Get Baked: Congee

So I’ve been really into congee lately. Unlike the vast majority of folks whose affairs with congee start with freezing weather or a bout of the flu, I simply the read the word “porridge” somewhere and I was in it, man. For those of you who do not make a habit of oddly intense and short-lived cooking “expeditions” that lead your girlfriend to say things like, “That… is three different pans of cookies. Are we having a party?” most weekends, this is probably a tendency that calls to mind a lot of synonyms for “kinda dumb,” but this is generally how my cooking life works! And right now, fair readers, right now I am downright crazy about congee.

omg

According to Wikipedia, “Congee or conjee is a type of rice porridge or gruel popular in many Asian countries.” Wow! “Gruel”! Excellent word choice for MAXIMUM UNAPPEAL, anonymous Wikipedia editor! What it should say is “Congee is a type of rice porridge popular in many Asian countries that is the GREATEST, because you already have all of the ingredients in your pantry! Really! I know!”

This is all that you need to make congee. I am being real with you right now.

The magic of congee though, you guys, is that congee is whatever you dream for it to be. Would you like savory congee with egg and tofu and 800 kinds of veggies and also maybe your roommate’s Thai leftovers from the other night? CONGEE CAN BE THAT FOR YOU! Would you like your congee with peaches and vanilla and walnuts for breakfast? YES OF COURSE YOU WOULD DON’T WORRY CONGEE IS THERE FOR YOU.

“I GOT TIME AND A BOOK” CONGEE

This is not congee for after work. This is congee for a Sunday night. The kind of congee that you make while you’re at the Laundromat, is what I’m saying.

Ingredients

1 Cup Long-Grain Rice*
9 Cups Water (or broth)
1 Teaspoon Salt

Directions

1. Grab a large pot, and bring the rice, liquid and salt to a boil.

2. Turn it down to a simmer, and cover loosely with a lid.

3. Read an article. Bone your girlfriend. Stir occasionally for 1 ½ hours, or until it reaches your desired consistency. I like mine a little thicker, which takes a tad longer. I can read several articles, basically.

4. Congratulations! You have congee!

*Note: I usually make this with brown rice, and it takes a bit longer to cook…2-3 hours instead of 1 ½. Think about all of the episodes of Bob’s Burgers you can watch!

“I AM TIRED AND EVERYTHING IS AWFUL” CONGEE

This is my favorite kind of congee because on weeknights I mainly want to come home from gently prodding my beautiful, free-spirited and loose-with-a-deadline freelancers and stare at the ceiling.

Ingredients

1 Cup of Leftover Cooked Rice (of any sort!)
1 Cup Water or Broth
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Cornstarch or Rice Flour (optional)

Magic happening here.

Directions

1. In a pot of appropriate size, bring the rice, liquid and salt to a boil.

2. Turn it down to a simmer, let it do its thing for 10 minutes.

3. If you like your congee on the thicker side, whisk cornstarch or rice flour with a little bit of cold water separately, and add the slurry to your congee.

4. Cook 3-5 minutes more.

OH LOOK, IT’S CONGEE.

AWESOME THINGS TO ADD TO CONGEE

I had half of a Portobello mushroom, some zucchini, leftover chopped onions, a can of clams and some nori around my house when I was taking photos for this Get Baked! GUESS WHAT, IT MADE THE BEST CONGEE.

Literally any food item in a pleasant configuration can be added to congee. That’s what makes it the aforementioned greatest. Here are some suggestions!

SAVORY

Sauté any configuration of these things with soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar and it will taste great I promise.

Mushrooms
Squash
Eggs (fried or raw! Add them raw and then they cook in the hot congee and you feel really good about being a badass)
Broccoli
Spinach
Nori
Garlic
Ginger
Clams
Pork
Fish
Tofu
Shrimp
Onions
Daikon
Tuna
Hot Sauce (especially Sriracha because obviously)
MISO

Guys you should probably buy some miso. It lasts forever and can be added to so many things (soups, marinades, salad dressing…). It makes everything it’s a part of better. Sort of like this website…?!?!?!?

SWEET

Pretend it’s the best oatmeal you’ve ever had. Then go crazy.

All of the fruits!
All of the berries!
Milk (Soy, Almond, etc.)
Butter
Brown sugar
Dried Fruit (maybe if you’re making the long-cooking congee, chop some dried fruit up and add it at the beginning of the process! I FEEL LIKE THIS CAN ONLY RESULT IN DELICIOUS)
Buttermilk
Yogurt
Nuts

Another glorious configuration of congee!

ENJOY, FRIENDS!


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Shannon

Goofy comic book editor who calls sunny Los Angeles home. I adore fabulous evenings with fabulous friends, indie comics, old Hollywood dames, embarrassing pop culture of all sorts and luscious dumplings.

Shannon has written 1 article for us.

25 Comments

  1. Ooh congee. My favourite kind comes with minced pork, ginger and hundred year old eggs (which sound disgusting but taste pretty good) with some soy and sesame oil drizzled over. But I haven’t made it myself before!

  2. Coming from a South-East Asian parents, I haaaaaaated congee as a kid. Now that I’ve grown up and developed taste in food, it’s the best thing ever when I feel sick. Simple rice congee with sides of sardines in spicy tomato sauce, preserved cucumbers, salted duck eggs, and preserved spicy tofu… The.best.

    And then there’s the fancier congee with fried Chinese bread to dip:
    http://tevysfoodblog.blogspot.ca/2012/04/chicken-rice-congee-khmer-borbor-sach.html

    • Bahahaha I turned out to be the opposite of you. Growing up in Malaysia congee (or rice porridge as we called it, took me a long time to realise that “porridge” in the Western world referred to oatmeal) was literally the only thing I could eat when I was sick with some stomach illness (which was unfortunately fairly often). It’s gotten to the point where I cannot eat anything that tastes like congee anymore because I get reminded of when I’m sick and…eurgh.

      The sweet congee idea sounds interesting. Kinda like rice pudding without the milk. Hell if I add milk in it then it becomes rice pudding (and therefore way more palatable, lactose intolerance be damned).

  3. My family calls it “jook” (I think that’s the mandarin term?) and now I want to go and see them and have some. So yummy when you cook it with a giant ham bone and then have it with Kecap Manis soy and little salty cracker things your aunty sends you.

    • “Jook” would be Cantonese (a dialect from southern China) for congee. In Mandarin, it is known as “Zhou” (粥). There are many variants and cooking styles of congee across China. Cantonese style congee is much more technical to prepare. If you’re a newbie in the kitchen, Teochew style porridge would be much easier. It takes way less time to prepare, 15 mins at tops.

      http://www.rotinrice.com/2012/02/teochew-moey-teochew-rice-porridge/

      • I didn’t know that, thank you :)
        My nana does that second/third generation Chinese thing where you know about twenty phrases from different dialects and just throw them into conversation all the time, so I never know if she’s speaking Cantonese or Mandarin or something else completely

  4. Congee is sooo delicious. It’s so filling, and takes so little effort (or calories, depending on how you’re doing it). I love a garlicky congee cooked forever! A white base rice, and then sprinkled during the last 15 minutes with a tiny rice rainbow of black, pink, and brown rices for a great textural interplay

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