Rice porridge, rice soup or gruel is a hearty, warm meal commonly eaten as a savoury breakfast in East Asia. Congee is stewed white rice in water. Absolutely nothing else. If there was any left-over rice from the night before, congee breakfast is a way to stretch those last grains into another meal. But economic affluence has brought us a little further from that.
My mom’s congee had a meat broth and finely chopped vegetables. It was pretty much the only thing I could eat after having had some serious dental work. Japanese hospitals are known to serve the frail and elderly, congee cooked in milk and seaweed because it didn’t require chewing. Congee is basic but can also not be basic. Congee can be a culinary art or an elixir. In Chinese fine dining, you can order congee with abalone and truffles.
And, yes, it does come in a sweet version using dark sugar, goji berries and glutinous rice.
The basic rules are
If you are using raw rice- rice to water ratio is:
1:7 for porridge consistency
1:9 for soup consistency
If you are using cooked rice- rice to water ratio is:
1:6 for porridge consistency
1:8 for soup consistency
Here are some of my favourite toppings: chopped scallions, fried shallots, fried tofu, shredded seaweed, coriander, salty white bait and pickled mustard greens.
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Here's a deliciously easy recipe to go with our 5-Grain Mix. If this sounds familiar to you, it was one of the dishes we prepared live on stage at the expo, so we thought we'd give you the chance to make it for yourself!