Food & Drink

How to get real congee feel and flavour?

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[OP]
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How to get real congee feel and flavour?

I've tried to make congee in a pot, in a slow cooker, in an Instant pot. It never has that distinct taste and texture found in the Chinese restaurants. I use jasmine rice.

Anyone care to share the secret of the recipe?
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Nov 22, 2015
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Catnippy wrote: I've tried to make congee in a pot, in a slow cooker, in an Instant pot. It never has that distinct taste and texture found in the Chinese restaurants. I use jasmine rice.

Anyone care to share the secret of the recipe?
Use calrose rice. And MSG
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Perhaps I'm too easily satisfied but I use a very simple method with the most basic ingredients and have always gotten a creamy, fluffy, restaurant-esque congee. I think the one thing I do that might be different is that I coat the rice with oil first. My basic white congee recipe:

  • 1/2 cup rinsed plain Jane jasmine rice, drained.
  • Stir in 1 Tbsp oil (not olive) and let soak a couple of hrs or overnight.
  • Simmer rice in 4.5 cups water (9:1 water:rice ratio) for 1.5 hrs or until it has the desired fluffy consistency. Add more water in small (1/2 cup) quantities as needed during the cook - usually towards the end when the congee starts to get thick and you can judge the desired consistency. STIR THE BOTTOM OFTEN!
  • Salt, white pepper, chopped green onion garnish to taste.

Note: I don't recommend cooking congee in an Instant Pot (nor any device like a rice cooker where you're forced to let it complete it's program before you can adjust the in-progress results). It gives you no opportunity to adjust consistency throughout the cooking. I suppose it's OK if you've got the timing down pat for a given quantity of rice and water but inflexible when you want to change the amount you make. Just my opinion. If you have the timing and amount perfected, then I notice no difference in taste for the same ingredients in an IP vs regular pot.
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cornstarch and MSG/chicken stock powder
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blarg wrote: cornstarch and MSG/chicken stock powder
Good real stock can enhance the flavour but if you only have Knorr's poweded chicken stock, I wouldn't bother. MSG? I never tried to add it in congee and never felt that it needed it so I can't say. Cornstarch? Definite 100% no since the rice is already starchy and thickens on it's own; the only variable is the water to rice ratio that you start with.

I can't stress enough - simpler is better!
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Sep 21, 2010
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Just get a congee/soymilk/etc maker, mine is an older model by now, can get it less than 100$, perfect congee all the time, don't need to watch over it.

.Rice
.water
.Sprinkle of salt
.Some sesame oil
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Blend it to hell and back and salad and pepper to taste.
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Firstly - stop using the Instant Pot - love mine, but garbage for rice or congee.

Soak your rice - any long grained rice will do - no need for calrose, jasmine works fine. Soak for at least a couple of hours to soften rice.

Use chicken stock if possible for best results, (store bought canned ones work well too) but "chicken powder" will suffice. I like to use at least 2/3 of stock for the liquid portion. If getting fancy - add chicken or turkey drumstick/wings for additional flavor.

Ensure you got a proper liquid to rice ratio. Different congee styles will require different ratios.


Finally finish your congee at high heat if you're looking to get the HK style "silkiness"
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Gotta add ginger for some extra zing.
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grind the rice in a vitamix before cooking for the texture.
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What recipe are you using now?
You're probably missing key ingredients.
nioero wrote: grind the rice in a vitamix before cooking for the texture.
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[OP]
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I use 1 cup jasmine rice (washed not soaked), salt, oil, ginger, red date, dried tangerine peel with 6 cups water. Bring to boil, simmer for 4 hours with lid half on pot. Then I add white pepper and spring onion before eating.
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the trick is to wash your rice before hand (drain water), add a bit of salt and oil (mix it), then FREEZE it overnight (or long enough that its completely frozen). Add the frozen rice into the hot boiling water. The extreme temp difference will make the congee fluffy.
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This rainy and wet Sunday afternoon, I sure could use a delicious bowl of hot seafood congee right about now. Smiling Face With Open Mouth
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DiceMan wrote: Good real stock can enhance the flavour but if you only have Knorr's poweded chicken stock, I wouldn't bother. MSG? I never tried to add it in congee and never felt that it needed it so I can't say. Cornstarch? Definite 100% no since the rice is already starchy and thickens on it's own; the only variable is the water to rice ratio that you start with.

