Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Leftover Turkey Congee

Christmas is actually over, after all the hype and excitement in the lead-up to the big day, it's finally over. And after a night with too much good food and wine, you really just want something quite light and comforting and ideally uses up the leftover turkey. For me, that's congee. It's the chinese equivalent of a bowl of risotto- just simply rice, plump with the flavour from the stock it's cooked in, so each spoonful is a soothing scoop of goodness. Unlike risotto though, you don't want separate grains, and in fact you don't even want to see any grains. The rice should have all disintegrated into a thick porridge. The ratio is about 10 cups water/stock to 1 cup of rice, you can use less or more depending on how thick you like your congee.

Turkey Congee
serves 2
1/2 cup of jasmine rice, washed till water runs clear
5 cups of homemade stock (in this case, turkey. refer stock 2.)
unrefined sea salt (to taste)

To serve:
leftover turkey, shredded
chopped spring onions
fried shallots and shallot oil (replace with toasted sesame oil if unavailable and lazy)
dash of good traditionally fermented soy sauce
dash of white pepper

1. Add the rice to the stock in a preferably heavy-bottomed pot and bring to the boil.
2. Lower the heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom and burning. It will take quite long, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, though unlike a risotto, you don't have to constantly stir.

Not yet, still not yet there, almost there, there!

3. When rice has reached the right consistency, scoop into bowls and top with the shredded turkey, spring onions, fried shallots, and finish with a drizzle of shallot oil. The soy sauce and pepper is usually at the side so the eater can add to taste.

Oh and another option. You can crack in an egg at the end, after you remove it from the stovetop, the residual heat from the congee sort of poaching the egg. I wish I remembered earlier, that's my sister's and my favourite part about congee.

Nonetheless, this was just what I needed after all that rich and sweet food, something plain and familiar, but deliciously creamy and comforting at the same time. The rice has fully soaked up all the yummy and nourishing goodness of the stock, and turned almost soup-like so you can just slurp it down without even chewing.

You can speed up the process by starting with cooked rice, but I think there's still no better way than to do it the traditional way, slowly letting it cook and stirring it with love, and though it takes longer, honestly, there is almost zero effort involved.


  1. This sounds like real comfort food and quite simple to make...I must make a note to remember this...it looks yummy...

  2. I have never had congee, but have read about it so many times... It rarely looks as appealing as yours! I love the photos and of course the fried onions! They are always irresistible!

  3. This looks so good! Congee is one of my favourite hangover cures, but unfortunately my husband doesn't really like it.

  4. I love congee - they serve it as a starter at my favourite Korean restaurant in Paris... always makes a fantastic, light starter, and it's a wonderful use for leftover meat too. Yours looks delicious Shuhan, especially with the arrangement on the top :)

  5. AHOH MY GOD! I love congee so much! But I've never seen a proper recipe for it because my nana (who is Malaysian-Chinese) always just makes it for me without teaching me. Thanks so much. Your photo looks mouthwatering. So authentic!

  6. Ps. I agree, perfect after the big Christmas dinner. This is so much healthier

  7. This congee looks so interesting! I love this recipe! Being in Hong Kong, I have tasted different kinds of congees and really like experimenting with different flavours. Your version looks great!

  8. Great way to use the leftover turkey!

  9. What a wonderful way to use leftover turkey! Sounds delicious!

  10. This porridge looks good.. I think I want to boil some tomorrow.. easier to digest and good for my cough as well..

  11. Oh yummy! And that's the consistency of porridge that I like.

  12. I love congee, and it's funny you should say that it's what you make for a lurgy -- I've got a friend who's got congee PTSD from her grandmother forcing her to eat congee at the first hint of a cold. I've never tried making it myself; this is inspiring.

  13. Nice Asian twist to the turkey meal. I haven't had congee in a long while, thanks for the reminder

  14. debby: thanks! one thing about comfort food that is a must is that they must be easy to make, so you can have it all you want (:

    sissi: fried shallots makes everything better ;)

    foodycat: haha I guess you just want comfort food when you're on a hangover, and congee is comfort food really only for those who've grown up eating it

    brittany: aw your nana makes it for you? that's so sweet!

    purabi: my version is really very simple.. some of my favourite hk ones are lean pork and century egg. LOVE century egg. but so ridiculously obscure and expensive here.

    mycookinghut: thanks!

    farine: thanks!

    reamaclaire: yah it definitely is good for the tummy and the body! get well soon!

    littlecornerofmine: my mum like it a lot thicker, thick enough to stand a spoon in, but i always added more water to it to make it thinner (:

    susan: force? ): oh well. but hope you do try this, it's quite easy. get well soon!

    torviewtoronto: thanks!

    three cookies: not much of a twist I'm afraid, just a craving for food from home (:

  15. I am so pleased you have entered the #oneingredient challenge! I also happen to love congeee but have never made it myself.....now I most certainly will. Perfect for my New Year of lighter eating but with bags of flavour, thanks! x

  16. lovely recipe thank you so much for entering - so much lovely flavour. I have to try this out

  17. I LOVE congee. Turkey would taste so good in congee - great idea!
    I tried congee at some Chinese dim sum restaurant years ago. And they had cooked some sort of nuts as a substitute for meat. It sounds disgusting to say, but the nuts were softened by the stock, and actually tasted like chicken. I wondered if you've heard of this before.

    1. They are actually just peanuts. That's one of my favourite congees too. Peanut and cuttlefish. (:

  18. Classic congee is like chicken soup! It always comes out when I need it to!! It's like a good friend coming round!

  19. This is similar to our philippine Lugaw... :)

    1. Yes! I think many asian cultures have their version of this soothing comforting rice porridge. I must check out Lugaw :)