Chinese Rice Congee

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Jellybeans
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2004/01/10 15:11:50 (permalink)

Chinese Rice Congee

Someone asked me for a recipe for Chinese rice congee in one of the threads and for the life of me, I can't find it again. So I'll answer it here.

Do keep in mind that I can't give you precise measurements because so much of Asian cooking goes by feel rather than measurement. E.g. my mom would go: "Take a pinch or this and a bit of that and if it doesn't taste right, add some more of..." and many Chinese girls who were taught to cook at home were mainly instructed to "watch and learn". You get the picture.

So here we go:

Breakfast Congee

Ingredients:

Thai fragrant rice or any rice from China/Thailand/Southeast Asia (American long grain rice will not work and neither will Basmati. Arborio rice for risotto will be too starchy)
Water

Method:

Wash the rice put double the amount of water you would put when you cook it using the Asian rule-of-thumb method which is usually explained as filling the water over the rice until it covers your knuckles when you press the rice down with your palm. In the case of cooking congee you want the rice to fill roughly 1/3 of the total contents (rice and water) in the pot and the water to be two thirds of the contents. Keep in mind that you may have to adjust the amount of water depending on if the rice is new or old rice etc etc.

Bring to a boil.

Immediately turn the heat down low (almost to the lowest heat) and let it cook until the rice bursts and thickens into congee.

Make sure to check back regularly and keep stirring.

If you want Cantonese-style watery congee, add more water to begin with. Fukienese/Hokkien/Teochew style is very thick--the rice congee is like oatmeal and so uses less water.

Serve with fried dough sticks, soy sauce and Chinese pickled foodstuffs if you're eating it for breakfast.

Serve with whatever dishes you would eat with rice for lunch/dinner. The Teochew people love to eat it with braised meats and tofu (braised in soy sauce and spices), deep fried salted fish/fish, cooked salted duck's eggs, preserved Chinese vegetables etc.

For flavoured rice congee:

Follow the above method but replace water with meat/fish/veggie stock of your choice and add in whatever ingredients you want.

Some of the classic combinations:

1. Two-egg congee--boil a salted duck egg until cooked. Peel it and a thousand-year egg (those that have translucent black whites and creamy gray yolks and the shells are frequently covered in a casing of straw) and chop both up into small pieces. Peel and julienne some fresh young ginger. Add to the rice congee when it's almost done and make sure it's mixed in well and heated through.

2. Fish congee--add in pieces of white fish and slices of julienned ginger.

3. Seafood congee--add in fresh crabs (jointed and the body chopped in half), fresh clams etc with the slowest cooking ingredient going in first and when the porridge has just been brought to boil (i.e. before you turn down the heat)

4. Simple mince meat congee--add minced pork seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce and white pepper.

#1

19 Replies Related Threads

    Rhodes
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/10 17:46:00 (permalink)
    Food of the Gods (and Godesses)!
    #2
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/10 18:09:50 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    We can feel fortunate that nobody specializes in this tasty dish in Columbia, South Carolina - they could name the restaurant "Rice Congaree", which would be one of the awfullest geographical puns the world has ever been forced to suffer through.
    A River Runs Through It, Ort.Carlton in Trans-Oconee-esque Athens, Georgia.
    P. S.The Broad River meets up with the Saluda River in Columbia to form the Congaree... if I remember my geography correctly.
    #3
    howard8
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/13 14:47:07 (permalink)
    jellybeans:
    Reading your congee post brought me back to Bejing where I vacationed for a week four years ago. Most mornings as part of the breakfast fare at out hotel, congee was offered. I tried it and loved it and enjoyed eating various condiments with it as well. Its so good to think how memories of good times can be brought to mind by the foods we eat.
    #4
    Jellybeans
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/13 15:12:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by howard8

    jellybeans:
    Reading your congee post brought me back to Bejing where I vacationed for a week four years ago. Most mornings as part of the breakfast fare at out hotel, congee was offered. I tried it and loved it and enjoyed eating various condiments with it as well. Its so good to think how memories of good times can be brought to mind by the foods we eat.


