Fortifying Congee

comfort food congee dairy free gluten free immune system spleen warming vegan vegetarian

Traditional Chinese Medicine Properties: Warming (yang) thermal nature, reduces internal dampness, supports, lung health, supports healthy spleen and digestion.

Congee is a rice porridge that I love to make. It’s super simple and oh so satisfying. Traditionally, its a simple porridge made with rice, ginger, mushrooms and usually chicken but sometimes other ingredients like clams. To make the porridge thick, a long simmering time is needed, which means it’s the perfect dish to make with an Instant Pot, but I’ve included stove top directions at the end. (it’s easy either way). Congee is made to be mild and easy to digest. You’ll notice in most of my recipes I do not skimp on the garlic and ginger. But with congee the mildness is key, I didn’t even include garlic at all, making it perfect for someone who’s not feeling too great. Now that doesn’t mean it’s flavorless or boring, there is a depth to it’s savoryness that belies it’s simple ingredients. Most commonly, congee is made with white rice and water, but I made it with half and half Job’s Tears and white rice to up both the nutrient level and the dampness reduction.

I also used a carton of organic vegetable broth instead of all water to make it heartier and more flavorful. The liquid to grain ratio of white rice (jasmine in this case) and of Job’s Tears is a little different so there was some math involved, but I got it dialed in so all you have to do is measure. The toppings are totally up to you, my preference is a soft-boiled egg, a splash of soy sauce, and a sprinkle of green onions. Sriracha, chopped peanuts, cilantro, kim chi, and a drizzle of sesame oil are also good ways to go.

 

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 1 hour Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

This is all you need!
INGREDIENTS:
  • 3/4 cup uncooked jasmine (or other white rice)
  • 3/4 cup Job’s Tears
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, just the white parts, sliced
  • 3-10 mushrooms depending on your preference, quartered (or shiitake, sliced)
  • 10 cups liquid (you can use all water or a quart of broth and 6 cups water or all broth as long as it adds up to 10 cups)
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Pepper (I used our Power Pepper)
  • Optional: 1lb boneless chicken thighs (If I include chicken I decrease the amount of mushrooms I use accordingly).
  • Optional: soft boiled egg
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 1/3 cup peanuts or other nuts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Kim Chi
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Peel and mince the ginger. Slice the white parts of the green onions. Cut the mushrooms into whatever size you prefer (I used Crimini and quartered them). Rinse and pat dry your chicken if you’re including it and season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the uncooked rice and Job’s Tears in the bottom of the Instant Pot (or stock pot) and add the green onions, minced ginger, and mushrooms on top. Lay the chicken pieces, if applicable, on top of everything. Finally, add 10 cups of liquid.
  3. Close the Instant Pot and lock the lid. Turn the steam release valve to the "sealing" position. Press the "porridge" button to begin cooking. After it reaches the required temperature and pressure, the display will begin to count down 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, the pot will switch to the "keep warm" setting and begin to drop in pressure. Allow the pot to reduce in pressure naturally, without opening the steam release valve. When the float valve falls back to the down position to open the lid
  5. If you included chicken it should be ‘fork-tender’ so no need to remove and shred it, just stir the pot around with a serving spoon and it will fall apart on it’s own.
  6. Stir and taste the porridge, and add salt if necessary ( I added another 1 1/2 tsps)
  7. Ladle the congee into each bowl and drizzle a small amount of soy sauce on top of each bowl. Place the soft-boiled eggs and sprinkle the sliced green onions over top, then serve.

RECIPE NOTES:

If you don't have, can't find, or don't want to go looking for Job's Tears: use 1 1/2 cups white rice and 10 1/2 cups liquid in the instant pot or 1 cup white rice and 10 cups liquid on the stove.

To make on a stove top: Use 14 cups total liquid instead of 10, or use 1/2 cup each of rice and Job’s tears and use 9 1/4 cup total liquid (if you don’t have a large enough pot). Add all the ingredients (minus toppings) to a large pot. Place a lid on top and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 1-2 hours, stopping when a thick porridge forms. Stir the congee often, replace the lid each time, and once it’s done, shred the meat and season with salt as described above.

To make the soft-boiled eggs: Place the eggs in a sauce pot which has a lid, fill with water an inch or two above the eggs, without the lid on bring it to a boil. Once it boils put the lid on the pot, take it off the stove and set a timer for 6 minutes. When the 6 minutes is up take the eggs out of the pot and place into a bowl of cold water.


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