Monday, August 9, 2010

Congee for Brekkie, or Dinner, or whenevs

Congee's interesting - one of those more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts kind of nosh. Rice + water + any flavors, be they peanuts, chili oil, greens, or meats end up as a warm, belly-pleasing bowl of porridge.

My first congee was a random lunch in Chinatown. Had jury duty, didn't want a bagel sammich, walked a few blocks from the courthouse and found Buddah Bodai, a vegan dim sum house on the LES. Their mushroom congee totally made my week, and I've since replicated it to the best of my ability several times (oh, how I miss that place). Interestingly, since they serve the Buddhist crowd, you'll find no onion or garlic in theirs (inspires passion! oh noes) but do deviate, if you so desire. Traditionally a breakfast dish, I eat mine for dinner. With dumplings, of course.

Mushroom Congee

6 cups water
1 cup white, flavorful rice (Jasmine is my fav)
8 medium shitakes, chopped
1 bunch beech or enoki mushrooms, separated
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons mushroom stock concentrate (optional)
Salt and sczechuan pepper to taste
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

To garnish:
Shredded bok choy
Chili oil
Chopped scallions or chives

In a large saucepan, bring your water to a boil. Wash your rice and add to pot. Simmer, covered, for an hour.

Add all additional ingredients except your sesame oil and pepper. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes, until the grains of rice have almost totally fallen apart and the stew has a creamy consistency. Finish with sesame oil, stir in bok choy. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with scallions and chili oil.

So good.

Props to my awesome Ma who, while hanging out with me this weekend, built me a tabletop softbox for lighting food. The above deliciousness is in no small part her doing :)


  1. Ma says nom nom, and thanks for a restful and therapeutic weekend making pictures with you and trying new vegetarian delights. All the lovely places we ate, all the nosh you made for me, but I never got to try the congee! Must attempt to emulate, serve to my resident carnivore, and broaden his culinary perspective a bit more.

  2. Ya, not sure how he'd dig the congee. Maybe I'll fix ya a batch next time I'm down there. Love ya moms!