There is a photographers’ community on Facebook called Foodtography where someone posted a photo of a bowl of congee pretty much like what you see here. I drooled over that photo and promised myself that I’d make my version. I did that today. Slow cooker congee with roast pork belly, Chinese sausage, egg, scallions and toasted garlic.
I’ve never really been a fan of congee but Speedy is. And the version he loves most is Tim Ho Wan‘s congee — so thick, and the rice so soft and mushy that the shape of the individual grains is no longer discernible. To approximate that consistency, I cooked the congee in the slow cooker. I never realized just how easy that would be and how spectacular the result.
I started with Japanese rice… short-grained rice is best for congee, truth be told. If you haven’t heard, the starchiness of rice is inversely proportional to the length of the grain. To put it simply, the shorter the rice grain, the starchier the rice. The longer the rice grain, the less starchy it is. To make thick congee, starchy rice is the way to go.
It took four hours for the congee to become thick. I would have cooked it longer to reach the consistency that Speedy wanted so I asked him if he was willing to wait another hour. He said the congee was great and prolonged cooking was not necessary.
Pour the unwashed rice into the slow cooker.
Add the beef bone, ham bone, ginger and garlic.
Pour in six cups of water. Note that if you don't have bones, you'll have to use broth instead of water.
Sprinkle in salt and pepper.
Switch on the slow cooker to HIGH and cook for an hour.
Taste. Add more salt and pepper, as needed. Switch to LOW and cook for another three hours.
The congee is done at this point and you can enjoy it plain with just toasted garlic and sliced scallions for garnish.
If, however, you want to serve the slow cooker congee as shown in the photos, top it with lightly fried Chinese sausage, sliced hard boiled egg, sliced scallions, toasted garlic and chopped roast pork belly (get the recipe).