Check out the video on how to create an awesome and delicious Japanese-styled shabu shabu in the comfort of your home with a chicken broth base from scratch.
Shabu shabu literally means “swish swish” in English and it is a pre-loaded hotpot with all your favourite ingredients such as white radish, carrots, leeks, a variety of leafy greens, a mix of Japanese mushrooms, firm (or soft tofu), and a selection of cute Japanese fish cakes. Perfect for the whole family and ideal for colder weather!
Serve with your choice of meats, seafood, more greens, fish balls, noodles or rice and you’ve got yourself a family favourite!
Introduction:What to do with a 19 pound turkey for a family of 6? Well, after carving it, you have more meat leftover than carcass and I’ve taken half of the carcass for congee and the other half for soup. Don’t forget to keep the skin as it’s roasted and delicious. The base is just turkey and congee rice, but I also decided to add roasted peanuts as part of the base. You can also add dried scallops, dried tofu skin, dried octopus as well. The garnishes are also very vast…. today I went with both century preserved duck eggs and preserved salted duck eggs, as well as preserved vegetables and green onions as there was no salt added to the congee.
What Ingredients are required?
1 half of a turkey carcass (bones)2 cups of turkey meat 2 cups of round congee rice 3/4 of a large pot of water fresh peeled peanuts salt to taste
How do I prepare it?
Boil your water first
In a shallow pan, add a teaspoon of oil and pan fry the peanuts on medium heat until they are a golden brown (this makes the congee more fragrant)
When you water boils, add in the congee rice and boil on high heat for 10 minutes, stirring the bottom ensuring it doesn’t stick
Add in the leftover turkey and peanuts and boil on high for another 5 minutes before reducing heat to low and cover (you can use a chopstick to prop it open so it doesn’t boil over) for one hour, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot
Serve, top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
This soup is naturally flavored (slightly salty from the turkey meat and bones)
Really, no additives needed (salt or sugar)
Great as a meal, for kids and the whole family
This is a great congee base for adding other ingredients
You can save this in the freezer for up to one month or in the fridge for consumption for up to 3 three (but reboil it before eating)
Be cautious of tiny bones if serving to children (although it’s unlikely if you have kept the turkey carcass together)
There are peanuts in this congee, so take care if you or someone is allergic to nuts
I was inspired to make this soup one day when I walked by the wet mart and saw the vendor carving up this giant fresh winter melon and I thought, “Gosh, that’s be amazing to use!”. I didn’t want to make a soup that day, but really wanted something savory, tasty, and soft. So another way to make winter melon is to stew it! And normally, you can pair winter melon with Chinese ham, but I went for a western spin and decided to make a fusion version with Parma Ham instead (which is equally salty).
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-5 people
1 slice of fresh winter melon (about 2-3 inches thick is good)
1 bowl of smaller dried Chinese mushrooms
1 bowl of fresh, cored gingko bilobas
1 pack of Parma Ham
9-10 cloves of fresh garlic
A sprinkling of preserved Chinese vegetables
Start by soaking the Chinese mushrooms in room temperature water for about an hour to soften them
I like to use giant butcher’s knives for chopping most things because the weight and leverage just lessens the work! Chop your winter melon into large-sized pieces, removing the seeds and keeping the skin. This will help keep in place as it softens in your stew and not disintegrate into a million pieces and become blah…
The go about removing the ends of the mushrooms. A sharp knife or kitchen scissors will do the job!
In your soup pot, with a bit of oil and on medium heat, pan fry the garlic cloves until they are brown (and smell yummy!), then you toss in the mushroom and pan fry for about 3 minutes.
Drop in the gingko bilobas and also fry for 3 minutes
Then you extract the Parma Ham and just place it on top of the other ingredients and stir slightly
Add in 2 cups of boiling water and a sprinkling of Chinese preserved vegetables and mix it altogether
Cover and boil for 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while so it doesn’t stick, or that you still have enough liquid in the pot
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.
Soup Name: Fresh Crab Congee
Traditional Chinese Soup Name: 蟹粥 (xiè zhōu)
For the whole recipe and to skip my commentary, scroll down.
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 below).
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
Fresh crab (for congee)
Prepared fresh crab (for congee)
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.
Fresh chicken strips for crab congee
Dried scallops for crab congee
Fresh ginger pieces
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.
The base congee
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.
Add in the crab to your congee base
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.
preserved Chinese vegetables aka dong choy
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
Here’s another version of the crab congee made with the larger crab. I used ground pork (and fresh corn) as well as part of the congee soup base. See? You can get pretty creative with the congee base.
