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.
Prepare the crab (see my post on fresh crab on preparation), cut into quarters and set aside
Prepare the fresh chicken by cutting in thin strips
Begin to boil your water and throw in the rice using high heat
Stir every once in awhile to ensure that the congee doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot
When the water boils, add in chicken strips, dried scallops (or conpoys)
When the water boils again, throw in the prepared crab
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.
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.
Add in the preserved Chinese vegetables and mix again.
Let it boil for another 5 minutes.
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.
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.
Soup Name: Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup
Traditional Chinese Soup Name: 蘋果雪梨燉雞湯 (píng guǒ xuě lí dùn jī tāng)
To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.
For this recipe, you’ll need: A bunch of Chinese herbs (in mine, I have dried dates, dried longans, dried conpoys or scallops, dried Chinese yam, and wolfberries), some pork, a whole chicken, fuji apples, and snow pears.
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.
Soaking herbs ready for soup
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.
My overly ambitious portions of meat – a mix of pork and chicken
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!
Adding all the ingredients into the double-boiler
Double-boil for 30 minutes first
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!
My double-boiled soup now overspilling!
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.
The double-boiler inside an outer pot
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.
Rich soup colour of the double-boiled soup when it’s almost ready
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!
Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Soup
Double-boiled Apple and Pear Chinese Herbal Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Serves: 6 soup bowls
1 whole fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chicken-whole/”]chicken[/url], cut small (skin removed)
1/2 pound of fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]pork shank[/url], cut small
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/scallops-dried-conpoy/”]dried conpoy[/url]
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/wolfberries-dried/”]dried wolfberries[/url]
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/longan-dried/”]dried longans[/url]
1 tablespoon of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/red-dates/”]dried red dates[/url]
3 pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chinese-yam-dried/”]dried Chinese Yam[/url]
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)
To see the full recipe, scroll down to skip my commentary.
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.
Chicken drumsticks for soup
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.
Herbs for Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup
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.
The double-boiler inside the outside pot
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.
Beautiful double-boiled soup ready for drinking!
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.
Double-boiled Korean Ginseng and Chicken Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Serves: 6 bowls
3 fresh [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/chicken-whole/”]chicken drumsticks[/url], skinned and chopped into 3 parts
2 fresh pieces of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/korean-ginseng/”]Korean ginseng[/url]
1/2 pound of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/pork-shank/”]fresh pork shank[/url], cubed
10 [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/red-dates/”]dried red dates[/url]
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
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
Start boiling your soup water in a large pot (thermal ideal)
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
Cut the papayas into large cubes
When your soup water boils, add all the ingredients together
Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes (ensuring a constant boil)
Reduce heat to a low boil for another 1 hour (or place into thermal pot)
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)
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)
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.