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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crazy congee with chicken stock and fish

I made a very non-traditional congee/jook (粥) last week that I'd like to share.  It was a multi-step process.

I wanted to make a fish congee (魚片粥).  The usual way of making congee is to use the following water:rice ratios:

  • 8:1 for thick congee
  • 10:1 for medium-thick congee
  • 13:1 for super thin congee

But I had leftover chicken bones and skin (courtesy of a roommate of mine) that had been sitting around for awhile.  I couldn't make Cantonese chicken soup (not enough ingredients), so I figured I'd use it to make a simple chicken stock.

Chicken stock
Leftover bones and skin
Shitake mushrooms--mine were dried, so I soaked them until they were soft-ish.
~8 cups of water
Threw all ingredients into a slow cooker and cooked on high for about 12 hours.  Check on it every so often to spoon out the gunk (fat, mostly).  This is done by taking spoonfuls from the surface and blowing across the top over a sink.

Afterwards, I was ready to make the congee.  By the time the stock was done, it was about midnight (I started late).  If I cooked the congee in a rice cooker, I'm guessing I would have needed to stay up to make sure the congee wouldn't overcook.  I wasn't keen on doing that, so I stuck with the slow cooker.

Crazy Congee
1 cup of brown rice (I forgot I only had brown rice, which requires more water.  So, I threw in...)
1 more cup of water
Edamame beans (normally, people would throw in something like bok choy)
Dried beancurd

For the fish: Marinate slices of fish in a touch of soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger.

Dump everything into the slow cooker and chicken stock; it's done when all the grains are broken.  Sprinkle scallions when ready to serve.

My hand slipped and I poured too much soy sauce, so I didn't let the fish marinate too long.  Unfortunately, I probably should've left it in longer--it was a bit fishy :S  That said, the scallions saved the day!  I also threw in peanuts, even, which gave it a bit of a sampan porridge feel.

The consistency was exactly what I was shooting for--thick and with the rice grains broken down.  I left the slow cooker on high so it would be ready in the morning, which it indeed was.  It's lasted me for about a week now.  Happiness!

Advice for next time:
Use a rice cooker instead of a slow cooker for the congee, and maybe even for the chicken stock--it might cook a bit faster!  Also add gingko nuts.

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