Century Egg & Pork Congee
(makes 4 servings)
1/2 pound boneless pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
4 century eggs*, chopped into bite sized pieces
3 quarter sized slices of fresh ginger (or more if you like ginger)
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice*
2 - 14 oz cans of low sodium chicken broth (Swanson’s Natural Goodness is my favorite)
7 - 9 cups of water
2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of MSG* (optional)
Thin slivers of fresh ginger
“Yu Tiao”/Chinese donut*
Sprinkle pork strips with 1 tsp salt and mix well. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Wash and drain rice. Combine rice, 1 tsp salt, vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Stir to coat grains well with oil. Let rice marinate with oil and salt for 10 minutes.
Turn on burner to medium-high heat. Add stock, 7 cups of water, ginger slices, and MSG (if using) to rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally (rice tends to stick to bottom of pot). The rice should break down completely. Adjust consistency with an additional 1 - 2 cups of water if necessary (should be as thick as porridge, but some people prefer their congee thinner, like a soup).
In the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in chopped century egg and pork strips.
Before serving, taste for seasoning and add salt and/or a couple drops of sesame oil if necessary.
Garnish with chopped scallions, ginger slivers, cilantro and Chinese donut pieces.
Jasmine Rice: You can use any kind of uncooked white rice to make congee – I prefer jasmine rice because it adds such a nice fragrance to the dish.
Century Egg: Available at your local Asian food market (on the shelves, not refrigerated). They usually come in a 4 or 6 pack, sometimes labeled “pei dan” or “pedan”. I prefer the “lead free” kind made in Taiwan.
MSG(Accent): I always wondered why restaurant congee tasted so good. The secret ingredient is MSG! You don’t have to add it if you have a problem with MSG, some people claim it gives them a headache (if that’s you, I highly recommend reading Jeffrey Steingarten’s essay on MSG,“Why Doesn’t Everybody in China Have a Heachache?” from his book “It Must've Been Something I Ate”). I don’t normally cook with MSG, but I find 1/2 teaspoon of Accent makes my congee really addictive.
“Yu Tiao” or Chinese Donut: I purchase mine pre-made. Look in the refrigerated section at your local Asian food market. I cut them into bite size pieces and toast them in the oven for a few minutes (like croutons).