Congee with Minced Pork & Century Egg

Congee with Minced Pork & Century Egg

Hello Everyone! So continuing on with the idea of porridge from Tuesday’s post, I decided to whip up a classic congee dish. The origins of congee are unknown, but several historical accounts have shown that this dish was served during times of famine as a way to stretch the rice supply in order to feed more people. Despite that, congee is one of the traditional Chinese foods that has a history dating back to thousands of years in China. It is now a largely popular dish in many Asian countries and though it has many variations, its base is usually a thick porridge of rice that has been cooked in water or stock for a prolonged time. When it is eaten as a plain rice congee, you often eat it with other side dishes, but when additional ingredients such as meat and other flavourings are added, it can be a meal on its own. Depending on your cultural background, congee is eaten as a substitute for rice, but is known to be primarily eaten for breakfast or late supper. It is also considered suitable for young children or for those who are ill as it is a mild and easily digestible dish.

Now before I go on to the recipe, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what a century egg is. For those of you who don’t know, century egg (also know as a preserved egg), is a Chinese delicacy traditionally made by preserving duck, chicken, or quail eggs, in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks, or even months. Through this process, the yolk turns dark green to grey in colour, acquiring a creamy consistency and a strong flavour. On the other hand, the egg white becomes jelly-like and translucent, dark brown in colour, and salty in flavour. I know what you’re thinking, sounds disgusting right? I’ll be honest with you, it took me a while to be able to get over its looks and smell. I still don’t love it, but it’s definitely good with congee! To prepare these eggs for the congee, you simply just have to wash off the mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls that cover the egg. I recommend washing it outside as to not clog your sink with all the residue. Tap the eggs on a countertop until covered in cracks, and then peel the shell off.

Preserved Century Egg

As mentioned before, there are many variations in which you can have your congee; plain or dressed up with your favourite ingredients – it’s all up to you really! At breakfast/brunch buffets (that’s when I usually indulge in some yummy congee), you’re given a selection of toppings to accompany your plain congee. I usually go for the whole works which included century egg, fried cha kueh (deep fried dough), crispy fried shallots, spring onion, and some sesame oil.

Congee with Minced Pork & Century Egg Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-60 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g lean minced pork
  • 2.5L homemade or store-bought chicken broth
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked*
  • 2-3 century eggs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 shallots, sliced thinly into rings
  • 1 cha kueh**, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 thumb-szied ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste

*You can also start with cooked rice, adding chicken broth and adjusting the amount of liquid to achieve the desired consistency. Make sure that when the rice has swelled, mash it a bit to help it break down.

**Cha Kueh (You Cha Kueh) is a Chinese deep-fried dough that is chewy yet crispy; a delicious snack that is normally paired with coffee or tea in the mornings or afternoons. There is a certain level of skill and expertise needed to knead the dough to the right consistency, as well as deep-frying techniques, to make the perfect cha kueh. So, if you want, you can make your own cha kueh, or if it’s readily available in stores nearby, then you can just buy it already cooked. I guess croutons can also substitute if both are not an option for you, or you can leave this element out completely. I like to include it in my congee for an added texture of crunch.

METHOD

  1. Bring a large pot of the washed, uncooked  rice and chicken broth to a simmer over medium heat. Once it starts simmering, reduce the heat down to low. Stir occasionally to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Simmer until the rice has softened, broken down, and the mixture is creamy with the consistency of a porridge, about 45 to 60 minutes. If you need to, add more chicken broth to adjust the consistency as it cooks.
  2. While the rice is cooking, you can move on to preparing the minced pork and shallots. In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high and add the sliced shallots in. Cook, stirring continuously, until the shallots are golden and crispy; it should take about 5 minutes altogether. If you need to, adjust the heat so that they do not burn. Once done, transfer the shallots to a heatproof bowl.
  3. In the same pan with the oil, add in the slices of cha kueh and fry until golden and crispy, about a minute per side. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess oils.
  4. In the same pan again with about a tablespoon of the oil, fry up the ginger slices until fragrant, then add in the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Add in the minced pork and season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix, breaking up the pork into small pieces as it cooks, and then leave it until cooked through and browned, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. When the porridge is ready, stir in the pork and season to taste with some fish sauce. Divide the porridge equally into individual-sized bowls and top with the century egg, fried cha kueh, crispy fried shallots, and spring onion. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Hello Everyone! Today’s recipe is a dish that is quite well-known in the family, and across the Philippines I presume, as the go to dish when someone is feeling under the weather. In our house, you’d know when someone is sick with the flu when you see this dish on the table for everyone to eat; yes that’s right, you don’t have to be the sick one to have a bowl of arroz caldo! However, besides it well-known as the go to dish for the sick, arroz caldo is also a common breakfast dish as it can be quite filling, providing you with the energy that you’d need to last you until lunch time. It can also be a snack (merienda) dish with tokwa’t baboy (a dish composed of boiled pig’s ears and/or pork belly, and fried tofu with a vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli dip on the side).

Arroz Caldo is actually of Chinese origin as it draws resemblance to a type of risotto-like congee. The name of this dish however, was given by the Spaniards due to pronunciation issues. The dish is also similar to other Filipino porridges such as lugaw and goto, the only distinguishing ingredient would be that arroz caldo mainly uses chicken while goto requires the use of tripe, beef, and innards. Lugaw on the other hand, is as plain as it can get.

So I made this dish back when I was in Sydney, a few weeks before I left in early August. I was staying at Marissa’s place for the time I was there and we both fell ill at one point during my stay. I can’t quite remember who fell sick first and who gave who the sickness, but all I remembered was that I made this dish for the both of us. I even told her the story behind this dish and she even made mention that they have a similar Vietnamese dish known as Cháo Ga (also fed to those who were feeling under the weather).

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g chicken mid-wings, washed and cleaned
  • 1.5L water
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked and washed
  • 4 large free range eggs, hard-boiled and sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large brown onion, sliced
  • 1 lemon (or calamansi if available)
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Crispy fried shallots
  • Spring onions, sliced

METHOD

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the ginger and fry until fragrant, then add in the garlic, sautéing until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the onions and cook until soft, altogether about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken mid-wings to the pot and season with the chicken stock powder and ground black pepper. Give it a good mix and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the outer layer of the chicken starts to brown. Then add in the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for a further 5 minutes and then scoop out the chicken mid-wings and set aside*.
  3. Add the washed, uncooked rice and mix well, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to low-medium and leave it to simmer until the rice is fully cooked (about 30 to 40 minutes). Stir occasionally just to make sure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, you may return the chicken mid-wings to the pot to heat them up again before serving the dish.
  4. Taste and if the porridge needs a bit more seasoning, add some fish sauce and adjust to your liking.
  5. Divide the porridge into bowls equally and top with the chicken and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Garnish with a pinch of crispy fried shallots, spring onion, and a squeeze of lemon juice (you may add some saffron threads for aroma and colour).
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

*You don’t usually scoop the chicken out, but because I didn’t want the chicken to become too soft and start breaking apart, so I took them out. The reason is just because I don’t want them to look aesthetically displeasing on the dish for the photograph really. Otherwise, leaving them in until they fall of the bone is what you would like to achieve with this dish.

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com