I can't stress enough - simpler is better!
Sounds like they want that restaurant flavor. Which is corn starch, and msg all the way.

I remember as a kid... i loved the texture of velveted beef. Where they tenderize/marinade the shit out of beef into a mushy pulp for beef fried noodles.

Sure a slice of fresh whole some beef is great... but Cantonese restaurant food has this certain quAlity to it.

But i wouldnt advise eating like that everyday hehehe
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UrbanPoet wrote: Which is corn starch, and msg all the way.
There's definitely chicken powder but I don't recall corn starch in it.
I'll dig up my recipe books later tonight to see what the steps are.
MSG might obviously be a thing in some restaurants too. I mean like MSG powder not the MSG that's in the chicken powder.
I remember as a kid... i loved the texture of velveted beef. Where they tenderize/marinade the shit out of beef into a mushy pulp for beef fried noodles.

Sure a slice of fresh whole some beef is great... but Cantonese restaurant food has this certain quAlity to it.
Right? It's certainly not "beef" as we know it any more but it's good for a whole host of other reasons.
I actually did this to a whole ungraded strip once. Shared it with a couple of my friends.
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I used to eat almost nothing but this stuff for the 1st 5 years of my life, and have hardly (or most likely) not touched the stuff in over 50 years since.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
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UrbanPoet wrote:
Sounds like they want that restaurant flavor. Which is corn starch, and msg all the way.

I remember as a kid... i loved the texture of velveted beef. Where they tenderize/marinade the shit out of beef into a mushy pulp for beef fried noodles.

Sure a slice of fresh whole some beef is great... but Cantonese restaurant food has this certain quAlity to it.

But i wouldnt advise eating like that everyday hehehe
I'll say again that I'm probably too easily satisfied! MSG, I just can't say - I've never used it in congee. But I've never understood putting cornstarch in it. I've always been very happy with how the starchy rice alone thickens itself. Too thin - add more rice next time. Too thick - add more water/stock during cooking. To my simple taste buds, my congee usually turns out pretty close to restaurant quality.
death_hawk wrote: Right? It's certainly not "beef" as we know it any more but it's good for a whole host of other reasons.
I actually did this to a whole ungraded strip once. Shared it with a couple of my friends.
Yeah, the velveting of beef (and also chicken and pork) in Chinese restaurants is certainly different. I was trying to create it for years. Then I ran across the technique of coating beef strips with baking soda for about 15/20 min (then rinsing off baking soda) prior to stir-frying. The texture is 100% correct. I've also heard of other Asian velveting/tenderizing techniques like pineapple juice and 7-up(!) but have never tried those.
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Catnippy wrote: I've tried to make congee in a pot, in a slow cooker, in an Instant pot. It never has that distinct taste and texture found in the Chinese restaurants. I use jasmine rice.

Anyone care to share the secret of the recipe?
MSG is the secret. I think they add corn starch to make the liquid more gooey.

I wouldn't consider the Chinese restaurant versions to be "authentic". Congee has roots as a "poor man" food. Home cooked congee would generally be lighter in taste, and much more runny. I don't mentally associate congee as a gourmet food. It's something families make for you when you are sick, or otherwise need something easy to digest.
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@DiceMan

True... OP is using all these kitchen appliances...

You need to just simmer this out on the stove. Then use your intuition, eye, and taste to get it to the right texture. It speeds it up to use left over cooked rice.

Add

-chicken powder for a savoury taste enhancement
-slice or two of ginger. It adds a layer of flavour to it

Then you can add whatever your optional meat is.

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