According to Wikipedia, congee is:
A type of rice porridge popular in many Asian countries. It can be eaten or served with a side dish. It can be considered as a porridge or thick soup.
In many Asian cultures, it is also called juk (Cantonese, Korean), chao (Vietnamese), chok (Thais) or kayu (Japanese).
In some cultures congee is eaten primarily as a breakfast food or late supper. It is often considered particularly suitable for the sick as a mild, easily digestible food.
I was introduced to congee by a writer friend of mine, who made it in her crock pot. (Since she’s originally from the South, I’d tease her that she was making “Asian grits.”) When my husband bought me a Cuisinart rice cooker and I found out that rice was the only grain I could eat due to my food sensitivities, I started to look for congee recipes.
The Everything Rice Cooker Cookbook
The Everything Rice Cooker Cookbook by Hui Leng Tay has a whole chapter on congee – pumpkin congee, tuna and corn congee, and even gojiberry congee – 10 congee recipes in all.
All the congee recipes look very easy to make and didn’t need anything more exotic than soy sauce. The rest of the book has been criticized in the reviews on Amazon for using too many hard-to-find Asian ingredients. That’s hardly the case as long as you have a decent Asian section in your supermarket or health food store or an Asian market nearby.
However, if you’re looking for more basic rice cooker dishes like risotto, soups or chilis, maybe The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook would be a better fit for you.
Based on the Sweet Potato Congee recipe in The Everything Rice Cooker Cookbook
- 1 cup of brown rice, rinsed and drained
- 4 to 5 cups water, less water for thicker consistency
- 1 peeled yam, cut into 1 inch chunks
- salt, to taste
- Add the rinsed rice and water to the rice cooker, cover and set to Cook.
- When you hear the rice cooker making noises and see some over-bubbling of fluid at the lid (or in the vent), add the sweet potatoes and salt.
- Stir congee and continue to cook for 30 to 45 minutes. (Tilt the cover slightly to vent the steam pressure if your rice cooker doesn’t have a vent.)
- Stir occasionally until yams are cooked through.
- You can keep on warm for up to an hour.
This Mama’s tips
- I took The Everything Rice Cooker Cookbook’s Sweet Potato Congee recipe and modified it since I like yams better than sweet potatoes. You can use either. (Don’t know the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? Read this article.)
- During this process you can adjust the amount of water, depending on whether you like soupy or thick rice congee. (I like thick, so I didn’t add extra water.) Brown rice tends to need more water than white rice, so err on the side of a little too much water.
- You can serve this for breakfast or as a savory side dish. For breakfast, you could add a little stevia or agave - very similar to hot oatmeal. For a savory dish, add soy sauce or a herb blend like Mrs. Dash.
- Congee heats up very well the next day in the microwave.
- Calories 198
- Calories from Fat 12
- Total Fat 1.3g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Sodium 51mg
- Total Carbohydrates 42.1g
- Dietary Fiber 2.6g
- Sugars 1.9g
- Protein 4.1g
- Vitamin A 110%
- Vitamin C 9%
- Calcium 3%
- Iron 6%
Nutrition Grade A- from CalorieCount
Weight Watchers POINTS = 3