Congee a.k.a. rice porridge is a very popular dish across the Asian part of the world. The first time I tried real Asian congee was when my Vietnamese roommate Linh made it in the dormitory where we lived together. It was a cold autumn day, the rain was lashing against the window and she couldn’t have made the most perfect food that day. I was hooked with my first spoonful of this gooey, really flavourful rice porridge. Then, when I told my Mom about the recipe, she said my grandfather made something very similar in Azerbaijan. She says he cooked the chicken for so long until the meat started falling off the bone, then added rice and cooked that for a long time until it got a porridge-like consistency. There was no better or more comforting food for him on a cold day, she says. Oh, Grandpa, I seem to have inherited your love for this dish.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (which I am a big fan of), this dish is considered to be the ideal food to have in the morning because it is warm, it is mucilaginous which means it covers and protects the stomach and gut lining, it is very easy to digest and it is heat-inducing, which makes it perfect for periods of sickness and digestive issues. And I’ll add one more advantage – I almost never feel like eating sweet porridge (or any other sweet breakfast for that matter), so congee is a really flavourful savoury breakfast option for me.
For this recipe, I use homemade turkey or chicken bone broth which I flavour with Asian aromatics. You can find the recipe for the broth here.
- - 500 ml of good turkey or chicken bone broth
- - 1 cup/ 180 grams of short grain or jasmine rice
- - filtered water
- - salt
- - soft boiled egg
- - turkey or chicken meat (optional)
- - grated ginger
- - chopped spring onion
- - tamari sauce (gluten-free soy sauce - optional)
- Pour the bone broth into a pot. Bring to a boil and add the rice. Stir the rice with a wooden spoon, making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.
- Cook the congee until the rice becomes very soft and gooey. Add more boiling water if the porridge becomes too thick. Stir every 5-10 minutes, making sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. When the rice is completely cooked and very soft (about 30-40 minutes) start stirring continuously. This will help the congee to get that gel like consistency.
- In a separate pot, bring water to a boil. Pierce a little hole at the fat end of the egg and add it to the boiling water. Set the timer to 6 minutes and 45 seconds. When the time is up, immediately remove the egg from the boiling water and put it into cold water.
- Chop the spring onions and grate or mince the ginger. Peel the egg and cut into half.
- Ladle the congee into a bowl, add the egg, the meat and garnish with the minced ginger and spring onion. Add tamari or soy sauce.
- I usually make my bone broth with a minumum amount of salt. So when making congee, I either add more salt to the broth during cooking or I add tamari sauce to the bowl of already prepared porridge.