Ham congee

30 August 2018
I first tasted congee on a flight to Europe with a Hong Kong stopover. As is sometimes the case, I was left with no option for breakfast and was served congee. I was a little worried I must admit as several years earlier I had been served Bibimbap in the same situation on a flight and it was a very poor imitation of what is actually a lovely dish. In this case however, the dish was delicious. Which had me thinking - if an aeroplane version of this dish is this good I must give it another go on land. So, on our return flight when we had a few hours stopover in Hong Kong we ventured out for Yum Cha. I was happy to enjoy my second serve of congee and happily found it even better.

A delicious bowl of comforting congee.



When I returned home I was intrigued to give it a go. I did a bit of research and found that it was a very simple dish: rice cooked in a lots of stock until it forms a loose porridge consistency. My first attempt was not too bad. I used homemade chicken stock and cooked on the stove top. The flavour was good but it didn't quite have the consistency that I was looking for.

Recently I came across a slow cooker recipe that I bookmarked to try. I really do love my slow cooker. So easy to put dinner on in the morning and not worry about it. I was also keen to try this recipe as I've found the slow cooker often produces better results than a very long slow simmer on the stove top.

I'm happy to report that this was a winner. The texture was exactly what I remember and the flavour was delicious using the saltier ham for the base.

Ingredients in the slow cooker. I used a chunk of speck.

Ham Congee

Ingredietns
2 cups rice
9 cups water
Ham bone, smoked hock or chunk of smoky pork product of your choosing
Spring onions
Soy sauce
Vegetables of choice chopped into smallish bits

Put rice, water and meat in the slow cooker on low. After 2-3 hours cooking time pull out your meat, shred and return it to your pot. Add about 1/4 cup of diced white part of the spring onions. Save your green bits for later. About half an hour before serving stir through your green spring onion, add soy sauce to taste and add in any extra veg you might like to make it a full meal. I used Asian Greens and broccoli.

Just before adding in the veg and soy.

Full cooking time is very flexible. I probably cooked mine for about 5 hours, but you could do it in less. If you go for a longer cook time you may need to top up with water to maintain a more soup like texture or alternatively you can let it thicken to a more porridge like texture - it's up to you.

Serve with a drizzle of soy sauce and extra green spring onion.

This was the definition of comfort food. There's still time to get out and give it a go  before the weather warms up.

Have you ever had congee before?
Any aeroplane meals you've been pleasantly surprised by?

10 comments

  1. I haven't tried congee, but I've heard the name used before. It's always good to try something new in the kitchen though! I love my slow cooker, in fact I just purchased a new one recently. It's worth spending extra, to ensure you buy a good one.

    My favourite dish in the slow cooker, is Arabian lamb (spicy!) and my husband also makes a mean Lamb Shanks, as well. I love how the house is filled all day, with the delicious smell of food cooking, too. Yum!

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    1. I was actually lucky enough to inherit my cooker from a friend who said she never used it (what??!!). Mmmmm....lamb - I just procured a freezer full from my dad and we've been doing heaps of slow cooked lamb shoulder. Arabian lamb sounds delish.
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  2. I've never had congee, so I'd like to try this recipe.
    What kind of rice did you use Laura? Does any white rice work (like basmati)?

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    1. Hey Nil, I think any rice would work. I just used a generic long grain rice. But you've got me thinking...I might try a risotto style rice next time and see if it makes a difference.
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  3. Ok, I've never tried congee but am totally going to try it now. The picture alone is making my mouth water. Short ingredients list AND made in the slow cooker?! I'm there. I only have brown rice in the house so might try it with that.
    I too inherited my slow cooker from a friend who wasn't using it! Sometimes I think we are living parallel lives, Laura! Cheers, Sally at One Family, One Planet blog

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    Replies
    1. Yes it's an all round winner Sally. I've never tried it with brown - I imagine it would take a lot longer to soften down. Not sure if you'd get the same creaminess - let us know how it goes (went).
      When I read your posts i get that same feeling!
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  4. I've never tried congee either but it sounds as though it might work perfectly with our leftover smoked pork. I think that's dinner tomorrow sorted!

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    1. Smoked pork will be a winner for sure. I told my husband about your filing cabinet smoker - such a great idea.

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  5. Hiya Laura, reporting in about our first congee tonight! Found a jar of white rice in the pantry so used it, didn't quite make 2 cups so made up the difference with brown rice which became not noticeable after several hours - I did have to add more than 9 cups of water though, so the brown rice may have affected that.
    Threw in a ham hock and later some soy, spring onions, coriander stalks and chard from the garden and a bit of sad broccoli from the fridge that had seen better days.
    Tasted it & thought it needed more salt so chucked in a few pinches.
    When I served it I put tamari, sesame oil, chilli salt, coriander, sliced radish and wedges of lemon (I know, a weird combination but weirdly it all worked!) on the table and we each added our own toppings to our own bowl. Everyone loved it. Thanks for introducing me to what I'm sure will become a staple winter comfort food around here :)
    Cheers, Sally from One Family, One Planet blog

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting us know how it went Sarah. Love the additions - sounds super tasty and not weird at all to me (but I love radish!). Glad to hear it's made it into the comfort food repertoire.

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