Life Style

Congee is the Hug-In-A-Bowl We All Need Right Now

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is currently staring at their pantry, trying to figure out if there’s a new way to use the staple ingredients on the shelves.

Pasta, beans, rice — they’re all great, but can get a little boring.

In my search for ways to use my pantry staples in interesting ways, I remembered a dish I had a few years ago that is quite similar to kitchari, but leans on different flavors in my cupboards. Congee is a Chinese rice porridge that is incredibly easy to make, and is the perfect blank canvas to dress up  using whatever other ingredients you may have on hand. What I love about this dish is how soft the rice becomes. It’s such a cozy dish as the rice grains break down into a thick porridge, and after this last week, I have a feeling all of us could use an extra dose of comfort.

All you really need to make this is rice and water or broth. I’ve read of a few different ratios of rice to liquid that people use, But I like the ratio of 1:8. (I used 1/2 cup rice to 4 cups of liquid.) If you want more liquid, go for a 1:9 ratio.

Traditionally, people would use jasmine rice, but I only ever have basmati rice on hand. You could use plain water or broth of your choice. I did 2 cups of water and 2 cups of veggie broth. From there, I used what I had on hand. I had some ginger and a little garlic hanging around in my produce basket along with some soy sauce and mushrooms that I used to add some extra flavor to my congee. To top it off, I added some of the leftover sautéed mushrooms I had along with a boiled egg and some green onions. Because my batch of congee makes enough for four servings, I topped off my bowl the next day with some sautéed greens and a fried egg with hot sauce. The day after, I added a few cubes of tofu and some pickled veggies. The options are truly endless.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m sure my version isn’t traditional, but it was fun to experiment with different flavors that I don’t always reach for on a regular basis.

For your cooking process, you’ve got a couple choices: instant pot/pressure cooker or stove top. I personally used the instant pot and love the hands off approach to cooking in it, but it will take about the same amount of time on the stove top, just with a little more hands on time. Use what you have and make it work!

Scroll on and enjoy this easy dish that feels like an extra dose of comfort.

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