Congee is a rice porridge which is served as a breakfast item all over China – very savoury, comforting and hearty, but it’s a bit weird the first time you taste it!
Think of it as a Chinese Risotto and you’ll be all set 😀 We’ve been meaning to make congee since our trip to China nearly 2 years ago (shocking eh) and never got around to it – Until now!
Congee is incredibly versatile, due it its basic flavour profile and agreeable texture, and can be topped with almost anything (the weirdest we had was fermented tofu!) – Works well with crunchy, savoury and salty toppings such as kimchi, salted duck egg yolks, tofu, fresh herbs, roasted peanuts, spring onions, eggs, and even other protein sources like pulled pork or mince.
Jamie Oliver’s brilliant new recipe book VEG has a neat recipe for congee, and this is adapted from there.
Hearty, satisfying congee bowl
- 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice can use any rice, but those are our favourites
- 4 cm ginger, mashed/grated
- 4 cloves garlic, mashed/grated
- 4 dried shitake mushrooms optional – adds more umami. Can use other dried mushrooms, or leave out if you have a quality stock.
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tsp each of salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
- 1 thinly sliced onion
- 1 Red chilli, sliced at an angle
- 1/2 handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup kimchi
- toasted sesame seeds
- 4 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Put the rice in a heavy-bottomed pot with the stock, garlic, ginger, dried mushrooms and pepper, then taste and check if you need more salt – if your stock is already very salty, don't add too much extra. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 45 mintues, stirring every 5-10 minutes to stop the rice sticking to the bottom. Loosen with a splash more water or stock if needed along the way.
- When the rice is on the go, toss your mushrooms with salt and pepper, and spread them out on half a baking tray, and do the same with the onions on the other half of the tray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until beautiful.
- Prep the rest of your toppings. Boil your eggs until soft – if taking them out the fridge, bring a pot of salted water to a rapid boil and add the eggs, boil for 5 1/2 minutes exactly, refresh under cold water, peel and set aside.
- When the rice is done (will look like oats, or a loose risotto), taste and adjust salt if needed, then remove the now rehydrated shitake mushrooms (or leave in if you like them!). Spoon the congee into bowls and top with the toppings, the egg, drizzle with soya sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.