I first read about Congee in an incredibly informative cookbook by Chef John Ash entitled Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food From a Master Teacher. Congee, or jook, is a rice porridge commonly served for breakfast in many Asian countries. It’s known to have a restorative quality and is believed by many to be a great remedy for a hangover. While the only late nights I’ve had in the past eight years involved nursing babies and sleep training toddlers, I have found that congee has a theraputic quality and is easy on the stomach.
To make congee, simmer 3/4 cup of long grain white rice with 9 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer over medium low heat with the lid partially on for 1-1.5 hours. Stir often, breaking down the grains until they have a smooth consistency.
While we Americans like our breakfast sweet, congee is usually served with savory toppings. Some eat it with pork or fish, but I enjoy a vegetarian version topped with Kim Chi, seaweed, peanuts, grated carrots, fried shallots, garlic and soy sauce. While eating white rice morning, noon, and night wouldn’t be the best thing for your blood sugar, this dish is very economical and could be eaten for days on a shoestring budget.