Congee (‘Tsook’ or ‘Jook’ in Cantonese) is a dish similar to risotto and is often served as a cure-all comfort food in a similar way to chicken soup in western culture. It is a great way of using up left over rice, although it is just as commonly cooked from uncooked rice. This is a very simple recipe, explaining how to make the basic congee and suggesting variations on the additional ingredients.
Cooking congee is simple, however, it requires a watchful eye to ensure that the rice does not burn. The amount of rice and water stated in the recipe are merely guidelines as the amount of each will depend on the nature of the rice. If using a starchy rice, more water is usualy required, whilst when using a cooked non-starchy rice you may find you require less water. The science of making congee is not exact, but is simple to tweak by boiling off or adding water.
Wash the rice briefly (we want to retain more starch than usual, as this will make a better congee) and leave to soak for 1-2 hours.
Add the water/stock and the rice to a pan and bring to the boil on a high heat.
Once boiling, turn down to a low-medium heat and simmer gently for an hour, stirring regularly to avoid burning.
Eventually, the rice will break down and the congee will thicken. The ideal thickness of congee is that of double cream, although some prefer it thinner and some prefer it thicker. If your congee reaches this stage prematurely, simply add some more water to the mixture and continue to heat.
Season your congee to taste with salt. Many prefer not to salt it at all; keeping the dish clean and pure.
In the meanwhile, cut up the pork into thin strips and place in a bowl.
Add the marinade ingredients to the pork and mix well.
Add the marinated pork to the congee mixture, continuing to stir regularly whilst on a gentle simmer for a further 15 minutes until the pork is cooked.
Crack the preserved duck eggs and peel off the shells. Cut the eggs lengthways into eighths. Add the preserved egg to the congee, stirring carefully to avoid breaking the egg pieces.
This recipe uses preserved duck eggs, also known as thousand year eggs or century eggs, which are not like ordinary eggs because the process of preservation solidifies them. When cracked open, the 'white' of the egg should be a transluscent black colour and the yolk is dark yellow. Do not try to substitute the preserved egg with a normal hen's egg.
Number of Portions: 1
Difficultly: Very easy
Cooking Time: > 2 Hour 30 Min
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Submitted on: 3 December 2011