Chicken or the egg congee

Congee is the ultimate Asian comfort food. The art of congee, however, is as much in the topping as the congee itself, you are limited only by your imagination. Our version, a celebration of all things chook, includes 1000-year-old and tea cured eggs, a homage to tradition and nod to the trend of all things egg; their complex, salty umami-ness elevating this bowl of delish to magical heights.










For the tea cured eggs

Begin 24 hours before required

  • 8 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons black tea
  • 700ml boiling water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 100ml light soy
  • 50ml dark mushroom soy

For the congee

  • 1L chicken stock
  • 2L water
  • 6 slices ginger
  • 1 cup medium grain rice

For the crispy chicken

  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • Pinch salt

For the chicken mince

  • 500g chicken mince
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine

To serve

  • Crispy chicken
  • Fried chicken mince
  • 1000-year-old eggs (available as duck, chicken or quail eggs from Asian grocers) and/or tea cured eggs (see recipe)
  • Shallots, finely sliced
  • Crispy garlic chilli
  • Roasted sesame oil
  • Furikake
  • Lime wedges and coriander


1. For the tea cured eggs

Into a container large enough to hold the eggs, add the black tea and boiling water. After a couple of minutes, strain the tea and discard the leaves. Add the cinnamon, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and bay leaves to the hot tea. Set aside to infuse and cool. Put a medium pot of water on to boil, once gently boiling carefully add the eggs and cook for 5-7 minutes (see notes). Once cooked plunge into an iced water bath and leave for a couple of minutes to cool. To finish off the tea infusion, stir in the soy sauces. Carefully crack and peel your eggs and add them to the soy infusion, making sure they are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 48 hours. The longer they remain in the infusion the stronger the flavour.

2. For the congee

Add the chicken stock, water and ginger to a large pot and bring to a boil. Wash your rice for a minute under running water then add to the pot and stir. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Do not cover. Simmer for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the grains of rice have begun to break up and you have a thick, creamy ‘porridge’. Turn off the heat and cover for 20-30 minutes. Just before serving stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. Adjust the liquid (add extra hot stock) if you prefer a thinner congee.

3. For the crispy chicken

Add the chicken pieces to a container with the dark soy, Shaoxing wine and garlic, and toss to coat each piece completely. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. To cook, heat a deep fryer to 160°C. Mix the flours in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, quickly pat down with some paper towel and toss in the flour mix. Fry until beginning to turn golden. Remove from the fryer and rest for 3 minutes. Turn up the heat to 180°C and fry for a second time until deeply golden and crispy. Drain and serve immediately.

4. For the chicken mince

Add the five spice to the mince and mash it through using a fork. Heat a frying pan or wok over high heat, add the peanut oil and the mince. Fry until golden, finishing with the Shaoxing wine and season to taste.

5. To serve

Ladle the congee into bowls, top with the eggs, chicken, shallots, crispy chilli and a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with lime wedges, coriander and extra toppings on the side.

Depending on your preferred yolk, 5 minutes should give you a hard white but soft yolk, and 7 minutes a firmer yolk with a little softness in the centre.

As seen in Spring 2023

BIDFOOD appetiser white
appetiser magazine spring 2023 by bidfood australia