One way to evaluate a new cooking method or product effectively is a blind triangular test. In this instance, we provide 3 samples – 2 of which are the same while one different. If the testee can’t effectively pick which sample is different, we can say what we are testing makes little difference.
This is useful in figuring out more efficient or delicious cooking methods. For instance – does searing meat before cooking it sous vide make a difference? How does making custards in a sous vide bath compare to the traditional double boiler method?
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.
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.
Pardon the emptiness for now. It’s been kind of hard to get started after taking a 2 month break from blogging. I’ll be making things happen though.
I’ve still been busy pushing my cooking to greater heights and learning more about the culinary world. It has been hard being ‘in the moment’ with my cooking while trying to take pictures and document things. IMO, it somehow disrupts the flow so I’m trying to find that balance.
In other news, for the next 12 months, I’ll be involved in Charcutepalooza. I’m excited. I already have a home cured duck prosciutto hanging in my pantry along with some Duck confit in the fridge. Details to come.