Faster Cooked Congee


Congee is a savory rice porridge/gruel. There are many versions of congee but a popular version, known as 'chok' in Cantonese, can be found in dim sum restaurants. The Cantonese versions is typically served with pork, fish or a processed form of egg known as century egg (or pei dan). That also happens to be the style I grew up with so it's closely associated with comfort food.

The ingredients and methodology for cooking chok is rather straight forward. Rice (cooked or uncooked) is simmered and stirred in a liquid for several hours; the longer the cook time, the smoother and creamier the final product. Soaked broken rice can be used for a smoother texture. Water (used in the Taiwanese version) or stock (used in the Cantonese versino) can be used for the liquid. In some cases, the bones and meat are added to the rice and water to add flavor, eliminating the need to make a separate stock.

I had the idea for a quick and dirty method to cook chok.

Stock was made as detailed in the Modernist Cuisine. Chopped up chicken wings (cheap while rich in collagen) were blanched and then pressure cooked in water for 1 hour. The resulting liquid was strained and used as stock. In the mean time, I cooked rice in a rice cooker.

Instead of boiling rice with constant stirring for hours on end, I boiled cooked rice in stock till the rice was soft (5-10mins). The softened rice was blended with a hand blender till the desired consistency, adding stock if necessary.

Chok texture
chok texture

The final product was topped with a chopped century egg, fried egg, spring onions, cilantro, crispy shallot oil, shallots, soy sauce and sesame oil. Great for hangovers or the cold.