Monday, August 27, 2007

Chicken Congee

So Chicken Congee seems to be the new thing in the foodie world at the moment. After seeing mellie's post about making chicken congee and then reading the original recipe here, I figured if I could shell out $6 for a bowl, I may as well try and make my own.

Growing up, I was not the biggest fan of congee at all. Whenever I was sick in bed, the smell of steaming plain congee would come wafting up the stairs and I would inevitably be brought a large bowl. Eaten plain, it is nothing more than literally boiled rice porridge and doesn't have much flavour at all. My grandma's favourite garnish was flossed pork, which added to it a nice sweet meaty flavour. My mum, on the other hand, loved congee with a passion and whenever we went out for a traditional breakfast at our local wet market hawker stalls, she would inevitably work on a bowl of congee with sliced pork and century egg whilst my dad and I chowed down on plates of steamed rice rolls with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Thus when my mum heard of my newest cooking endevour, she started laughing down the phone, then proceeded to call my grandma, who commented that I was "finally becoming a real Chinese person" and perhaps given that I had started to cook Chinese food, maybe I could find a nice Chinese boy instead of the gwai lo that I am currently dating. Ha. (My grandma is, however, slightly mollified by the fact that A is studying medicine, which is apparently something that works very well in his favour. The Chinese are crazy (actually - just my grandma is).

My newfound love for congee was triggered by the cold winter that has thankfully been chased away by the warm shining sun, and was also spurred on by the wonderful sliced duck and lettuce congee I had a few weeks ago at Supper Inn. Yongtze's recipe was easy enough to follow, but I substituted with whatever I had, meaning I used chicken thigh fillets and minced ginger instead of chicken breast and the traditional sliced garlic. Also, I had unfortunately run out of soy sauce. However, I can tell you all that it still tasted delicious. Congee is one of those recipes, like pasta, where you can pretty much chuck anything into it and it will generally turn out OK. It's easy and warming and comforting and easy to store in the fridge to be heated up in the microwave when you get home after a long day. Plus, it can traditionally be eaten at any time of the day. I think I'll have some for brekky tomorrow morning!

Chicken Congee
(modified from Yongtze's recipe)

1 cup Jasmine rice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10 cups water and/or chicken stock (I used a mixture of both)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 chicken thigh fillet
Sesame oil

1. Wash and drain the rice in a pot. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp vegetable oil, mix well and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add water/stock to the rice. Bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Marinate the chicken with sesame oil and minced garlic.
4. Add the chicken to the congee. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Take the chicken out and set aside to cool.
5. Season the congee with salt and cook for another 30 minutes or so.
6. Shred the cooked chicken and throw into the pot. Cook for another 5 - 10 minutes until the congee reaches your preferred consistency.


Truffle said...

I find congee novel because I associate it with going out to Chinese restaurants as a kid or something my Dad would make as a treat when I was sick. Funny how we had such different experiences with it early on. I have been slightly amused by how trendy it has become lately but that's a good thing if it means it will be more readily available. Thanks for passing on the recipe!

stickyfingers said...

Growing up, my mum served congee every sunday with side dishes of noodles and a plate of century eggs, Dad would alsways top his with spring onions, peanuts and pork floss.

My Chinese grandmother began eating plain congee with her meals instead of rice and claimed it was a good way to lose weight. My own favourite congee is Teng Jai Jook, and I love it when I'm unwell.

In our family we add some bicarb soda to the soaking mix and leave it overnight. We then cook it very slowly, adding Fu Pei(dried tofu skin) to the pot. The result is an extra creamy congee. Sometimes I use a roast duck carcass or even ham bones or christmas turkey bones, which also make a great base for a tasty congee.

jfox said...

haha, i love your grandmother's comment about your gwai lo boyf, your family sounds a lot like mine!!

anyway, if you're using chicken thighs instead of breast meat then you're definitely very chinese ;)

ps: my favourite is pork and 100 year old egg congee (my grandma would approve ;p)

joeyjoey said...

your recipe is not bad but my parents would not let me eat that cause they rather you mom old traditional way of plain rice in boiling water served with a spinkle of salt. It's probably because of the chicken brooth...

Haha I like how you use 'gwai lo' to define your boyfriend. I got a laugh out of that. It really reminds my of what my mom and grandma would use too.