Chinese Rice Porridge (Congee)

I grew up on this – my mom made it almost every Sunday morning for breakfast. Congee is an Asian porridge that is often served to those who are sick because it’s easy to eat and soothing. My mom has different versions depending on what time of year it is (turkey after Thanksgiving) or how I’m feeling (chicken broth when I’m sick), and every once in a while, I get a craving for this dish.

 


Rice

The foundation for, but the least flavorful part of, the entire dish. The side dishes just don’t taste quite as good without the watery rice though. It’s easiest to cook the rice as you would normally first rather than jump right into the water-logging with dry rice. It’s also nice because you can always cook more rice than you would with a meal and then use the extra rice the next morning to make this dish.

To be honest, I usually wing it with how much water I put in. I start by adding enough water in the pot to cover the rice plus a little more, and as it cooks, I add more water if I feel the texture isn’t right. I estimate that I use about a 1:6 rice: water ratio. How much you use depends on how watery you like it though, so you’ll need to experiment to see your preference. I like a thicker texture so it’s less soupy.

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Congee boiling in the pot. Basically rice in water with more water

Side Dishes

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Prepping the egg

There are a number of side dishes you can serve with the congee. My favorites include marinated wheat gluten (yup, the name sounds unappetizing. My husband doesn’t like it, but I love it), chili bamboo shoots, and egg with chopped scallions. Other options include: pickled cucumbers, salty duck eggs, braised/boiled/stewed peanuts, and really anything else you’d like. No guarantee that all of these are authentic (particularly the egg with scallions), but you can find most of these things at an Asian grocery store.

The egg is nothing fancy: beat an egg in a bowl and add chopped scallions and salt. Then heat a small pan with some oil and cook the egg like a mini omelette – basically just a few minutes until it’s cooked through.

 

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From top left and moving clockwise: marinated wheat gluten, bamboo shoots, egg with scallion, dried seaweed

Voilà!

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Recipe

Chinese Congee

Servings: 2

*Sorry, this probably isn’t the most useful recipe in the world…

Ingredients

  • Rice
  • Water (~6x the amount of rice)
  • Your favorite side dishes

Method

  1. Pre-cook the rice as you would normally either in a rice cooker or on the stovetop
  2. Add water in a 1:6 rice: water ratio
  3. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes
  4. Stir and add more water if necessary
  5. Continue simmering until texture and water level is at your preferred level. Rice will be very soft
  6. Nom nom nom!

Estimated Nutritional InformationThis depends on what side dishes you choose, so it would be difficult to estimate

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