What's the secret to getting smooth, velvety congee?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chefkid, Feb 28, 2004.

  1. chefkid

    chefkid

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    I've long wondered how Chinese restaurants get their congee (jook) to taste so rich and velvety. My own attempts to recreate that taste have been disastrous, so this dish isn't made very often. Does anyone out there know?

    Thank you,

    Ck
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Mudbug says it has to be cooked overnight. I use a stick blender.

    Kuan
     
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I agree with Mudbug- a slow cooker would be just right, too. But then, Kuan is a very practical guy!
     
  4. mudbug

    mudbug

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    I think it all depends on how you want to do it.

    Traditionally, congee was made from left over rice from the nite before, which makes cooking time a lot less.

    We usually make it from uncooked rice by putting it in the crockpot with whatever additions we like to add, bring it to a boil and then turn it down and let it cook overnight so it's ready in the morning.

    Congee means different things to different people. Much like an omlett, there are as many ways to make it as there are people who eat it.

    ChefKid,
    >My own attempts to recreate that taste have been disastrous

    Exactly how have you been trying to make it? What type of rice are you using? How are you trying to cook it? Do you soak the rice before cooking? Etc... Let us know and we will be better able to help.

    ;)
     
  5. shahar

    shahar

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    after cooking the rice I mix some starch(corn/potato/etc.) mixed with cold water and add to the pot. Cook for several more minutes.
     
  6. barista

    barista

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    Cantonese congee is made by a long slow cooking process. No short cuts (stick blender) or addition of other starches! :D

    After washing the rice (long grained), add some oil to coat the grains and let it marinate for 30min or so. Add water or stock if available and keep it on a slow simmer after the water has come to a boil. You should be able to get a nice congee with the rice grains nicely broken up after a few hours. Overnight is good if you have the time.
     
  7. azrael

    azrael

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    slightly out of toipc but what are your favourite Congee ingredients?
    mine are Dried Scallops and Century Eggs (i have no idea why the guy in Fear Factor keeps calling it 1000 year old eggs, maybe it's for the grossness factor?)
     
  8. mudbug

    mudbug

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    AzRaeL,

    Here in the states, the common English name is "1000 year old eggs".

    Check out the post here posted (02-13-2002 05:31 PM).
     
  9. azrael

    azrael

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    in asia, it's more common to call them Century Egg
     
  10. barista

    barista

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    My favourite is pork porridge! It's filled with minced meat balls, sliced tenderloins, liver. In fact, I just had a bowl this evening at the re-opened East Coast Food Centre. Next will be the one with the century eggs, salted eggs and salted pork :D

    Fish porridge, when I'm a little under the weather;)
     
  11. azrael

    azrael

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    ha! a lot of my friends swear by the Frog's Legs Porridge in Chinatown. I think it's on Sam Leong or Smith Street in Chinatown (singapore).
     
  12. ilive4food

    ilive4food

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    All of your responses are correct in the different ways of cooking congee. There are so many different styles, methods, and ingredients to making a good congee. In response to the original question of "how do Chinese restaurants get their congee so rich and velvety?", you can either add milk or corn starch with water mixture. If you use corn starch, make sure the starch is fully disolved in the water before apply to your pot of congee. That's it! Try it for yourself. Enjoy!
     
  13. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I like the oernight method myself. I've tried the stick blender but wasn't satisfied Of course, that stick blender died shortly after so the blender may have been faulty.

    Short grain rice helps too.

    Phil
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    We use a no. 1 long grain rice, preferably Thai with at least a year on it, for juk. 9 or 10 water to 1 rice by volume, plus a little salt. About a tsp of table salt, to 1 cup of rice. I know the stove and pot well enough to know how to set the flame so it will simmer and never boil -- although if it boils for a few minutes, it isn't that big a deal. It takes about an hour for a decent textrue, and about 75 to 90 minutes for really excellent. Then I finish it with a little Maggi seasoning sauce.

    We like all sorts of things in the congee. Dried bok choy, dried scallops, dried shrimp, pork foo, century egg, chicken, skirt or tips trimmed from spare ribs before smoking, hard boiled egg, minced fresh beef, sliced fresh beef, minced fresh pork, fish fillet, preserved fish, you name it. I do whatever pre-prep is necessary (if any) before adding the flavorings.

    It's a good idea not to get too complicated though -- keep it down to a couple of things max. I mince some chives and serve them along with a little crisp fried noodle to dress it.

    When we first started fooling with it we tried the slow cooker, loading up the congee with quantity or variety of flavorings, slow cooking them along with the juk, and so on -- but could never make it work. Not that these things don't for other people. In the end, we settled on the simple techniques I told you about.

    BDL
     
  15. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    The first time I tried congee was in Singapore - various offerings were sent out with the dish to make your own combo - I think I added too much of everything! There were things that I knew not what they were....but tried them anyway. I think I most preferred deepfried shallots, springs onions, what I think was crispy fried crumbled bacon, mushrooms, and egg omelette.

    It was smooth and savoury and delicious, even after my attempt at experimenting with way too many additions.

    Find your own combo to your preference, but it doesn't have to be set in stone. Try something different and see what happens.
     
  16. kamun

    kamun

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    Here is the secret to smooth congee, like those served in your favorite Cantonese congee houses:

    1. wash rice and drain
    2. add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp oil to the rice
    3. allow mixture to marinate at least 30 min to overnight
    4. rinse mixture again before cooking (unless you love lots of salt & oil)
    5. add enough water to rinsed rice, bring to boil, then simmer for anywhere from 1-3 hours according to your time availability. A longer simmer is usually better for congee.

    ENJOY! :lol: No need to blend it, add starch or anything. This should result in a plain, smooth and creamy congee.

    Ka Mun, PTT Buddhist Temple
    Vancouver, BC Canada
     
  17. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    what kind of rice....jasmine, long grain, basmati, etc.....

    I like dried onions, scallions, sesame oil......and loads of crullers.
     
  18. saphy

    saphy

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    My mother used a ricecooker but each ricecooker is different with regards to how much water you use so can be experimental at first. YOu do have to use a fair number of cups of water though for that smooth consistency, and it doesn't take a long time to make with a ricecooker quite simply it cooks under pressure. I don't remember my mum ever using starch in congee, but if you want to use some, just use corn starch because that is what is always used in chinese restaurants
     
  19. tatters

    tatters

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    Stick blender after using a pressure cooking gets the right consistency but the secret is the broth.  It's pork and chicken broth.  Cooking for a longer period gives it a thicker consistency (desired).  Adding a few julienne slivers of fresh ginger adds authenticity.  Try adding ginko.  Umami also is a good broth flavoring (dried flounder flakes or some dashi)
     
  20. pohaku

    pohaku

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    Another resurrected thread.  Coming from a Cantonese family, we use a combination pork and chicken broth.  We also always use Chung Choi (salted preserved turnip and turnip tops) in our broth.  Comes in little bundles.  Add one or two for a large pot.  Small handful of dried shrimp can be added to the broth as well.