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Congee with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Congee Brown RiceRecipe by Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, FAND, CFCS

Congee, or rice porridge, is often considered an Asian comfort food — and an Asian version of risotto. Its prolonged cooking time breaks down the rice, resulting in a thick, creamy and hearty porridge.

This dish can be eaten plain or cooked with vegetables, seasonings, a protein food (such as chicken, meat or fish), and topped with savory or sweet condiments. Congee is typically eaten for breakfast (even with its savory flavors!) or as a late supper main dish. Depending on the ingredients chosen, congee can be vegetarian or vegan.  In some cultures, congee substitutes for cooked rice as a side dish. 

Made with brown rice, congee is another way to fit fiber into the day…and it's gluten-free!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup (2 ounces) sliced fresh oyster, shiitake, or portabello mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, cut in 3 pieces, optional
1 cup brown rice *
9 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water, or a combination
2 cups (4 ounces) chopped bok choy (Chinese cabbage), optional
Low-sodium soy sauce, to taste

Condiments (options)

Chopped hard-cooked egg
Cooked popcorn shrimp
Cooked shredded chicken or turkey
Diced tempeh
Crushed peanuts
Toasted sesame seeds
Sliced green onions
Shredded carrots
Sliced bamboo shoots
Sautéed chopped onions
Chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or mint
Pickled ginger root
Sesame oil

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, ginger root, garlic, and lemongrass, if desired; cook and stir until the mushrooms soften.
  2. Mix in the rice and the broth or water; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, tilting the lid to let allow steam escape. Cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the bok choy. Continue to cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the rice is thick, creamy, and to the consistency you prefer; stir occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the pot.
  3. Season to taste with soy sauce. Remove lemongrass if used. Serve hot with one or more condiments of your choice.

Cooking Notes

  • Substitute enriched white rice if preferred.
  • Because congee takes time to cook, make it ahead, refrigerate, and reheat within a day or two to serve. The consistency will be thicker. This also gives time for the flavors to blend.
  • Congee can be made by simply cooking 1 cup white or brown rice with 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut and 2 tablespoons honey in 9 cups water for about 90 minutes. Then it can be topped with fresh sliced fruit, e.g. mango, papaya, pineapple, dates.

Nutrition Information

(Without condiments)

Serves 6 (Serving size: 1 cup)

Calories: 170; Calories from fat: 30; Total fat: 3.5g; Saturated fat: 0g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 5mg; Sodium: 230mg; Total carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary fiber: 2g; Sugars: 2g; Protein 3g