Tuesday, January 1, 2013


What you can do with left-over bird.
This was originally posted shortly after Thanksgiving in 2011.



Rice porridge, or jook (粥), also called congee, requires forethought - merely jumbling broth, rice, meat scraps, and whatever into a pot and praying for a tasty outcome doesn't work - doing so may make excellent cat food, but not stuff that a human should eat.
Prepare the stock separately, strain, and simmer down to concentrate the flavour.

Then measure out the rice: between a twelfth of the volume of the liquid, to as much as one eighth. Less rice in proportion will yield a thinner soup, more will give you a thicker porridge.
Rinse the rice thoroughly, put it in a heavy pot on high with water to cover, and cook till the grains have swollen and look like roiling clouds (and this explains why you needed to concentrate the stock - you're using plain water to precook the rice, some of the liquid will be taken up).
Drain off the excess water, then place a heat diffuser between the bottom of the po and the flame, add the turkey stock, and turn it low.
Stir regularly to keep the porridge from burning.
You must it cook till the grains have partially fallen apart and the jook is smooth, which will take a few hours.

[A totally unorthodox shortcut is to turn off the heat immediately after the rice has swollen and become soft. Let it cool to a temperature for comfortable handling, then whirr it in the blender till reasonably smooth. After which proceed as usual.
It will require far less stirring and simmering, and the chance of burning the bottom of the pot is enormously lessened.]

Add large boneless scraps of turkey, plus a few pieces of chopped carrot, about half an hour before the end.

To serve, bowl it up, and put some chunks of bird with the nicely roasted skin on top, plus a little chopped scallion for colour.
Add a few drops of Chinese sesame oil (ma-yau 麻油) for fragrance, and perhaps a dash of soy sauce.

NOTE: There are many yummy additions to plain jook that you will find in Chinatown - pork slivers and preserved egg (pei dan sau yiuk juk 皮蛋瘦肉粥), pork and dried oysters (ho-si sau yiuk juk 蠔豉瘦肉粥), or fresh sliced raw fish that poaches perfectly in the heat of the porridge (yi-pien juk 魚片粥), blanched chicken curls porridge (雞球粥), slivered pig liver (chu gon juk 猪肝粥), even cooked beef bits.
For a paradoxically luxurious quick lunch, try abalone and chicken jook (bao yu kwat kai juk 鮑魚滑雞粥), jook with roast duck (fo ngaap juk 火鴨粥), or fresh shrimp jook (sang gwan ha kau juk 生滾蝦球粥).

All of these are perfect cold weather or late night soup.

Further note: 生滾 (sang gwan), meaning ' fresh boiled', indicates that the shrimp, fish, or pork is cooked in the heat of the porridge.

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