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Seductions of Rice: White Rice, Black Rice, Congee: The Chinese Way

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  1. I made jook last night/this morning (pp. 65-6) with a lot of modifications. We don't eat pork, so used ground turkey thigh, and less garlic, because I'd cut the recipe in half to serve two. Also didn't have any long grain white rice, so used sukoyaki genmai, American grown partially polished shorter grain rice. Finally, peanut allergy in the household, so roasted cashews to garnish, along with the recommended scallions (from teh garden!,) coriander, and pickled mustard greens, salt and pepper. Actually, I don't think they specify which pickled vegetable, but I had mustard greens. I like jook or congee thick, so used a minimum of water. It was tasty, a good basic recipe.

    5 Replies
    1. re: amyzan

      I had congee almost every morning when I was in China, I had almost forgotten. I liked it with bits of pork, scallions, pickles and peanuts, but there was usually a wide array of possible additions. It was like a comforting, savory porridge. Thanks for reporting on this entry, I'll have to give it a try!

      1. re: amyzan

        Mmm. Sounds yummy...wish I could smell it when you were making it. (Just realizing now that sounds vaguely creepy). I love the smell of coriander and scallions together. Also culantro if there's any. My aunt loves those mustard greens...thanks for the inspiration, I will make some this Sunday!

        1. re: amyzan

          Had congee for the first time while on vacation in Australia and immediately fell in love with it. Have been too busy (and away) to make it, but must do so soon.
          When I had it, there were many condiments sitting around that you could use. I used sesame oil, soy sauce, chopped scallions and a bit of cubed tofu. Was this a reasonable way to go? I don't eat pork. Anyway, it was delicious.

          1. re: LulusMom

            The beauty of rice porridge is that you can put anything you want into it. At my parents' house, it's usually heated up leftovers as well as side dishes of pickled cucumbers (from a jar and they are dark brown), bamboo shoots and fermented tofu.

            This always tastes best to me, after traveling. Something about it just settles my stomach. And, turkey bones are great to use especially if you have a few hours to really let the collagen break down into the rice porridge.

            Lastly, a funny story. Before C and I were married, he arrived at my parents' house before me. My mom fed him rice porridge with the assorted condiments. C ate it, liked it, but was thinking, wow, she really added way too much water to the rice. It's really watery. He had never had it before and didn't realize that's what it's supposed to be like.

            1. re: beetlebug

              Great story about your husband!!

              Thanks for the info on being able to eat it with whatever suits. I'll look for the pickled cucumbers to try. The tofu I tried it with seemed like just the regular stuff I cooked with, but I had somewhere gotten the idea that one was supposed to only eat that cooked, so not sure. I found a recipe on epicurious for congee made with a chicken, and think that will likely be the first I try, although yesterday I noticed that Simon Hopkinson has a veg version in his vegetarian book.

        2. I've never had jook/juk/congee, so I just now read about it in the COTM book. It sounds sort of like fried rice, you can add nearly anything, but this is "creamy" rather than dry. And it's for breakfast, not dinner.

          1. Quick and Easy Chinese, greens page 85,
            with Chinese Black Rice, from page 64.

            I got a bag of mixed Asian braising greens in the CSA box this week, so although they were not the type of greens specified in the recipe, it seemed like the proper treatment. My greens included mizuna, tatsoi, chard, red spinach, kale buds, broccoli raab, and arugula. I used purple spring onions where scallions were specified. These were a bit bigger than scallions, so I cut them in shorter pieces (they look almost like scallops in the photo).

            Garlic, scallions, and ginger are stir fried for 30 seconds, then the greens are added and cooked for a scant couple minutes. Then a mixture of chicken stock, oyster sauce, Chinese wine, soy sauce, and sugar is added to the greens for a three minute simmer. Near the end, cornstarch mixed in water is added and the pot is stirred until the mixture thickens.

            I thought this was quite a tasty treatment for the greens. The sauce has a good flavor, but does not overwhelm the fresh green taste. I served this with plain black rice. The Chinese black rice has a nice nutty taste, but is plain enough to make a good foil for sauces. It is not a glutinous rice, and the grains remain separate, and retain a pleasant toothy texture. I followed the recipe unthinkingly, and it makes a LOT of rice, so now I have a big tub of cooked black rice in search of a new treatment.

             
            6 Replies
            1. re: L.Nightshade

              There's a Lao dessert that mixes the black rice with sticky rice and sweetened coconut milk. Garnish with coconut and sesame seed so there's an idea for what to do with some extra black rice. Some people add a sprinkling of sweetened yellow mung bean but I don't like the mung bean.

              1. re: S_K

                This sounds good to me. Do you think it would work with this Chinese black rice? It is non-glutinous, unlike Thai black rice. But maybe mixed with sticky rice it could work. It's worth a try, I think, thanks for the suggestion!

                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  Yeah I think it would work if there is enough sticky rice, let me know how it goes! :)

                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    I think you should use black sticky rice. I don't know for certain that non-sticky black rice wouldn't work, but sticky black rice is a core ingredient of that classic dessert. It has to steam for a long time, and in so doing it leaks its dye all over the white sticky rice. I suspect that the non-glutinous black rice wouldn't leak so the end product will be mottled. I don't know what the texture would be like but I would guess that it would end up too mushy.

