In this post, I shall teach you a fast method to make a perfect Cantonese rice congee.
Called “chog” in Cantonese, rice congee forms an integral part of a dim sum meal. For those in the know, dim sum is an assortment of steamed or deep-fried dishes (the idea is very much like Spanish tapas) that Chinese people from the southern province of China, Guangdong (Canton), enjoy as brunch or afternoon tea. While eating dim sum is a thoroughfare throughout Canton and Hongkong, the best-tasting and most elaborate dim sum is served in the classy, modern restaurants in Hongkong.
Cantonese rice congee is made to perfection in Hongkong. A perfectly-prepared rice congee is smooth and gooey, pearly-white in colour, individual rice can still be discerned and not completely melted into glue. It is difficult to balance the need for taste with these criteria of texture and colour.
There is the old, traditional way of making it, which requires two important steps:
- Soak your raw rice in water overnight. Once soaked, they become brittle and can easily be broken by hand before you cook them. It is a slow and tedious way to achieve the smooth and gooey texture.
- Make crystal clear stock. Pork meat, chicken feet, chicken wings, fish bones are things which you can use to make a crystal clear stock. Pig bones or chicken bones contain blood and will taint the stock, which will then turn the congee brown. I will skip this step by using chicken stock powder. If you really want to try out the traditional method, pre-boil your bones and meat to get rid of the blood and protein bubbles. Once cleared, your stock will be clear, but that also means you will need a higher quantity of bones and meat to achieve the same flavour.
So here is the modern and faster way to make pearly-white Cantonese rice congee.
Serving: 2 persons
- 100g of raw Thai rice
- 750ml of water
- 2 teaspoons of chicken stock powder
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- 250g of pork fillet, cut into strips of 5cm long and 1cm thick OR 250g of fish fillet, cut into slices of max 1cm thick
- 1 stalk of spring onion/scallion, chopped
- 1 stalk of coriander, use only the leaves, lightly chopped
- 1 small chunk of fresh ginger, de-skinned and cut into very thin strips
- Sesame oil
- Deep-fried shallots
- Thai fish sauce
- 1 crispy Youtiao, cut into short sections
- Marinate your pork with salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Do not use soy sauce as this will turn your congee brown. If you are using fish, after your seasoning, coat each slice with corn flour to keep it whole when you cook them later. Set aside.
- Place your water in a pot together with your rice (if you are doing this the traditional way replace water with stock). Bring to boil, then turn down the heat, stirring occassionally to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom of the pot and gets burnt.
- Once the rice has “flowered”, you have made a “rice porridge”, which is less gooey than a congee. Use your soup blender and blend for about 5 seconds, not more, or else your congee will turn into glue. If necessary add more water. Return the pot to the fire and continue to stir and cook until the congee is ready. Once it is done, add in your stock powder (skip this step if you use stock already in the beginning) and salt and pepper to taste.
- While the congee is simmering, add in your meat slowly and stirring at the same time. Because it is very hot, the meat gets cooked very fast. It is not necessary to simmer for very much longer.
- Pour your congee into 2 serving bowl. Break an egg into each bowl on top of the congee. Douce it with a bit of sesame oil, Thai fish sauce, then garnish with spring onion, coriander leaves and deep-fried shallots. If you have youtiao, place a few in your congee to add a touch of crunchiness to that smooth gooey goodness.