that sauce. I wish I could describe it better but it has been well over a decade since I had it. Is anyone familiar with it or something similar? I can't seem to find anything like it online & all my searches just bring up links to breaded deep-fried crap.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×