                2. re: L.Nightshade

                  Quick and Easy Chinese Greens, Pg. 85

                  We made this very simple but tasty stir-fry twice. The first time with bok choy, the second time with mustard greens. Each vegetable has it's own unique flavor and although the sauce is the same each dish seemed different. I followed the recipe just as L. Nightshade wrote so not much for me to mention, the directions are quite clear. This is a very good basic vegetable stir-fry recipe. Not having bought any specialty rices yet I served the greens each time with plain steamed basmati.

                  1. re: Gio

                    I can't wait until my CSA ramps up this week so I can try this! Sounds so simple!

                    ~TDQ

                3. Everyday Sprouts, Pg. 80

                  I love bean sprouts. In fact I even eat the raw so I knew I was going to love this preparation and I did. It's a good extra side dish. Scallions and bean sprouts are stir-fried then soy sauce and rice vinegar are added and stir-fried for another minute. Place this on a plate and drizzle with toasted sesame oil. Simply delicious. This is my new snack.

                  It was served with plain steamed basmati rice and the Quick and Easy Chinese Greens (bok choy) on page 85. The main dish was Pork Cooked with Sugar (Thit Heo Kho Kho) a Vietnamese recipe on page 338 of Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Sounds great, Gio. Could you give rough quantities please as I don't have the book. Thanks.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Here you are, GG:

                      1 or 2 scallions
                      1/2 lb bean sprouts (3 cups)
                      scant 1/2 t salt
                      1/2 t soy sauce
                      1/2 rice vinegar
                      1/2 t roasted seasme oil

                      Enjoy...!

                    2. re: Gio

                      Since I cannot edit my post above...

                      The title of the Pork recipe should be Thjt Heo Kuo Kuo. I just hope what I typed in the report isn't an offensive word... (^.^)

                      1. re: Gio

                        Every Day Sprouts p. 80

                        Not too much too add other than I agree with Gio that this was simply delicious. This and the cucumber salad were addicting little nibbles.

                      2. Eggplant with Spicy Sesame Sauce, Variation, Pg. 86

                        Because we like the flavor and texture better we grilled the eggplant which was sliced in half instead of steaming them. This added greatly to the finished dish. I think they could be roasted as well. Still, the eggplant is wonderfully seasoned and yes, spicy...!

                        Either way you choose to cook it, when the eggplant is cool enough to handle cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half into slices on the bias, no longer than 3 inches each slice. Place into a shallow bowl.

                        Using a mini FP mix thoroughly: garlic, ginger, a pinch of salt, 3 T sesame paste, some warm chicken stock (vegetable stock or water), soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil and ground Sichuan pepper.
                        Stir in about 3 T minced scallions. before serving. Pour some of this sauce over the eggplant and gently combine. Serve the remaing sauce on the side.

                        This was fantastic. Kind of a variation of baba ganoush. I served it over steamed jasmine rice. It was delicious hot at dinner and cold the next day. It's great stuffed into a pita.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Gio

                          That sounds great, and I think grilling/roasting is a good idea - for some reason, steamed aubergine sounds quite unpleasant to me... I can't wait for my copy to arrive!

                          1. re: gembellina

                            i like grilled eggplant too, but have recently tried several recipes using steamed asian eggplant, and have been pleasantly surprised by the results.

                          2. re: Gio

                            So glad to find your review of this as well Gio, another dish on the menu tonight and I'm happy to have read this first as we'll be sure to grill our eggplant as well. Thanks!

                            1. re: Gio

                              eggplant with spicy sauce

                              We had this last night & quite liked it too. Not much to add to Gio's excellent report, except to mention that I used a micro-planer to grate my garlic and ginger and ended up with a bit stronger garlic flavor than I would've preferred. If I used this method again I would up the amount of ginger and reduce the garlic.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Eggplant w Spicy Sesame Sauce – p. 86

                                My turn w this dish and I’m happy to report that my eggplant averse mr bc pronounced this dish to be his favourite of the night and had 3…yes 3 helpings!! No leftovers here unfortunately! Prep and execution has been well-covered above so no need to repeat here.

                                Unfortunately I wasn’t able to obtain the Asian sesame paste so I made my own concoction by mixing tahini w some roasted sesame oil to heighten the sesame flavour. . . this seemed to do the trick. Like Gio, we elected to grill our eggplant. The book gives you a choice of basting the eggplant w sesame oil or chilli oil and we chose sesame. This really was delicious! Served at room temperature it made a lovely side dish that was unique in it’s texture, and flavour profile.

                                Happy to recommend this recipe, two chopsticks up from casa breadcrumbs!

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                1. re: Gio

                                  Eggplant w Spicy Sesame Sauce – p. 86

                                  Eggplants are growing like crazy and this was a great way to eat them. I steamed the eggplants and will try grilling/roasting next time. Spicy and loads of flavor we liked this very much.