    Glad you like it, Howard. When I was growing up, I didn't really like it because it reminded me of being ill. That's cos my mom served it up as food whenever us kids got sick. Common sense really--congee is easily digestible and packed with nutrition if you use homemade broth and good ingredients.

    It was only when I grew up that I suddenly found that I loved certain types of congee
    #5
    arianej
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/14 01:23:49 (permalink)
    This was comfort food while growing up, and I still make it from time to time. Neat thing is, you can do it quite easily in a crockpot. I use 1 cup rice to 7 cups water, cook on High for maybe 4-5 hours or so, or until it reaches the desired texture. This makes a relatively thick consistency congee. When it's done, I add a bit of sesame oil, chopped scallions, and minced cooked chicken if I have it. And while it's not entirely authentic, crumbled cooked bacon works, too. ;) Soy sauce and pepper to taste.

    Also, when the congee is first ready, I sometimes crack an egg on the top, put the lid back on for a few minutes and let the egg sort of poach until the white is firm, but the yolk's still runny. Great with a bit of soy sauce!

    Ariane
    #6
    GordonW
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/14 02:27:49 (permalink)
    Memories of breakfast in Hong Kong.

    In the Philippines, it's called "arroz caldo," from the Spanish. There, it's entirely chicken based. Local rice, chicken, patis (the fish sauce -- nam pla/nuoc man; same principle), green onions, garlic, maybe fresh ginger, and such. Top it up after cooking with fixins -- more green onions, fried garlic, soy sauce, more patis, etc. Also a breakfast food and when you're sick (or hung over. Chicken rice for the soul.

    The rice really does make a difference. A lot of Asians complain that American long-grain rice isn't sticky enough. Also for eating with your fingers. I would expect that risotto rice, however, would come out of the pot in one sticky lump.

    It has been said that Philippine Airlines does not do a lot of things right. But they always got a really kicking arroz caldo in their lounges.
    #7
    EliseT
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/14 06:32:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    Dearfolk,
    We can feel fortunate that nobody specializes in this tasty dish in Columbia, South Carolina - they could name the restaurant "Rice Congaree", which would be one of the awfullest geographical puns the world has ever been forced to suffer through.


    No, this would be the awfullest pun:

    I thought it would be more complicated to cook. I had no idea Congee would be so Fukienese!!!

    #8
    EliseT
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/15 04:32:03 (permalink)
    Jellybeans: OK, all silliness aside...what kind of rice do you suggest...Jasmine? And do you rinse the rice first?
    #9
    Rhodes
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/15 09:49:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by arianej

    This was comfort food while growing up, and I still make it from time to time. Neat thing is, you can do it quite easily in a crockpot. I use 1 cup rice to 7 cups water, cook on High for maybe 4-5 hours or so, or until it reaches the desired texture....


    I'm gonna try that - thanks!
    #10
    Jellybeans
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/15 11:09:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Jellybeans: OK, all silliness aside...what kind of rice do you suggest...Jasmine? And do you rinse the rice first?


    Elise, I myself use Thai fragrant rice like my mother did. My grandmother uses rice from China. Seriously, any rice from Southeast Asia or China would fit the bill. I tend to wash my rice a couple of times to rinse off a bit of the starch and pick off any dirt.
    #11
    i95
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/15 15:35:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by clothier

    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    Dearfolk,
    We can feel fortunate that nobody specializes in this tasty dish in Columbia, South Carolina - they could name the restaurant "Rice Congaree", which would be one of the awfullest geographical puns the world has ever been forced to suffer through.


    No, this would be the awfullest pun:

    I thought it would be more complicated to cook. I had no idea Congee would be so Fukienese!!!


    That's pretty funny, ET.


