Congee, or as I know it in Cantonese as “jook” is a rice porridge or soup. A common cold weather staple in many Asian countries as well as a a nourishing, easily digestible food for someone recovering from illness. It was on heavy rotation on the stove all throughout my childhood.
It was a way to use up leftover cooked rice as well as a way to stretch out limited resources during times of famine. It is also a versatile blank canvas to load up on both flavor or nutrition. It can be enjoyed plain made with simply rice and water, but also with animal proteins or vegetarian too.
Here is a version I made in my pressure cooker:
Cooking time ~1 hr
- Rinse rice with cold water until water runs mostly clear, then transfer into pressure cooker or pot;
- Add your ginger, garlic, kombu, shiitake, chicken and boiling water;
- Lid on your pressure cooker, bring to boil. *Mine took approx 1 hr;
- Once you depressurize your cooker, you can remove your ginger, kombu, shiitake and chicken;
*The garlic will likely breakdown in the cooking process, but remove any remaining chunks if there are any.
- Stir your now transformed congee, it should be silky, thick and some visible soft grains of rice remaining.
If too thick, add additional water to thin it out;
- Discard your ginger and kombu;
- Shred your chicken, discard the bones;
- Slice up your shiitake;
- Add your chicken and shiitake back into congee. Stir to incorporate;
- Add your grated ginger, green onion and salt/soy sauce to taste;
- Enjoy and thank your tummy for all the important work it does to help nourish your body :)
Modifications & extras:
In colder months, it is important to feed yourself foods that both compliment and balance the climate and your personal constitution. Logically, in cold conditions, consuming warm, cooked (in temperature and energetics) foods. By consuming something warm, you avoid shocking your internal organs, taxing your digestive fire and cooking is a method of “pre-digesting” your food. Overall, it will require less energy to breakdown and assimilate the nutrients derived from what you have eaten. Hence, congee would meet most of these requirements!