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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        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!

         

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        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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        Turkey and Dried Scallops Congee

        Turkey and Dried Scallops Congee

        Turkey and Dried Scallops Congee

        Soup Name

        Turkey and Dried Scallops Congee

        Traditional Chinese Name:  

        火雞瑤柱粥 (huǒ jī yáo zhù zhōu)

         

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        Waste not! Want not!

        A continuation of using leftovers (because you know how the holidays are!). Using the carcass of a whole turkey, including a lot of leftover meat, I stewed this delicious, wholesome and warming congee for the family.

        It actually turned out way better than I expected and was delicious! I didn’t use the whole turkey shell, but instead used half (whole would have been too much and too big for the pot).

        With only these two ingredients (turkey and conpoy), you’re able to make a wonderful congee base and add whatever you like – salted/preserved eggs, preserved veggies, eggs, pork floss, chives, anything!

        What’s involved?

        Prep time: 15 mins

        Cook time: 2 hours

        Total time: 2 hours 15 mins

        Serves: 4 large bowls of congee

        Ingredients

        • 1 half of a turkey carcass (bones)

        • 2 cups of turkey meat

        • 10 dried scallops (conpoys)

        • 2 cups of long, grained rice

        • 18 cups of water

        • salt to taste

        Cooking Instructions

        1. Boil your rice and water in a large pot on high heat
        2. Once the water comes to a boil, add in turkey carcass and bones, turkey meat and dried conpoys
        3. Boil on medium heat for at least 2 hours, occasionally stirring to ensure that the meat and bones don’t stick to the bottom
        4. If you prefer the congee thicker, you can continue to reduce the water
        5. Optional – top with chives, green onions or anything else that tickles your fancy
        6. Serve 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 re-boil it before eating)

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