Fresh Crab Congee

Fresh Crab Congee

Fresh Crab Congee

Soup Name

Fresh Crab Congee

Traditional Chinese Name:  

蟹粥 (xiè zhōu)

 

This crab congee is super easy to make! The key ingredient really is just the crab.  It’s a warming, traditional comfort food that can also be luxurious and delicious. If you get nice female crabs, the roe comes all out into the soup and really adds a special flavour.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 40 mins

Total time: 55 mins

Serves: 6 bowls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of white rice

  • 10 cups of water (to start)

  • 6-7 dried scallops or conpoys

  • 7-8 slices of fresh chicken strips

  • 2 fresh female crabs, prepared and quartered

  • 1 tablespoon of preserved Chinese vegetables

  • fresh spring onions

Cooking Instructions

  1. Prepare the crab (see my post on fresh crab on preparation), cut into quarters and set aside
  2. Prepare the fresh chicken by cutting in thin strips
  3. Begin to boil your water and throw in the rice using high heat
  4. Stir every once in awhile to ensure that the congee doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot
  5. When the water boils, add in chicken strips, dried scallops (or conpoys)
  6. When the water boils again, throw in the prepared crab
  7. Continue to stir the congee occasionally and add one cup of boiling water as it thickens. How thin or thick is a personal preference, so you can add less or more water as you desire.
  8. Reduce heat to a medium simmer, cover the pot and let it continue to boil for another 30 minutes. Revisit the pot to stir it, ensuring you stir it right from the bottom.
  9. Add in the preserved Chinese vegetables and mix again.
  10. Let it boil for another 5 minutes.
  11. Serve and top with your favourite toppings such as fresh parsley, green onions, chives or any of the delicious preserved Chinese goodies like garlic, radish, baby cucumbers or pork floss

Here’s how I made it!

To start, you’ll need: 2 fresh live crabs, fresh chicken slices, ginger slices, fresh green onions, dried scallops, and preserved Chinese vegetables (as shown).

I’ve made this many times trying different types of crab.  The best and most flavourful crabs ideal for congee are smaller crabs that really aren’t as expensive (at around $70 HKD per crab). While they are smaller, the seem to seep a crab-y and seafood, ocean flavour into the congee, including the roe and cream of the crab into the soup.  I’ve also tried more expensive crab (at around $170 HKD per crab) which had more meat, but somehow, it was more just crab by itself and the congee by itself – the two never really blended.  But definitely explore yourself and see what works best for you and your family.

You can see my other post on how to prepare fresh crab. A few tips:

  • Using a big knife, chop off the sharp edges of the legs, shell, claws and any other sharp parts
  • Using also the back side of a big knife, create cracks in the legs and hard places (so that you can easily eat it out of the congee)
  • Do not throw away any of the eggs, roe, or cream (found at the head primarily) – the Chinese call these the best parts!
  • Buy female crabs

Slice the fresh chicken into thin strips. How much you use is really up to you. Since I like my protein, I tend to add more protein everywhere I go! The dried scallops can also be rinsed under warm water ahead of use. And take a few slices of fresh ginger. I tend to keep the pieces quite large so that I can isolate them in the congee and not scoop them out. I also don’t use a lot as I am not a fan of ginger and neither are the children, but you do need a little bit to eliminate any fishy taste in the congee, although I find the crab doesn’t really emit this. 

Start boiling your congee water (the bigger the pot, the better!) it’s easier to add more hot water than let it reduce to the appropriate amount. I’ll throw in the rice right away and wait until the water boils. Once it boils, I will add in the chicken, scallops, and ginger.

    Once that boils, then feel free to add in the prepared crab. Be sure to stir this pretty often to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.  This will also help keep the heat even throughout the pot as it might be quite crowded with all the stuff inside.

    Boil this on medium heat for another 30 minutes.  The rice will thicken and you can add a cup of boiling water (or really hot water from the nice Chinese hot water boilers) to thin it out.  How thick you’d like your soup is completely up to personal preference. I like my congee a bit thinner, with more liquid, but this is up to you.

