Update: This was first posted in Jan 2009, now updated with new photos and improved recipe.
Many Chinese celebrating Chinese New Year will be buying canned abalones during the festive season. Abalone is an auspicious luxury food item, as it signifies increasing abundance (年年’包’有余) in the coming year. I use abalone in a wide variety of dishes, such as steamboat, pen cai, yu sheng and braised abalone with mushrooms. One of my all-time favourite abalone dishes will be this homely bowl of abalone chicken congee (鲍鱼鸡丝粥). The congee (or porridge depending on the texture you like) is really sweet as it is simmered in an umami stock consisting of scallops, chicken and abalone broth. It is a luxurious yet relatively light meal at the same time – definitely a wonderful dish to enjoy after a hearty reunion dinner.
This homely and luxurious bowl of abalone chicken congee is full of umami sweetness!
For convenience, place ikan bilis in a disposable soup pouch and discard after cooking.
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:50 mins
8 dried scallops (conpoy/干贝)
2 chicken legs/thighs (skin removed) may also use 400 grams of chicken breast
1000 + 1200 ml water
1 cup rice
1 can abalone sliced thinly; reserve the abalone broth from the can
8 red dates
2 carrots peeled & cut to small chunks
2 tbsp ikan bilis (dried anchovies/江鱼仔) for convenience, place them in a disposable soup pouch
coriander for garnishing
dashes of white pepper to taste
Rinse dried scallops and soak them in a small bowl of hot water until softened. Shred the scallops and reserve the soaking water.
Boil chicken in 1000ml of water for 20 minutes. Take out the chicken and shred when cool enough to handle. Warm the abalone slices for 1 minute in the chicken broth using a slotted ladle. Strain the chicken broth. Set aside.
Rinse rice until water runs clear, then add washed rice to a soup pot with the shredded scallops, red dates, carrots, ikan bilis and 1200ml of water.
Bring to a boil. Leave the lid partially open and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir the bottom of the pot every now and then to prevent the rice from sticking to the base. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the rice turns to porridge.
Add the scallops soaking water, abalone broth and chicken broth. Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes, until the porridge reaches a congee consistency. Top up with more chicken stock or hot water whenever needed.
Ladle congee to serving bowls and top with abalone slices, shredded chicken, white pepper and coriander leaves.