Asian Congee Porridge

Last night for dinner, my sister’s fiance, who happens to be a phenomenal cook, made us dinner! Congee (or sometimes referred to as jook) is an Asian dish, which is basically short-grained rice cooked with a lot of liquid until it yields a mushy, creamy porridge. Its creamy, savoury, and endlessly adaptable. It’s almost like savoury oatmeal but better! Rice congee is known to be an Asian “comfort food,” but much healthier than those western comfort foods such as mashed potatoes, mac&cheese, rice pudding, etc. When my mom used to make me congee at home, she used to make a gigantic pot of it, store it in the fridge and even in the freezer (in plastic bags), making them last forever! Congee is a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal, especially on those days you’re craving a big bowl of hot deliciousness.

      Vegetarian Congee

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup short-grain rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ~7 cups water
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3-inch piece of ginger (peeled, chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled, diced)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can omit this if you don’t prefer spicy dishes)
  • 1 medium-large head of broccoli (partitioned into small florets)
  • 3 tbsp scallions (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions:

  • Wash rice under cold water and drain.
  • Place the washed rice with the vegetable stock in a large pot over high heat. Once it starts to boil, pour in 4 cups of water.
  • Reduce to medium-low heat and bring it to a simmer for ~ 1 1/2 hours, and every 30 minutes adding another cup of water (the longer it cooks, the more flavored it becomes).
  • Meanwhile, soak the shiitake mushrooms in hot water until it is soft. Remove from the water and slice.
  • Once the rice is mushy and porridgey, add the mushrooms, carrots, ginger, cayenne pepper, broccoli, and salt.
  • Remove from heat, serve with minced scallions and chopped peanuts (optional).

and for dessert….

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3 responses to “Asian Congee Porridge

  1. even though it never really looks yummy on pictures – i know it is. living in shanghai last semester this was my favorite comfort food after a crazy night. it fills your tummy with a warm comfy feeling and keeps you smiling for a while 😉
    my favorite was a creamy korean style seafood congee – thinking about it really makes me wann go back to china!

  2. OMG MY FAVOURITE DISH EVER!! My mom used to cook me the Vietnamese version (we’re Viet, of course) when I was sick, with pork and LOTS of pepper and ginger.

    I never tried it vegetarian though (last time I had something similar in Shanghai, it was more bean congee and was sweet-flavoured, very odd). This brings me such good memories…

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