congee (jook) - rice gruel

Categories
Chinese
Soups
Yield
6 Servings
MeasureIngredient
1 cup Long grain rice
3 quarts Stock (eg chicken)
2 tablespoons Chinese preserved turnip; minced
1 slice Ginger root; minced
Piece tangerine peel; soaked to soften, minced
  Salt
  Chopped green onion
  Chopped coriander
  Slivered preserved ginger
  Sliced tea melon

GARNISH

In all my years of eating and cooking Chinese food, I'd never tried Congee (rice gruel) before yesterday. It just seemed so *bland* that I thought it couldn't possibly be all that interesting. I was WRONG! The recipe below gives a subtle but hearty "soup" which can be garnished in a virtually infinite number of ways according to personal taste. I found that I like just the basic stuff, unembellished the best. I substituted half a cup of long grain rice and half a cup of glutinous rice for the long grain rice and it worked very well. The preserved turnip seems to be used mostly for its salt content. I found it unnecessary to add any more salt to the congee. The tangerine peel gives a very subtle, nice hint of exotic perfume to the dish. The pot I made set up almost like a pea soup when it cooled. Good stuff! Ridiculously easy too...

Congee (Jook)

Combine rice, stock, preserved turnip, ginger and tangerine peel in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered approximately 1-1½ hours or until the rice is thoroughly broken up. Stir occasionally to prevent soup from sticking and add boiling water if necessary. When done, soup should be thick and creamy. Add salt to taste and garnish with any or all of the suggested garnishes.

Variations: Just before serving, add cooked chicken, pork, ham or beef. Or with rice add diced forest mushrooms, soaked to soften or dried shrimp.

From "The Regional Cooking of China" by Margaret Gin and Alfred E.

Castle, 101 Productions, San Francisco, 1975.

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