How to Make Congee (Rice Porridge) – This cozy comfort food is perfect for chilly weather, cleaning out the fridge, or fighting a cold.
When our diet changed a few years ago, I was surprised by how often we could adapt our old favorites to be gluten and dairy free without too much trouble. We’ve even made pretty good progress over the last few years with our holiday favorites, from pie crust to sweet potato casserole.
Then we got a round of colds.
Chicken noodle soup was no longer an option. All the noodles I tried just fell apart over time, and veggie noodles (while delicious) weren’t quite the same as the soft-cooked noodles I had grown up with in soup. So, I took to researching chicken and rice soup recipes and that’s when I came upon congee. Congee is a simple Asian soup recipe that relies on good-quality broth and rice to make an almost porridge-like texture. It’s warm, soothing, and comforting–perfect for stuffy noses and sore throats, or any time you’re looking for some cozy comfort.
Even better are all the glorious things you can top it with.
How I love my congee (rice porridge):
I don’t claim for a second that this congee recipe is perfectly authentic, though I’ve done my best. I don’t have a drop of Asian heritage to speak of, so my recipe and method have been cobbled together from other congee recipes I’ve tried over the last three years and have settled just where I like them.
The congee itself is pretty mild–it gets its flavor from rice and broth (so the better the broth, the better the soup). I season my broth with a little bit of fresh ginger and garlic to add a layer of flavor, and then top it with all kinds of things. Some people like a few drops of Sriracha or even a bit of kimchi for some kick, but my favorites are splash of tamari (you could use soy sauce or coconut aminos), some fresh cilantro or sliced green onions, freshly cracked pepper, and a poached egg.
The poached egg is really where it’s at for me with congee. I’ve stepped up my egg game a lot in the last few years, and a well-cooked egg is one of my desert island foods. Eggs are such an easy, portable, adaptable source of protein, and they add a bit of richness to the congee here. In my mind, they’re a must.
Using quality ingredients is so important in a dish like this (that has so few ingredients!) to make each ingredient count. I used the the happy egg co. eggs for my congee recipe. Look at that gorgeous yolk color! I love that they’re so transparent with their product and labeling. Their hens produce truly free range eggs on farms with access to 8 acres of open pasture to run, jump, flap, etc. Even so, they’re remarkably affordable and they taste as close to farm-fresh eggs as I can find without raising them myself!
So pull out those pots and pans and get cooking! This congee (and those gorgeous poached eggs!) are calling!
Tips & Tricks for Perfect Congee:
Happy Eggs. Though you can choose lots of toppings for congee, I think a good egg is a must. I most often pick up the happy egg co. eggs at my local Sprouts, but they’re also carried at Safeway, Kroger, Albertson’s and Walmart. Find them near you!
Better Broth. The better your broth, the better your congee, and if there is any way for you to use a bone-based broth, I highly, HIGLY recommend that. I use this method to make it in my slow cooker, but you can also make it in an instant pot or on the stovetop.
Let’s talk leftovers. Congee will thicken the longer it cooks and when the leftovers are refrigerated. Simply add a bit of water (or more broth, if you have it) to the leftovers before re-heating to thin it back out.