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What is Congee?

Updated on March 30, 2017
This image depicts one example of congee made with chicken.  As you can see, the different seasoned toppings also makes this a fun meal to prepare.
This image depicts one example of congee made with chicken. As you can see, the different seasoned toppings also makes this a fun meal to prepare. | Source

My History With Congee

My daughter first introduced me to congee. I watched her make it and ate too much of it. It was that good--simple and very tasty. I was told this had been labeled as a poor man's diet, and I have read it's considered a breakfast meal in some countries. Even though I am half Asian, I have not experienced everything relative to my cultural descent. This dish, however, is on my permanent list of recipes. Prepare it as a main meal or a side dish; it's terrific comfort food. My mother was Japanese and although I was raised on American cuisine, when other families were eating mashed potatoes and gravy, we were having rice and gravy.

The Real History of Congee

First, remember rice is the most common food of Asian culture and in many instances it is consumed two to three times a day. Just as there are different variations of congee in Asia, there are also different names of this soup dependent on which country is being referenced. In China, for example, this rice dish is called congee or jook. It can be spiced up however is preferred and vegetables such as diced cabbage can be added. This recipe dates back centuries, too, for medicinal purposes dependent on the added ingredient. In Japan, the soup is called Okayu.

Residents of Hong Kong, Philippines and Taiwan flavor their rice soup with ingredients from the sea. The Japanese include mushrooms and Vietnamese use beef and fish sauce. Whatever the ingredient that is traditionally added, this rice soup, or porridge, is a real comfort food.

Long grain rice is the main ingredient and only 1 cup of it.
Long grain rice is the main ingredient and only 1 cup of it.
Use 9 cups of water added to your rice; or chicken broth; or use half broth and half water, but it has to be 9 cups.
Use 9 cups of water added to your rice; or chicken broth; or use half broth and half water, but it has to be 9 cups.
Pork sausage is the second main ingredient.  Use 1 lb. plain sausage.
Pork sausage is the second main ingredient. Use 1 lb. plain sausage.
Fresh ginger or powder substitution.
Fresh ginger or powder substitution.
Soy sauce
Soy sauce
Hoisin sauce (any brand will work well).
Hoisin sauce (any brand will work well).
Oyster sauce
Oyster sauce

My Recipe of Choice

Main Ingredients

1 cup long grain rice

9 cups of water or chicken broth, or you can use half broth and water


Bring water or broth to a boil with rice. Turn heat down so it simmers until it becomes thick like an oatmeal or porridge consistency. If you have never made this before, you might look at it and think, “I am so not eating this,” but you have to trust me--it is good. If you have a lid on your pan, you will want to angle it so it doesn’t boil over. This process can take one to two hours.

What To Do While the Rice Is Boiling

Topping Ingredients

1 lb. roll of plain pork sausage

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. hoisin sauce

Oyster sauce



While the rice is boiling, brown your sausage. Once the sausage is cooked, drain all the grease returning the sausage to your skillet. Stir in your fresh ginger and if you don't have any, you can substitute the powder form. Then, stir in the soy sauce and hoisin sauce. The oyster sauce can be drizzled on top. Keep in mind, too, we each have different taste buds and we like to add more of one ingredient and less of another, so fashion this according to your taste.

Once the rice is done, it will be thick in consistency. While it is cooking, you want to manage stirring it often so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Once it is at the desired consistency, ladle some into a bowl. Then you want to spoon some of your sausage mixture on top of the rice soup and not forgetting to drizzle the oyster sauce.

Other Ingredients You Can Add For Flavoring or Coloring

Chopped green onion

Fresh cilantro

Chili seasoning

Sesame oil

Sliced cabbage

Note: You can also use other meats such as ground turkey, pork or beef. As indicated earlier, some cultures use seafood, i.e., shrimp.


If you have never experienced this type of meal before, whatever variation you try, I hope you have fun with it and enjoy it as much as we do!



Comments

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  • MyOfficeBooks profile image

    MyOfficeBooks 

    6 years ago from Brisbane

    Haha I've already got it on the stove with the timer going....I'm going to use my leftover roast chicken with eshallots....cannot wait!

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    MyOfficeBooks, there is just something addictive about this concoction with the flavors that makes it good every time. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week ahead. Maybe make congee!

  • MyOfficeBooks profile image

    MyOfficeBooks 

    6 years ago from Brisbane

    Fantastic! You have NO idea how often I have "thought" about congee and how it's made. I was first introduced to congee in Malaysia ten years ago. We have an asian community shopping centre who sells it, which I go there "sometimes" for a special treat. Now I can make it anytime and will do so for lunch with my roast meat leftovers!! Thank you :-)

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Awesome! I love it too! Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you're having a great day!

  • brandasaur profile image

    brandasaur 

    6 years ago from Planet X

    Oh my! Congee! I so love this. This is one of the most common food you'll see in the streets here. Very easy to cook, ingredients are all easy to find. We love to pair it with hard boiled egg or vegetable spring rolls :)

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    RTalloni, you are so welcome! Hope you love it too.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 

    6 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I'm very much looking forward to trying it!

    Voted up.

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Stephaniedas, I'm warning you, it's contagious! It's so inexpensive to make once you have all the ingredients on hand. Hope you like it when you try it! Thanks for your comment.

  • stephaniedas profile image

    Stephanie Das 

    6 years ago from Miami, US

    I've never tried congee, but I'm always looking for new types of food. This sounds delicious and similar to something I make with leftover rice at home.

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Peggy W, thank you much for your comment. I'm telling you when I first saw the rice cooked before the ingredients were dropped on top, I thought to myself, "Uh, no, I don't think so," but I gave it a chance and absolutely loved it, loved it. I could eat a whole pot by itself.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    6 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Your congee sounds like a great way to use leftovers and make another tasty meal. Generally I do the same making soups. Your recipe using sausage, ginger and hoisin sauce sounds really tasty. Thanks!

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    rjsadowski and debbie, thanks very much for your comments. When I first saw it being made, all I could think about was tapioca, which never ever appealed to me. Having complete trust in my daughter and her boyfriend, however, with the toppings, I tried the congee and I am hooked.

  • rjsadowski profile image

    rjsadowski 

    6 years ago

    Interesting take on it. My Chinese friends primarily used congee for breakfast and got rid of some of their leftovers from the night before if they had any.

  • debbie roberts profile image

    Debbie Roberts 

    6 years ago from Greece

    I like the sound of this recipe and will try it out for sure. It's a nicely written hub too. Well done.

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Thanks very much, moonlake, for your comment.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 

    6 years ago from America

    Sounds very good. Will add this to my recipe box.

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