I really came up with this concept out of a necessity of not wanting to waste produce. I happened to purchase a lot of different game birds, ranging from quails to Cornish hens to duck, and I also made stocks out of each and every one of those birds, and reserved the carcass meats as well. So I figured, why not just mix those together into a congee and call it a day? I also had amassed quite a bit of duck fat too, so I opted to make youtiao, or Chinese kruellers, fried in that. Congee to me is like a giant hug, and what better way to embrace leftovers than in a giant hug? I also paired the rice and game bird meats with some mushrooms, just to add another level of umami, as well as a quail egg yolk, to tie in with the fact quail was used in the actual dish itself.
For the congee:
4 cups stock (I used a mixture of duck, quail, and Cornish hen, but even chicken works here)
1 cup barley tea
water as needed
1 cup sushi rice
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup shredded game bird meat (I used duck, quail, and Cornish hen, but again, the cooked dark meat from a chicken works perfectly here)
Rehydrate the mushrooms in the barley tea. Once softened, remove the stems and quarter the caps. In a pot, simmer the barley team, stock, and rice together with sesame oil and soy sauce. Once the rice is fully cooked, stir rapidly while adding in all of the other ingredients and hot water as necessary to loosen the rice(you want it to be a porridge, not a risotto here).
For the youtiao:
1 cup all-purpose flour + more for rolling
3 tablespoons canola oil + more for frying
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons water
a pinch of salt
Combine flour, oil, baking powder, water, and salt into a dough. Knead rigorously to develop as much gluten as possible. Rest the dough for 12 hours. Roll out on a floured surface into long, flat strips and press two together. Heat up duck fat and oil in a large pot to 330 degrees F and fry these dough rods for about 2-3 minutes a side. These will expand, so be mindful of that. Place on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil and season with salt to finish.
Quail egg yolks