Congee (conjee or rice gruel), a rice porridge found throughout Asian, has countless variations but is singular in its comforting properties. It makes an excellent savory breakfast, is wonderful as a simple lunch or dinner, and can soothe a cold or hangover. We make our congee in our electric rice cooker which has a porridge setting, always coming out at just the right consistency (not too soupy, not too thick), but it's just as easy to cook it stovetop.
I had the following brown rice congee recently at Juicebox, an all-organic juice company and cafe on Seattle's Capitol Hill, and have since reproduced it at home. It's perfection in a bowl, simple yet strikingly full of flavor, and wonderful when topped with tangy pickled aromatics, or try with your favorite garnishes. You can't go wrong.
Brown Rice Congee with Soft Boiled Egg and Pickled Turmeric
1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
9 cups chicken stock
4 eggs, soft boiled
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy sauce to taste
Pickled turmeric (recipe below)
Quick pickled shallots (recipe below)
Fresh cilantro and snipped chives for garnish
Add brown rice and stock to a medium stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.
Continue simmering for about an hour to an hour and a half until it reaches the consistency of porridge. Add more stock or water if a thinner consistency is desired.
Season to taste with salt and/or soy sauce and pepper and keep warm on stove while eggs are cooking.
Meanwhile, cook eggs in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. Once cooked to your desired consistency, remove one egg at a time with a spoon and carefully peel under cool running water. Set aside until all four eggs are peeled.
Divide porridge among four bowls and add a soft boiled egg to each (preferably halved). Garnish with the pickled turmeric and shallots then top with fresh cilantro and snipped chives.
1/2 pound fresh turmeric root, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
Juice of 3 oranges
Remove the skin from the turmeric with the edge of a spoon. With a vegetable peeler or mandolin, thinly slice the root lengthwise into long strips. Place strips in a glass jar, add salt, orange juice and just enough rice vinegar to cover. Place lid on jar, gently shake to combine ingredients and refrigerate for a day or so.
Quick Pickled Shallots
1 bulb shallots
A pinch of kosher salt
A pinch of sugar
Peel and thinly slice shallots and place in a bowl. Add enough rice vinegar to cover, add salt and sugar and stir to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Drain before serving.