    That's VERY funny, EliseT !!
    #12
    EliseT
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/15 18:15:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    quote:
    Originally posted by clothier

    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    Dearfolk,
    We can feel fortunate that nobody specializes in this tasty dish in Columbia, South Carolina - they could name the restaurant "Rice Congaree", which would be one of the awfullest geographical puns the world has ever been forced to suffer through.


    No, this would be the awfullest pun:

    I thought it would be more complicated to cook. I had no idea Congee would be so Fukienese!!!


    That's pretty funny, ET.


    That's VERY funny, EliseT !!


    I am just so thrilled that the moderators didn't edit it out! I knew I was pushing it, but it made me laugh all night long...especially when I said it with a New York accent.
    #13
    JimInKy
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/17 22:59:26 (permalink)
    Two weeks before this forum, I had never heard of rice congee when I happened by my friend's Chinese restaurant about the time they and their staff take dinner. On this night they were supping on rice congee and I was required to take some. I just got around to asking the name of it today. My friend's 86 year old mother cooked the congee and I haven't seen her to ask if she calls it "two-egg congee".

    My friend told me the congee I sampled had 1000 year old eggs, salt marinated pork, and salt duck egg cooked in it. The duck egg had been soaked in salt water for a week (or was it 3 weeks?) before being added to the cooking rice and the pork had marinated in salt for 3 days. This description may not be precise, but basically describes the dish and ingredients.

    I took one bite, and was finished. I just didn’t care for the flavor of the 1,000 year old egg. If memory serves me well, this is the first Chinese dish I’ve ever disliked. There’s a soup I’m not crazy about, but this is the first dish I could not go.

    On an upbeat note, my friends celebrate Chinese New Year this Tuesday night and I get to help eat a roast suckling pig and many other good things.
    #14
    GordonW
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/18 03:13:38 (permalink)
    Just one more Philippine note. The first thing you should eat just after midnight on 1 January -- the first thing in the new year, for good luck -- is arroz caldo. The next day you get to the roast pig.
    #15
    Jellybeans
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/18 06:43:31 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by JimInKy

    My friend told me the congee I sampled had 1000 year old eggs, salt marinated pork, and salt duck egg cooked in it. The duck egg had been soaked in salt water for a week (or was it 3 weeks?) before being added to the cooking rice and the pork had marinated in salt for 3 days. This description may not be precise, but basically describes the dish and ingredients.

    I took one bite, and was finished. I just didn’t care for the flavor of the 1,000 year old egg. If memory serves me well, this is the first Chinese dish I’ve ever disliked. There’s a soup I’m not crazy about, but this is the first dish I could not go.


    Jim, the Cantonese name for this particular type of rice congee is "Pei Tarn Juk".

    Actually, I have never sampled it--or heard of this dish made--with salt pork in it. Usually, my family buys salted duck's eggs and 1000-year old eggs from the Chinese grocers or the morning wet market and cook it before dicing it and sticking it into the porridge just before it finishes cooking along with julienned young ginger and basic seasoning (soy sauce, white pepper and a slight drizzle of sesame seed oil).

    1000 year old eggs and salted duck's eggs are an acquired taste. We usually eat 1000 year old eggs with sweet pickled ginger as part of the Ba Bao (8 treasures) appetiser at Chinese restaurants and salted duck egg usually go as a condiment to plain rice congee (cooked with just water) along with many other Chinese pickled veggies and braised meats and tofu.
    #16
    JimInKy
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/18 09:44:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jellybeans

    quote:
    Originally posted by JimInKy

    My friend told me the congee I sampled had 1000 year old eggs, salt marinated pork, and salt duck egg cooked in it. The duck egg had been soaked in salt water for a week (or was it 3 weeks?) before being added to the cooking rice and the pork had marinated in salt for 3 days. This description may not be precise, but basically describes the dish and ingredients.