    When it’s almost done (with about another 5 minutes until serving), throw in a handful of preserved Chinese vegetables.  I use a very specific one that comes in a ceramic pot and is called “dong choy”.  It’s very salty, so use with caution. I don’t add any additional salt after that.

      When ready, serve and enjoy! I also top with chives or parsley or fresh green onions.  There’s also some other cool Chinese condiments that go with congee, such as preserved baby cucumbers, radish, onions, shallots, dried pork floss, or vinegar soaked garlic.

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        Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

        Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

        Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

        Soup Name

        Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup

        Traditional Chinese Name:  

        蘋果雪梨燉雞湯 (píng guǒ xuě lí dùn jī tāng)

         

        For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

        My second project using the new double-boiler! I found a very simple, but delicious apple and pear Chinese soup with pork and chicken and Chinese herbs. This is a pretty traditional Chinese soup and can be made both with or without double-boiling. The purpose of double-boiling is really to maintain density of the flavours and lock in (better than regular boiling) all that goodness. I’d almost argue that using a thermal pot is similar to double-boiling. Double-boiled soups are normally made in the winter because they can be more potent and provide extra punch and warmth. This soup is awesomely yummy! It is designed to help soothe and moisten the throat and lungs. Most Chinese double-boiled soups use both chicken and pork. Even if you use a silkie chicken, the Chinese will throw in a small piece of pork shank. This makes the soup very sweet and rich in flavours.

        What’s involved?

        Prep time: 30 mins

        Cook time: 3 hours and 30 minutes in double boiler

        Total time: 4 hours 

        Serves: 4-6 bowls

        Ingredients

        To start, soak you herbs in warm water to soften. You can also scrub the Chinese Yam in running water before soaking to rinse off the sulphur that is sometimes used to process it. I just eyeball the amount of each herbs depending on the size of the pot, so it’s literally a handful of this and handful of that.

        Prepare your meats by removing as much fat as possible. This means, going with lean pork shank and removing all the skin and fat from the chicken. I tried to get as small as a chicken as possible because my pot isn’t that big – in a previous post, I used chicken drumsticks – which work perfectly because of their size, portions and you get both bone and meat. In a separate pot, blanch the meats in boiling hot water for 5 minutes to remove scum, oil, dirt, blood and any extras that like to make their way out of the bones and meat and into your soup. Once blanched, remove the meat from the soup and set aside to cool and to add to your soup later.

        Keep the skin on the apples and snow pears. Firstly, this will help keep them intact and not disintegrate too much into the soup and secondly, it will help you scoop it out when you need to. Plus, the skin has its own unique flavour too – just be sure to rinse really well!
        Start boiling your double-boiler (inner pot) outside on the stove with half the volume of water that the container will hold. It’s easier to add more water later if you need to top up. When the water more or less boils, throw all the ingredients into the pot. In my case, I can say OOPS! I was still missing one snow pear and 1 apple and ended up removing the ends of the drumsticks to make it all squeeze in. See, it’s all sticking out!

        Cover (if you can) and set to let it boil on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Do note that snow pears actually RELEASE more water as it boils, so the risk that it spills over is almost certain!

        After 30 minutes of medium boil, turn off the heat and let the pot cool. Once it cools sufficiently for you to put into its outer double-boiler, add the inner pot into the larger outer pot. You can add water later – but when you add water to the outer pot – add hot water! This will reduce the temperature flux of your inner pot. Fill it with enough water so that you can cover the inner double-boiler and this outer pot water won’t spill into the double-boiler. Cover and set on a low boil (you can still see small bubbles) for about 3 hours.

         

        You’ll know your soup is progressing well when you see the pears and apples and colour of the soup turn into a rich golden liquid. Most double-boiled soups some in this golden colour and you’ll know that the flavours are intense and rich.

