Wednesday, October 29, 2008
A search for congee recipes yielded many versions, from single ingredient to head-scratching combinations like watermelon rind and dried shrimp to sweet and savoury versions of the famous Eight Treasure (ba bao) congee. (Though 'Eight Treasure' anything on a Chinese menu is often whatever eight things happen to be lying around the kitchen.) I noticed that dried seafood, dried fruit, and dried mushrooms showed up a lot.
Wanting more hands-on research, I tried fresh mushrooms, even cooking them first. I think their flavour must be fat soluble though, because the congee smothered it. I also tried adding any fresh green thing I had on hand - delicate greens that cook quickly worked, things like broccoli didn't. Eventually I settled on three elements: something to give the congee flavour (like dried mushrooms), something to break up the texture (pressed tofu and the tendony parts of turkey), and chopped up green stuff to give it some colour and make it healthy.
For this version I used two cups of congee mix (see first congee post for details) and added two tablespoons of diced pressed tofu, two tablespoons of diced turkey, a couple handfuls of chopped greens, and three diced reconstituted shiitake mushrooms. I had to add a little more water and salt, and simmered everything just for about five minutes until it was ready. Made two big bowls.
Posted by Pepper at 7:50 AM