Crab congee with ground pork and corn
Fresh Crab Congee
Recipe Type: Chinese Soup
Serves: 8 bowl
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
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.
Congee is one of the many comfort foods available within the Chinese cuisine. Nothing is simpler than pork congee and using this recipe as a base, you can actually go pretty far when loading it up with additions or adding different flavours. I use this especially when the children are sick and it’s a great first foods on top of baby cereal and smashed up vegetables.
The ingredients for the soup are: Dried scallops, skinny boneless pork cuts, long-grained rice, salt and water. To start, I usually start with really lean cuts of pork from the butcher and then cut them into large chunks that don’t shrivel up too small in the congee, but are small enough that the flavours come out. You can blanch the pork if you want, but being this thin of a cut, I usually don’t. I will however, salt the pork with about half a teaspoon of salt.
Begin to boil your water with cleaned rice. You can throw in the dried soaked scallops at this time, but the meat usually goes into the water when it boils.
Once the water boils, add in the fresh pork and let it boil on high for about 5 minutes and then reduce to a medium boil for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom doesn’t stick and making sure it doesn’t boil over. At this time, I will transport the pot into my thermal cooker to let it bake some more. I also tend to add more water than normal because I like my congee watery!
The Kiddie Version
For the child with the stomach flu, this is what she got. Plain congee with some Japanese rice flavouring. She lapped it up, 3 bowls in a row. This is also why the extra water helps – get more liquid into her system.
Here’s my upgraded, “souped up”, adult version of the congee. It’s really a fabulous comfort food in that you can add anything like:
pickled vegetables (like radishes, cucumbers)
salted fish (Chinese-styled)
preserved black bean fish (Chinese-styled)
preserved and spicy tofu (foo-yu)
green onions or parsley
and the list goes on and on if you get creative enough
This is another one of those great recipes that are handed down through generations. I got this from an Auntie who is an amazing cook and simplified this recipe so that it’s so simple and yet, tastes so good! You can use a variety of rib cuts – I’ve made it with the traditional Chinese spare ribs cut (pictured here), but also made it using baby back ribs, too. When I make this, I use the measurements as a base, but adjust it as it cooks. I know some people prefer it sweeter or more sour or more salty, so definitely sample your cooking as you go!
Dish Name: Sweet and Sour Pork with Ginger(for Chinese Confinement)
Traditional Chinese Name: 糖醋排骨 (Táng cù páigǔ)
Scroll down for the full printable recipe.
For this recipe, I will use a fatter cut of meat. This is because it stews for quite some time and you don’t want the pork to dry out and shrivel up into dried pork. Over time, the fat will come out and you can simply scoop it out before consumption.
Sweet and Sour Pork (fresh spare ribs)
I will also rinse the pork in warm water when I get them from the vendor (just in case). Then throw it into a stainless steel pot and follow this simple base for recipe. It’s basically 1-2-3 (tablespoons).
1 tablespoon of soy sauce 2 tablespoons of sugar (any type) 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
And then you proportion it out appropriately. So for the amount picture above, which is around 1 pound of spare ribs, I multiplied by 3, so I got 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and 9 tablespoons of white vinegar. If you want, you can add a quarter cup of water for good measure. For confinement, my recommendation is to load up on ginger. This can be ginger slices, ginger cubes, the whole ginger, grated ginger, ginger juice – however spicy you can take it, do it. Optional ingredients also include whole garlic, black or white pepper and even star anise.
Sweet and Sour Pork
I know it may sound like a flaky recipe, but I do believe in that cooking is an art (and baking the science). That’s why you have to taste it as you go along (when it’s more cooked). Start with this though, trust me. It has never failed me as a base. After about an hour on a very low simmer, you’ll notice that the liquid evaporates to leave a thick, sticky and delicious beautifully dark sweet and sour pork ribs. Scoop off the top layers of oil and serve!
Sweet and Sour Pork – The Final Product
Sweet and Sour Pork with Ginger (for Confinement)
Recipe Type: Appetizer or Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese Food
Serves: 1 dish
1 pound of fresh spare ribs or pork ribs
1 x 3 = 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 x 3 = 6 tablespoons of sugar
3 x 3 = 9 tablespoons of white vinegar
1-inch root of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/ginger-fresh/”]fresh ginger[/url]
1/4 cup of water
Rinse your spare ribs or pork ribs in warm water (to clean)
Put all the ingredients into a stainless steel pot (or clay pot)
Boil on high heat for 10 minutes
Reduce to a low simmer for another hour, checking every 10 minutes on taste and whether it is drying out too much. If so, add another quarter cup of water.