This comforting savoury ginger congee is is a staple rice dish across many Asian countries. It is traditionally eaten as a breakfast in China, but it is so good that I love it curled up on the sofa late at night. This is food that feeds your soul as well as your belly. Honestly this just makes you feel good!
Now if you read Sprinkles on a regular basis you will know that I am not the biggest pudding/dessert fan. Chocolate brownies and ice cream are my two exceptions (together or separately). So the idea of rice pudding just does not appeal! BUT when I first heard about congee I was super excited!!! It is sort of like a rice pudding for people who don’t have a sweet tooth. Really it is a savoury rice pudding and I love it.
I first tried it way back after I saw Ben O’Donoghue make it on the English version of the cook show ‘The Best’. It was pretty much love at first taste. Soft unctuous creamy rice, flavoured with soy and ginger and topped with plenty of fresh herbs. I knew it was a long term favourite. I think many people are put off congee, because it can be rather bland compared to many other Asian dishes. But that is the beauty of it. It is a blank canvas to add to. I add plenty of ginger, garlic and a really salty and peppery stock. That all gives the rice plenty of flavour and makes everything sing! I used some ginger water that I was sent by The Ginger People, you might remember I mentioned them in my Lychee Ginger Fizz Recipe. This water is perfect as it is packed with ginger flavour but with none of the fibrous texture you can sometimes get when you cook ginger for a long time. If you are using fresh ginger, then I suggest you grate it on a microplane grater so that it is super fine.
So the rice is cooked in this flavour boosted stock until it is on the verge of falling apart. Then you pile it up with your favourite toppings, splash on some soy sauce and dig in. So good! If you are feeling under the weather that this will warm you up and give you a big internal hug. Imagine the Asian equivalent of a bowl of chicken soup.
Today I have topped it with a softly boiled egg. I love the way the yolk melds with the rice and the soy. But you could add some shredded chicken, crispy belly pork or even some rare sliced beef and beansprouts. If you love it spicy then the addition of some fried chilli and garlic is perfect. Or a good dollop if asian chilli sauce.
The rice is drizzled soy sauce, and then the crispy shallots are the icing on the cake. Have you seen them in the shops? I could eat them like chips 😳 They are crispy, oniony morsels of yumminess!!!!!! If you can’t get hold of them then a small pile of caramelised onions is equally good!
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- 1/2 litre vegetable stock (2 cups)
- 1 tbsp ginger water (or 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger)
- 1 garlic clove
- white pepper
- 190 g cooked long-grain white rice (1 1/2 cup, about 3/4 cups uncooked)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp crispy shallots
- Fresh coriander
- Soy sauce
Add the stock to the pan along wth the ginger water, crushed garlic clove, plenty of salt and white pepper. Bring to the boil.
Pour in the rice, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is very soft and the mixture has thickened. You might need to add more stock if it starts to look too dry.
Once it has thickened and the rice is soft. Remove from the heat, cover and set to one side.
Cook eggs in boiling water for 7 minutes.
Drain and run them under cold water until you are able to hold them to peel.
Divide the congee between your serving bowls, cut the eggs in half and top each bowl with them.
Sprinkle over the crispy shallots, plenty of fresh coriander and serve with soy sauce for people to add it to taste. (I like a lot of it!)