Sunday, January 01, 2012

Congee reversed engineered

Congee version 1.0

While in Boston I spent about 4 months without a kitchen before moving into Patrick's luxurious kitchen equipped apartment to take care of the dog Phoebe (see previous fat dog posts). It was during this great stay at the apartment that I had time to go out to the nearby Macy's and pick up a slow cooker for a mere $17 bucks.

Kitchenware can be pretty inexpensive in the US and at the same time it can be difficult to find a single food storage container (for sale by itself as opposed to buying the mega value pack where you get more than 10 containers at once), or oven mitts made of fabric.

Anyhooo... The last couple of weeks I'd been going to Vinh Sun, a restaurant in Boston's china town specifically to have their congee. This leads us to making congee at home in a slow cooker because sometimes we're just too lazy to go out in the cold and eat it in a restaurant.

So after a few sampling visits to Vinh Sun, I made mental notes as to the taste and consistency of the congee and thanks to multiple tries of making the stuff at the apartment (more than you really want to read about) I am presenting my findings here.

Congee (version 1.0)

  • slow cooker
  • large bowl or food bin that can hold slow cooker contents
  • pot
  • knife to cut ginger
  • cutting board (depending on how barbaric you are you may not need this)

  • 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 clump of ginger
  • chopped green onions
  • crushed peanuts

Rice (you only need one cup for this recipe)

Celery sticks

Rice wine

Clump of ginger

  1. pour the rice wine, rice and water into the slow cooker.
  2. Add the celery sticks
  3. take the ginger, peel it, then chop the innards into fine thin strands, add to slow cooker.
  4. place the slow cooker on low and cook for eight to 10 hours
  5. let cool
  6. remove celery (the celery has done it's job by adding salt to the mix; you can eat the celery or throw it out. I suggest not throwing it out; why be wasteful? Where's the fat dog when you need her?)
  7. pour the remaining goop into a food bin or a large bowl that you can put into the refrigerator.
  8. leave in refrigerator overnight.
  9. The next day you'll notice a layer of water over the congee. Pour the water out.
  10. from the bin/bowl scoop out the portion you want to eat a place in a pot.
  11. heat pot until glob portion becomes more liquid like
  12. pour into a bowl, add chopped green onion or crushed peanuts.
  13. eat
"Wait! Why not just eat the congee from the slow cooker? Why do I have to put it in the fridge and reheat wasting time and energy?"
As I mentioned before I went through a number of variations at the apartment. The reason you put the congee in the refrigerator is to let the water separate from the congee making the congee less watery. You're welcome.

You''ll note that this congee recipe has no meat. To add meat (chicken, egg, pork, beef, whatever) you can cook it separately then add to the congee when reheating (step 11).

As I get more data on congee making I'll update the recipe for version 2.0 but for now make some congee and enjoy it. Maybe even share it with the dog...

Phoebe gives me the guilty eyes as I eat the congee.

To remedy this I take her for a walk

We end up at the Loews theatre near the park. N42° 21.187' W71° 3.871'

Not wanting to walk back to the apartment I take Phoebe on the 'T'. N42° 21.182' W71° 3.850'

Here we are on the GREEN line heading toward Lechmere (and the apartment) N42° 22.131' W71° 4.313'

Outside the apartment we wonder around a bit. N42° 22.285' W71° 4.466'

No comments: