Basic Pork Congee

Basic Pork Congee

Basic Pork Congee

Soup Name: Basic Pork Congee (or aka Skinny Pork Congee)

Traditional Chinese Name:  瘦肉粥 (shòu ròu zhōu)

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.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 25 mins

Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 8 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of lean, fresh pork, largely cubed
  • 6 pieces of dried scallops
  • 2 cups of long-grain rice
  • 2 L of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Whatever toppings you want

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:

 

  • salted peanuts
  • pickled vegetables (like radishes, cucumbers)
  • kimchi
  • salted fish (Chinese-styled)
  • preserved black bean fish (Chinese-styled)
  • preserved and spicy tofu (foo-yu)
  • pork floss
  • egg
  • green onions or parsley
  • and the list goes on and on if you get creative enough

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Sweet and Sour Pork with Ginger (for Confinement)

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

 

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

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

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

Sweet and Sour Pork – The Final Product

 

Sweet and Sour Pork with Ginger (for Confinement)
Recipe Type: Appetizer or Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese Food
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 dish
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Rinse your spare ribs or pork ribs in warm water (to clean)
  2. Put all the ingredients into a stainless steel pot (or clay pot)
  3. Boil on high heat for 10 minutes
  4. 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.
  5. Remove oil and serve!

Ginger and Egg Fried Rice (for Chinese Confinement)

Ginger and Egg Fried Rice (for Chinese Confinement)

This is a simple recipe part of our Confinement Series for new mothers. Designed to be heaty, healing and part of a balanced diet – actually anyone can eat this! My version uses ginger juice (as I personally find the ginger shreds too spicy for my mild taste buds), but it is recommended to use the grated ginger flesh if you’re in confinement. Load on the ginger and black or white pepper! Other variations of this include adding chicken or pork, garlic and some neutral, diced veggies like choy sum.

 

Dish Name: Ginger and Egg Fried Rice (for Chinese Confinement)

Traditional Chinese Name:  雞蛋姜炒飯 (jī dàn jiāng chǎo fàn)

 

Ginger and Egg Fried Rice (for Chinese Confinement)
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: LadyTong
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 bowl of rice (leftover rice best for fried rice)
  • 25g of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/ginger-fresh/”]fresh ginger[/url], grated (produced 1 tablespoon of ginger juice)
  • 1 sprig of [url href=”http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/green-onions/”]fresh green onions[/url], diced
  • 1 egg
  • black or white pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a frying pan on medium heat, add oil and start frying the rice (re-heating it for 2 minutes)
  2. Add in fresh ginger juice or grated ginger
  3. Add in fresh green onions
  4. Fry together for 2 minutes
  5. In the middle of the pan, open a hole and crack the egg directly into it, stirring and mixing the egg until relatively cooked
  6. Stir it altogether and add pepper and salt to taste
  7. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
[b]Any benefits?[/b][br][br]This recipe contains all the greats needed to get you through confinement (Sesame oil, ginger, black or white pepper ).[br]Ginger is excellent for warming the body and expelling wind (both important things to achieve during Chinese confinement).[br]It is a nutritious and delicious course.[br]This recipe is super easy to make. I would recommend making a bowl / jar of pre-grated ginger so you can whip this up in less than 10 minutes.[br][br][b]Any precautions?[/b][br][br]This is a heaty dish and not recommended for people who can’t too heaty foods or are currently overheated.

 

Fresh grated ginger, green onions and an egg – easy!

Soy Sauce Chicken Wings and Feet (for Chinese Confinement)

Dish Name: Soy Sauce Chicken Wings and Feet (for Chinese Confinement)

Traditional Chinese Name: 醬油雞腳 (jiàng yóu jī jiǎo)

Introduction:
This is a very common Canton (Chinese-styled) dish. The soy sauce base can be used with pork, chicken (various parts), duck (wings are best), pigeon and any other meats with bones as best. The trick to this dish is that it must be simmered for some time (or use a pressure cooker) to let both the sauce seep deep into the meat and enable the meet to be almost falling off the bone. Why this particular dish is called out for Chinese confinement is that the chicken feet provides a healthy amount of collagen – and adding warming ingredients such as ginger, star anise and cinnamon help keep the body warm and heated throughout this period. My mom actually used to keep the sauce after she made it in a glass jar in the fridge, to be used again the next time around. The more it’s used, the tastier it gets. You can simply skim off the accumulated fat once it’s cooled and add more soy sauce if it’s been reduced too far. A delicious, easy-to-make, easy-to-keep Chinese confinement dish for any postpartum mother.

 

What are the ingredients?

Good for 4-5 servings:

  • 20 fresh (or frozen) chicken feet, nails cut off
  • 10 fresh chicken wings
  • 3/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 4 cups of boiling (or hot) water
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced and peeled
  • 1 scallion, diced (optional)
  • White pepper (optional and recommended for Chinese Confinement)

 

How do I prepare it?

  1. Cut off the nails of the chicken feet
  2. In a pot of boiling water, blanch the chicken feet and chicken wings for 3 minutes (to flush out the oil in the chicken feet)
  3. In a fresh pot, add all the ingredients together and let simmer for 45 minutes (or longer if you want it softer)
  4. Top with fresh scallions as needed
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This is an easy-to-make Chinese dish recipe with minimal ingredients
  • It’s a heaty dish suited for Chinese confinement (or the whole family) – adjust the amount of ginger depending on the consumer
  • Chicken feet is packed with collagen and perfect for women and Chinese confinement
  • You can easily keep frozen chicken wings and chicken feet in the freezer (for rainy days when you’re trapped at home)

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to wash your hands after handling raw chicken (or meat)
  • Take caution not to add too much soy sauce (as the meat absorbs the saltiness quite easily)

Chinese Confinement: The Final Days (Day 13-30)

This is the final leg of the journey for Chinese Confinement #7.

If you’ve just started reading, you can find Chinese Confinement: The Early Days as pre-reading leading up into this post.

This page is about Chinese Confinement in the final days. From here on forward, it’s all about ensuring the body is pumped full of herbs, heat and healing ingredients that help the mother “seal” her body and make her “wholesome and strong” again. The soups and meals here are packed with serious herbal, healing and heaty additives and not to consumed by the faint of heart. It is completely and entirely customized for the confinement mommy (unless the recipes indicate that other people can drink it too), but it really is more heaty and healing than your average soup. Some recipes even require double-boiling to preserve the concentration of healing qualities.

According to my local herbalist, she says one can’t become over-heated during confinement, so just throw all the ammunition you have. This is really the final stretch and how you heal the body here, is said to dictate the health of your body until your next child, or for the rest of your life. Rather scary huh? That’s why the Chinese take confinement so seriously!

I will continue to add as I learn more here, but here’s a start.

 

Chinese Confinement drinks, teas & soups (for the final days):

Deer Antler Confinement Soup

Ginger & Green Onion Sauce (for confinement)

 

This is the ultimate confinement accompaniment to provide that much needed heaty boost while you’re recovering. This common staple “condiment” is used in a variety of dishes, but is most commonly paired with simple, steamed chicken. You can however, pair this with steamed fish, plain rice, noodles or just about anything. Make it in a big batch and keep in the fridge for up to one week of usage for convenience. It’s warming, tasty and ideal for the entire duration of confinement.

Dish Name: Ginger & Green Onion Sauce, Ginger Scallion Sauce

Traditional Chinese Name: 薑蔥蓉 (jiāng cōng róng) or 薑蓉 (jiāng róng)

What are the ingredients?

Good for 2 cups in serving:

  • 8 ounces (or about 2 bunches) of finely chopped scallions
  • 2 ounces of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly into half-inch slices
  • 1 cup of oil (peanut or corn oil is best in this case as it doesn’t leave a metallic taste)
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced (optional)
  • salt to taste

 

How do I prepare it? (The traditional and dangerous way)

  1. Put the scallions, ginger and salt into a deep, big ceramic bowl (no plastic as the oil will melt it!)
  2. In a low pan, heat up the oil and garlic together until the oil is steaming and the garlic is slightly browned
  3. Ensure there is no one around you or the bowl when you do the next step
  4. Pour the hot oil and garlic into the bowl (with the scallions and ginger) – take caution as it will bubble and fizz
  5. Mix quickly and evenly with a spoon
  6. Serve and enjoy!

How do I prepare it? (The safer way)

  1. In a pot, heat up one teaspoon of oil, garlic, ginger and scallions
  2. When the ginger and scallions become limp (not completely cooked), remove from heat and set aside
  3. When cooled, add salt and mix
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Any benefits?

  • This portion can go far when stored in the fridge
  • It is diverse and can be used as a condiment for all foods
  • It is heaty, warming and ideal for confining mothers (and even hubbies and family members)
  • Consumable right from day 1 of confinement until day 30
  • It’s a great base for adding other ingredients (such as soy sauce, spicy sauce, oyster sauce) to suit any palette

Any precautions?

  • The traditional way of making this can be dangerous (so keep small children away!)
  • If you’re breastfeeding and concerned about allergies or potential allergies for your baby, avoid peanut oil and use corn oil instead
  • Avoid olive oil