        Once your soup is ready, scoop out whatever you’d like and serve HOT! NO SALT NEEDED! That’s how sweet it is! Some people will like to eat the meats, dipped on soy sauce – by all means, do it! The meat is delicious as well. In my situation, I had leftover fruit, so I simply drank 2 bowls the size of rice bowls, threw in the rest of the fruit and added some more water and continued to double-boil it for another hour until dinner. Enjoy! I certainly did!

        Cooking Instructions

        1. Soak all the Chinese herbs in warm water. You can rinse the dried Chinese yams under running water and rub them to remove any sulphur from the drying process.
        2. Prepare the meat by cutting in to large bite-size, removing all skin and fat.
        3. In a separate pot of boiling water, blanch all the meat in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Set aside when finished.
        4. Cut, core, remove seeds and cut the apples and pears into large bite-sizes, keeping on the skin.
        5. Boil you soup water at half capacity in the double-boiler.
        6. When the water boils, add all the ingredients into it and top up with hot water (or boiling water from a kettle).
        7. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes.
        8. Turn off heat and set to cool enough that you can move the pot into the outer double-boiler pot.
        9. Put inner pot into outer pot and fill with enough water to cover up to at least 3/4 of the inner pot.
        10. Boil on low heat (minimal bubbles) for 3 hours.
        11. Serve and enjoy – soup stuff included!

        For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

         

         

         

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        Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup

        Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup

        Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup

        I had to try my new double-boiling Chinese soup pot, so specifically sourced some nice Korean Ginseng ($100 HKD for 2 pieces) so I could make double-boiled ginseng soup with chicken (and pork). I love the genuine taste of Ginseng, it’s smooth and golden. And I love it in soups even more! Using the simplest of herbs, the soup takes a solid 3 hours in the double-boiler – but comes out rich, delicious and bursting full of flavours. Truly one of my favourite double-boiled goodies.

        The benefits of ginseng and chicken soup are also numerous. Ginseng is usually described as “nourishing life” and the effects of the double-boiler, which maintains the soup at a lower heat without disturbing the ingredients physically, enable the flavours and efficacy of the ginger to permeate throughout the soup. The soup enhance immune functions and make body functions strong like the heart, lungs and spleen.

        Soup Name

        Double-boiled Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup

        Traditional Chinese Name:  

        人參雞湯 (rén sēn jī tāng)

         

        For recipes and videos, visit us on YouTube.

        What’s involved?

        Prep time: 15 mins

        Cook time: 3 hours in double boiler

        Total time: 3 hours and 15 mins 

        Serves: 4-5 bowls

        Ingredients

        The ingredients include: Fresh Korean ginseng, pork, chicken, dried red dates, dried Chinese Yam, and dried longans. I used chicken drumsticks instead of a whole chicken (which is usually recommended). The constraints you’re working with include the size of your double-boiler. In most cases, double-boilers need to fit inside another pot, so unless you’re got a restaurant-sized soup pot, you are restricted to the size of your double-boiling pot to fit the ingredients.

         

        To keep the soup as “skinny” as possible, I removed the skin and as much fat as I could. Then I chopped the drumsticks into 3’s so that I can compact the size of the ingredients to fit into the double-boiler. The same applied for the pork shank. I didn’t blanch the meat as both didn’t have that much fat and I rinsed them under cool water before throwing it into the soup to clean them.

        Keep the herbs simple. A mixture of these will suffice. Actually, my herbalist even suggested to just use dried Chinese Yam and that’s it, but I liked a little bit of sweetness and wanted to balance the coolness of the ginseng with the heaty of the dried longans just a little. If you’re scared that it’s too cooling, throw in 1-2 slices of ginger to balance it out.

        Start by boiling your soup water. To be honest, I am eye-balling everything, but I started with a half pot of water and decided that I could always add more water after fitting all the ingredients in. Once the water boils, throw in all the ingredients together and boil on high for about 30 minutes. This is still OUTSIDE of the double-boiler.

