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Congee is the Ultimate Meal in a Bowl

If you haven't tried this customizable meal for any time of day, here's why congee should be on your menu this week.

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If congee hasn’t been on your radar yet, we’re about to change that. This easy congee made in the slow cooker is your new breakfast, lunch or dinner option – yes, that’s right, this one recipe can actually be transformed into a meal for any time of day.

But for those of you who might not be familiar with this porridge-like meal, first let’s take a look at what congee actually is.

A porridge with history

In Chinese culture, congee is a breakfast, lunch or dinner food that’s eaten with long donuts for dipping. In Korean culture, it’s often given to babies, the elderly and the sick because it’s traditionally a thin consistency and easily digested. Made with stock and seasonings, this porridge is calming and soothing for the soul and the tummy and universally known to be medicinal and comforting.

The ultimate blank canvas

Here, we make congee in the slow cooker as your new anytime meal option — be creative with your favorite toppings to make it your own. Since the traditional dish can be very simple, you can think of congee as a blank canvas for your own preferences. Top it with virtually anything savory such as tamari, sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onions, shreds of roast chicken or leftover beef, soft-boiled eggs, nuts or even chile oil.

To make this recipe heartier, add four bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. After cooking, remove the skin and bones and shred the chicken. Stir in chicken and serve with desired garnishes.

While congee generally is made by simmering it in a pot, here we use a slow cooker so you can set it and forget it. We promise, once you try this savory rice dish, you’re going to want to have it on regular rotation.

Easy Cozy Congee

Servings
8
Prep Time
15 min
Duration
285 min

Ingredients

  • 4¾ cups water
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup long-grain or short-grain brown rice
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts separated
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric or ½ inch finely grated fresh turmeric
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp reduced-sodium tamari, optional
  • Optional garnishes: chopped roasted peanuts or almonds, sliced avocado, cilantro, microgreens, thinly sliced red finger chile, soft-boiled egg, pumpkin seeds or chile oil

Preparation

  1. In a 5-quart slow-cooker insert, combine water, broth, rice, white parts of onions, ginger and turmeric. Cover and cook on high for 4½ hours or on low for 7½ hours, or until grains are broken and mixture is thickened.
  2. Stir in sesame oil and tamari (if using). Divide among bowls and top with remaining chopped green onions and your choice of garnishes. As the congee cools, it will become thicker. Add additional stock or water if necessary to make the congee to your desired thickness. Cover the cooled congee and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Chef’s Tip: To peel ginger, hold the root in one hand close to the pointed base of a spoon to obtain a good amount of pressure and scrape the skin. The edge of a spoon won’t dull like a paring knife or vegetable peeler dealing with the ginger fibers and is able to get around the knobbly shape.

 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size ⅛ of recipe
  • Calories 128
  • Carbohydrate Content 22 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 3 g
  • Fiber Content 1.5 g
  • Protein Content 5 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 1 g
  • Sodium Content 40 mg
  • Sugar Content 0.5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 1 g