Recipe courtesy of Andy Liang for Food Network Kitchen

Salted Pork Congee with Century Egg

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Congee, or jook in Cantonese, is a nutritious, comforting rice porridge. The simplest version of congee is made with just rice, water and salt, so it is easily digestible and a blank slate for any flavor. There are many varieties of congee; ours focuses on the popular combination of salted pork and century egg. It is important to take the time to soak the rice so it cooks evenly and breaks down to make congee. We tested two methods for hydrating the rice grains--soaking the rice in water in the refrigerator overnight and freezing washed rice for 6 hours. We found that the refrigerator technique resulted in a creamier and more fragrant congee base.It is important to take the time to soak the rice so it cooks evenly and breaks down to make congee. We tested two methods for hydrating the rice grains--soaking the rice in water in the refrigerator overnight and freezing washed rice for 6 hours. We found that the refrigerator technique resulted in a creamier and more fragrant congee base.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 9 hr 40 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Wash and drain the rice twice with cold water in a medium bowl. Add enough cold water to come 1 inch above the rice. Cover and soak in the refrigerator at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.
  2. Massage 2 teaspoons of salt into the pork in a medium bowl until the salt dissolves, about 30 seconds. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours. 
  3. Add 11 cups cold water to a 7-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  4. Pour off all the water from the soaked rice. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the neutral oil and massage using a spatula or spoon until the oil and salt are well distributed and most of the rice grains are broken. 
  5. Rinse the pork strips under running water to remove excess salt and drain. 
  6. Add the rice and pork to the boiling water. Bring back up to a rolling boil, stirring continuously, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes using a wooden spatula, until the mixture has thickened, the rice grains have broken down and the texture is similar to the consistency of cooked grits, 50 to 70 minutes. (To thin out the consistency, add warm water 1/4 cup at a time. To thicken the consistency, simmer until desired thickness, about 5 minutes.)
  7. Stir in the century eggs if using and cook until the eggs are warmed through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and salt to taste.  
  8. Divide among bowls and top with scallions, ginger and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil if desired. 

Cook’s Note

Century eggs (or pei dan in Cantonese) are eggs that have been preserved in a clay and salt mixture for several weeks to several months. The result is a dark green or gray yolk and black translucent jelly-like exterior. The flavor of the yolk is strong and sharp, similar to ripe cheese with some sulfur flavor, and the texture is creamy, making it a great addition to congee. Duck, quail and chicken eggs are all used in this type of preservation. You can purchase century eggs online and at most Chinese markets. Some markets sell century eggs as "preserved eggs"; make sure the egg is black translucent.

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