         

        The point of boiling it outside is to make sure everything is boiling inside and sufficiently cooking and mixing and bringing out nice flavours. I then turn off the stove and let it cool enough to bring the double-boiler into the pot to really begin the double-boiling process. Once inside the double-boiling pot, you can top it off with boiling water to ensure it’s full (more soup) and fill the double-boiling outside pot with warm or slightly hot water. Boil the outside pot until it really boils and then reduce to a very, very, very small boil and keep it tightly covered.

        Double-boil it for about 3 hours and when it’s done, the soup will be a rich, golden colour and smell delicious. The house permeates with this ginseng fragrance and it’s beautiful.

         

        I recommend directly serving from the double-boiler to the bowl.  No salt is needed. Enjoy!!!

        Variations to the soup can include using the black, silkie chicken instead. They are definitely smaller, so hopefully will fit – but in general, this soup is made with both chicken and pork. You can also change up some of the herbs to include maybe the large dried dates, Astragalus Root,  wolfberries, or Codonopsis Pilosula Root.

        Cooking Instructions

        1. Boil 1 separate pot of water to blanch your protein
        2. You can also begin to boil your pot of soup water in the thermal pot with the 3L of cold water
        3. Prepare your chicken any way you’d like.  I tend to quarter it and reserve the breast for another meal, using only the legs and bones.
        4. In your blanching pot, drop in the chicken bones and meat into the boiling water and blanch for 5-6 minutes, or until the water re-boils.
        5. Slice the wintermelon into large pieces, keeping the skin on.
        6. Using gloves, peel the Chinese (or Japanese) Yam and cut into large 2-inch thick pieces
        7. Cut the gobo root into 2 inch long pieces, keeping the skin on
        8. When your soup water boils, transfer the meat, add in the dried herbal ingredients, and all the roots and wintermelon
        9. Boil on high for 30 minutes
        10. Transfer for a thermal pot for another 4 hours to let it finish cooking
        11. Serve and enjoy!

        For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

         

         

         

        Chef tips:

        • Ceramic double boilers are the best, especially what you put the soup in.  You can use a metal outer double boiler, but ceramic or glass as best for boiling the soup

         

        • The Chinese double-boiled soups tend to have more than one protein (chicken + pork) as that really create the intense flavours that double-boiled soups are for

         

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        Papaya and Peanuts in Pork Broth

        Papaya Peanuts in Pork Broth

         

        My mother-in-law made this soup one day and it was so simply brilliant, that I tried it myself. I am a fan of boiled peanuts and papaya is a neutrally healthy fruit to add to soups. You can use either unripe red papayas or green papayas. The red papayas are definitely sweeter, but you need to use the unripe ones so they don’t disintegrate too badly in the soup. The green papayas aren’t as sweet, but have a lingering sweet taste that’s quite delicious in itself. I loaded in the peanuts and eat them as a meal – yum!

        Soup Name: Papaya and Peanuts in Pork Broth

        Traditional Chinese Name: 木瓜花生豬骨湯 (mù gua huā shēng zhū gǔ tāng)

        Papaya and Peanuts in Pork Broth
        Recipe Type: Soup
        Cuisine: Chinese
        Author: LadyTong
        Prep time:
        Cook time:
        Total time:
        Serves: 8
        Ingredients
        • 100g raw [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/peanuts/”]peanuts[/url]
        • 2 raw [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/papaya/”]green papayas[/url]
        • 1 pound of fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]pork shank[/url]
        • 10 large [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/large-dried-dates/”]dried dates[/url]
        • 2 L of water
        Instructions
        1. Start boiling your soup water in a large pot (thermal ideal)
        2. In a smaller pot, bring enough water to cover the pork shank to a boil and blanch the pork for 5 minutes in the boiling water, remove when done
        3. Cut the papayas into large cubes
        4. When your soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
        5. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes (ensuring a constant boil)
        6. Reduce heat to a low boil for another 1 hour (or place into thermal pot)
        7. Serve and enjoy!

