Cooking Corner: Congee
Try a bowl of Congee!
Congee is probably the most common breakfast mainstay; with its roots in Chinese cuisine dating back thousands of years. It is a mild-flavored rice porridge that has been cooked for a long time with plenty of water to soften the rice. To give the congee some flavor, it is usually served with different toppings that vary region by region; such as: pickled vegetables, fermented tofu, peanuts, eggs, and meat. Sometimes congee’s flavor is sweet. Usually sweet congee is made from: red beans, seeds, peanuts, and black rice. Some find this colorful sweet congee to be so flavorful that it doesn’t require any toppings at all.
Congee is usually served as a breakfast food, but you can also eat it for lunch, dinner, or even a late-night snack. Try a bowl of congee if you’re sick, too. Most say, chicken congee is the Chinese equivalent of chicken noodle soup, cooked with lots of ginger to clear the sinuses.
How to Make Congee
What You Need
1 cup rice, any kind
6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
Optional, for richer congee use leftover cooked chicken wings or bones from a roasted chicken, skin removed
Thinly sliced green onions
Soft- or hard-boiled egg
Leftover cooked chicken, pork, or beef
2- to 4-quart saucepan with lid
- Rinse the rice. Place the rice in a large strainer or colander and rinse it under cool water. The water running through the rice will usually look milky at first, but will then become clearer. It’s fine if there’s still some haze in the water.
- Combine the rice and cooking liquid in the saucepan. If you’re using any chicken bones, add them to the saucepan now.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover.
- Continue simmering for about 1 1/2 hours. Stir the congee occasionally during cooking — this will make it creamier in texture. If the porridge is getting a little stiff, or if you’d like a looser porridge, add more cooking liquid. The congee is ready when the rice is as soft and “porridgy” as you prefer.
- Remove any bones and shred the meat. If you used any chicken bones, pull them out now. Shred the meat and stir it back into the congee.
- Serve the congee. Ladle the congee into individual bones and garnish with whatever toppings you like.
Leftover congee can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days. Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop, and stir in a little extra cooking liquid to loosen it up, if needed.