    I took one bite, and was finished. I just didn’t care for the flavor of the 1,000 year old egg. If memory serves me well, this is the first Chinese dish I’ve ever disliked. There’s a soup I’m not crazy about, but this is the first dish I could not go.


    Jim, the Cantonese name for this particular type of rice congee is "Pei Tarn Juk".

    Actually, I have never sampled it--or heard of this dish made--with salt pork in it. Usually, my family buys salted duck's eggs and 1000-year old eggs from the Chinese grocers or the morning wet market and cook it before dicing it and sticking it into the porridge just before it finishes cooking along with julienned young ginger and basic seasoning (soy sauce, white pepper and a slight drizzle of sesame seed oil).

    1000 year old eggs and salted duck's eggs are an acquired taste. We usually eat 1000 year old eggs with sweet pickled ginger as part of the Ba Bao (8 treasures) appetiser at Chinese restaurants and salted duck egg usually go as a condiment to plain rice congee (cooked with just water) along with many other Chinese pickled veggies and braised meats and tofu.

    Thank you for the feedback, Jelly. On Tuesday night, I shall see Mrs. W___ at the New Year's banquet, and with the help of her grandaughter, I'll try to learn how she prepared the dish and her name for it. Mrs. W. hails from Shanghai, but lived in Taiwan for many, many years.

    At this point, I only know that she prepared the salt duck eggs herself. I don't know the origin of the 1,000 yeear old eggs. One correction: she didn't use salt pork, but marinated some uncured pork in a kind of salty marinade. Now, I'm fascinated with how she did every step of it. I'll give you a good report.

    Get this: Mrs. W. is 86 and insists on opening the restaurant most mornings. She also insists on walking the mile to work. I heard she was shoveling snow one morning last winter, much to the consternation of her son who adores her.
    #17
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/18 20:43:56 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    Dearfolk,
    We can feel fortunate that nobody specializes in this tasty dish in Columbia, South Carolina - they could name the restaurant "Rice Congaree", which would be one of the awfullest geographical puns the world has ever been forced to suffer through.


    No, this would be the awfullest pun:

    I thought it would be more complicated to cook. I had no idea Congee would be so Fukienese!!!




    Dearfolk (ESPECIALLY Elise T.),
    May I bow? I have been bested.
    Enough, Areddy, Areddy, Ort. Carlton in So-Whatta-Ya-Wamme-Ta-Do-Widda-Brooklyn-Accent,-Huh?--Make-It-More-Like-N'Awluns,-Areddy,-Y'all? Athens, Georgia, Where Either Accent Can Occasionally Be Heard, And Scantly Distinguished The One From Da Uddah.
    #18
    Pepper Breath
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/18 21:18:15 (permalink)
    Jelly Beans, thanks for the recipe idea's. i think I was the one who requested it from you a couple of weeks' back. I'll try to find the right rice and cook some up for my adopted "Made in China" daughter!
    #19
    Rhodes
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    RE: Chinese Rice Congee 2004/01/22 08:54:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by arianej

    This was comfort food while growing up, and I still make it from time to time. Neat thing is, you can do it quite easily in a crockpot. I use 1 cup rice to 7 cups water, cook on High for maybe 4-5 hours or so, or until it reaches the desired texture. This makes a relatively thick consistency congee. When it's done, I add a bit of sesame oil, chopped scallions, and minced cooked chicken if I have it. And while it's not entirely authentic, crumbled cooked bacon works, too. ;) Soy sauce and pepper to taste.

    Also, when the congee is first ready, I sometimes crack an egg on the top, put the lid back on for a few minutes and let the egg sort of poach until the white is firm, but the yolk's still runny. Great with a bit of soy sauce!

    Ariane


    I made this and it worked out really well! It was a bit thick for my taste but next time I'll add more water. I'm very happy to have a super-easy technique for one of my favorite dishes - thanks! I see many batches of crock-pot congee in my future.... I love this site.
    #20
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