Mix and Match

Chicken congee.

Toppings include: chopped scallions, minced cilantro, stir-fried Chinese pork sausage with preserved salted black beans and chili peppers, sesame oil, tamari, shredded roast chicken, pickled ginger, fresh kimchi.

Basic congee recipe consists of one part rice to ten parts water and/or stock (see recipe below). I didn’t have enough spare chicken parts to make more than one quart of stock, so I boosted things with one can of chicken broth and two cups of water. Bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes, then lower heat to ultra-low and cook, partially covered for 60 to 90 minutes or until congee reaches the consistency of thick oatmeal. Stir occasionally. If liquid reduces, add more water or stock. When congee is done, ladle into bowls, garnish with choice of toppings and serve immediately. Tonight I came home late and didn’t feel like eating dinner at 10 pm so I cut down the cooking time by an hour. Oops. Tastes great though, but then I’m cooking for myself, not for an audience.

Quick Asian chicken stock: one roast chicken carcass (wings, bones, neck), six cups of water, several large pieces of sliced ginger, crushed garlic cloves and two pieces of star anise. Boil for five minutes, lower heat then simmer uncovered for four to five hours. Skim occasionally to remove impurities as the stock simmers. Let cool, then strain. Refrigerate overnight to let flavors meld.

Pickled ginger: Thinly slice or shred one large piece of ginger. Macerate in 6-7 T. rice wine vinegar with a pinch of salt for 30 minutes. Use as desired.

The Chinese pork sausage side dish was one link of La Chang pork sausage, diced; 2 T. salted preserved black beans; 1 minced chili pepper; and 1 minced clove garlic stir-fried in some peanut oil with a little mushroom soy sauce.


  1. It’s just rice porridge except this time it came out wrong, probably because I was hungry and didn’t want to wait. Made properly, the rice grains break down to become almost soupy. It’s Chinese comfort food.

    The wonderful thing about congee/jook is that it’s a blank canvas for whatever you want to use for toppings. Simple is best.


  2. I made it, and really enjoyed the dish. It was perfect for a cold afternoon here in Chicago. I topped mine with BBQ Pork (a plum sauce based BBQ), scallions, pan roasted garlic slivers (crunchy), straw mushrooms, fresh snow pea pods, and cilantro. YUM.


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anna brones

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