         

        Papaya_peanut_pork_broth_02

        Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

        Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

        Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

        Soup Name:

        Watercress and Chestnuts in Roasted Pork Soup

        Traditional Chinese Name:

        西洋菜栗子燒豬湯 (xīyáng cài lì zi shāo zhū tāng)

         

        Waste not! Want not! I’ve used the remains of a roasted piglet (from a banquet) to make a delicious watercress and chestnut soup. Usually, people don’t eat the head, feet and tail of the roasted piglet, so I took home the head! It creates a very rich, delicious broth and great as a soup base for almost any ingredients.

        My vegetable vendor suggested watercress because of the recent change in weather and everyone was getting sore throats and was heaty.

        Well, actually that’s because my sister is going through confinement, so all we eat is ginger pork feet and it sets our body on fire! Combined together with the roasted piglet head are chestnuts and dried scallops to bring a tang of sweetness to the already salty soup base. There are plenty of things around the house you can find as leftover for soups!

        • This soup is naturally flavored (slightly salty from the roasted piglet)
        • It is a great cooling soup for sore throats, heaty bodies and cold-sore ridden mouths (or acne)
        • Really,  no additives needed (salt or sugar)
        • Great for kids
        • The watercress can be eaten as cooked veggies, so scoop more with the soup (or some people like to scoop it all out and serve it as a separate dish)

        What’s involved?

        Prep time: 15 mins

        Cook time: 1 hour

        Total time: 1 hours 15 mins

        Serves: 4 bowls

        Ingredients

        Cooking Instructions

        1. Boil a small pot of water (for the chestnuts). When the water boils, add in the chestnuts to boil for 5 minutes
        2. If you can, immediately peel the chestnuts (as its easiest to peel when it’s still hot)
        3. Boil your soup water
        4. When you soup water boils, add in the roasted piglet head, peeled chestnuts, and conpoys
        5. Boil on medium-high heat for 1 hour
        6. Ten minutes before serving your soup, add in the watercress (or depending on how crunchy you like it, you can adjust the timing to cook the watercress)
        7. Serve and enjoy!

        Bitter Melon and Preserved Sour Vegetable Soup

        Soup Name: Bitter Melon and Preserved Sour Vegetable Soup (in Pork Broth)

        Traditional Chinese Name:  苦瓜酸菜湯 (Kǔ guā suan cai tāng)

        Introduction:
        This soup is a delight of two tastes. The first is an appetizing sour taste and it finished off with a golden, rich, bitterness. It’s a unique soup that is designed for the bridging season of Summer and Autumn and helps cool the body and aid in digestion. If you like it more sour, you can add more preserved sour vegetable and if you like it more bitter, then more bitter melon. This soup also doesn’t really need salt as the preserved veggies are already salted.

         

        What Ingredients are required?

        500 g of pork shank
        1 large fresh bitter melon, seeded and sliced
        100 g of preserved/salted mustard greens, largely sliced (more if you want it more sour)
        50 g of yellow beans

        2 L of water


        How do I prepare it?

        1. Start boiling your soup water
        2. Boil pork for 5 minutes in a separate pot of water to blanch it
        3. Drain pork and set aside
        4. When your soup water boils, all add the ingredients together
        5. Boil with a cover on medium heat for 1 hour
        6. Serve and enjoy!

        Any benefits?

        • This soup is naturally flavored (slightly salty, sour and bitter)
        • It is a refreshing soup to drink when it’s particularly hotter
        • A great appetizer
        • This soup aids in digestion
        • The vegetarian version is to simply remove the meat and tastes just as great!

        Any precautions?

        • It can be a bit cooling (due to the bitter melon), so if you’re concerned about cooling soups, take caution
        • Women on menstruation or first trimester of pregnancy should avoid too cooling soups as it causes potential contractions

        Similar soups: