Have you ever had congee? A friend recently asked me if congee is a big deal in New York these days, and I forwarded the question to Google, because I wasn’t sure. As I learned, congee is a traditional Asian savory rice porridge dish that is currently gaining its popularity on the West coast. I personally haven’t seen it on the menus of popular NYC cafes so far (anyone have any good leads?), so I decided to make my own congee at home.
Now that I’ve made it, I can say that congee is somewhat similar to a very brothy risotto. It’s smooth and soupy, with a chewy bite. I think there’s definitely a trend lately for bowl dishes with customizable toppings, think: poke bowls, build-your-own salad bars, Korean bibimbap, etc.
Soupy congee on its own is incredibly simple and plain in a good way, like a canvas that opens up a wide range of possibilities when it comes to garnishes. Savory toppings and mix-ins can include roasted or grilled vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, meats, herbs, seeds and crunchies, and of course, soft boiled or poached eggs!
- 1/2 cup rice, rinsed
- 3 cups water or broth
- 3 Tablespoons oil
- 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce or salt
- 2 baby bok choy, halved
- 4-6 medium shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 boiled eggs
- Rice seasoning mix for sprinkling (sesame seeds, bonito, seaweed)
- Serves 2.
1. Heat up oil in a pot. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir until golden for about 3 minutes.
2. Add rice, stir to combine, then add water or broth and bring to a boil.
3.Partially cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until the congee is thickened and creamy. Stir often. If it's getting too thick, add more liquid. Add soy sauce or salt to taste.
4. Meanwhile, sauté bok choy, mushrooms and onions in an oiled pan with garlic powder and a pinch of salt till soft, golden and lightly charred.
5. Serve congee hot in a bowl topped with garnishes!