One of the things I look forward to the most when we go out for some Dim Sum is a nice hot bowl of congee. More specifically, congee with century egg and shredded pork. As suspiciously dark and congealed as it looks, the egg adds amazing flavour and texture to what otherwise amounts to overcooked rice.
Congee isn’t for everyone. Even the most adventurous Aussie who can down servings of chicken feet, jellyfish and other culinary challenges are stopped dead in their tracks by the humble congee. It leaves most people cold; the rice grains are overcooked and suspended in a soupy mixture of ingredients not readily identifiable.
For me, congee is similar to my old childhood comfort food okayu (rice gruel in Japanese). Whenever I was unwell my mother would whip some up with a dash of soy sauce and egg strewn through it. Call it the chicken soup of Japan. Congee is just a more dressed up rice gruel with some very tasty flavours.
Having studied quite a few recipes for congee, I decided that my Thermomix would come in handy. It makes amazingly good risotto in a flash so doing up a batch of overcooked rice in soup shouldn’t be much of a stretch. I used the recipe by The Little Teochew as a base and adjusted things as needed for both the Thermomix and my own taste.
Century Egg Congee
1 cup jasmine rice (rice cup – not baking/cooking cup)
3 cups water (regular baking/cooking cup henceforth)
2 – 3 cups of duck stock (I happened to have some but chicken stock is fine)
a dash of sesame oil
1 salted egg (peeled and white part diced – yolk to be saved for garnish if desired)
2 Century eggs (peeled and white* part diced – some saved for garnishing if desired) * seems odd calling this white!
1 spring onion, chopped (retain green section for garnishing)
1 small piece of ginger, chopped finely
To make: Place rice in Thermomix with all of water and 2 cups of stock. Set the Butterfly attachment to the bowl and start TMX on the basic risotto setting of 100C , Speed Soft and Reverse for 20 minutes. Check on progress of the rice grains. The grains should have sufficiently broken down but another 8 – 10 minutes of cooking is ideal and the extra cup of stock should be added at this stage. Also add ginger, onion, salt, sesame oil and salted egg white now. Check on progress at end of this period. The congee should be just right but add more water/stock and cook for another minute or two. Once ready, serve congee in a bowl with desired garnish.
A more complex flavour can be achieved with the use of pork ribs, dried oysters and/or scallops and fried scallions but I kept things fairly simple here. Very satisfying nonetheless :)