Congee originates from Chinese cooking, and really is the easiest thing you could ever make. If you have rice, and water, you can make a large pot of congee to last you throughout the week. After trying congee for the first time, I instantly knew that Delta Blues Rice Grits would provide the creamy texture I desire. Thank you to Delta Blues Rice for creating this unique rice product, and for sponsoring this post.
What are Rice Grits?
Someone once looked at me cock-eyed when I told them about rice grits. Contrary to popular belief, grits don’t solely originate from corn. Rice grits originated from the American South, distinctly from Carolina. As The Smithsonian explains in their article on rice grits, this variety became a local favorite.
Originally grown from fragile Carolina Gold rice, the whole grain was prone to breakage. Farmers exported the intact grains, and used the broken pieces, the rice grits, to serve to the local residents. In the past decade, chefs increasingly use this unique rice product in even high end restaurants. Delta Blues Rice introduced me to this product years ago, and its creamy texture is perfect for my Chinese Congee.
How I Discovered Delta Blues Rice Grits
I’ve featured non-gmo Delta Blues Rice products here on my site many times. In fact, the Delta Blues Rice grits started my connection with this Mississippi company. Originally included in an American Gluten Free Box, I have come to love their various long grain, non-gmo rice varieties. They offer white and brown rice, which I used in my Tres Leche Rice pudding, and my Arroz Con Pollo.
Their Jasmine Rice works perfectly in Asian dishes, such as my Bi Bim Bap. While I have used their rice grits before on my Bits and Grits Waffles, I wanted to create a dish a bit foreign to American palates. Therefore, I chose to use Delta Blues Rice Grits for my take on Chinese Congee. (Visit The Kitchn for an explanation on the difference between long, medium and short grain rice.)
What is Congee? How do You Serve It?
Congee (also known as jook, cháo or Arroz Caldo in other countries) involves two basic ingredients. Rice and a large pot of water. You may prefer to season it with salt, as I did. However, left plain, one likely can use it as baby food. Congee achieves a creamy, almost soupy porridge that comforts the ill and fills the hungry.
Plain congee becomes a base for any toppings you prefer. Are you a Disney fan? Remember the scene in Mulan when MuShu makes porridge for Mulan? That my friends, is congee. And above is my attempt at recreating it. This video suggests using quail eggs, which are impossible to find in Flint. So instead I used soft boiled eggs. What kid wouldn’t want a fun bowl of porridge like this?
The Perfect Dish After Getting Glutened
Traditionally, families serve congee to those who are ill. Which makes it perfect for those with Celiac Disease. How often do we accidentally consume gluten, craving something warm and simple to soothe our stomachs? Use congee as a base for a gluten free take on chicken noodle soup, complete with a touch of tamari and ginger to settle your stomach.
My dish of congee made with Delta Blues Rice Grits also contains a smattering of peanuts and green onion for garnish. There are more variations of congee than you can shake a chop stick at. One can also cook it in any matter of liquid. Use chicken or beef stock. Some recipes even use milk!
Congee is a Great Way to Repurpose Leftovers
Leftovers make great congee toppings. That inspired my “beef tip” version of congee. Ever have leftover steak from a summertime grill? Have extra mushrooms that need to be cooked? I used marinated and quickly cooked beef stew meat, in addition to sauteed mushrooms on my congee bowl.
With a touch of Isola Imports Balsalmic Cream, this bowl of “plain” porridge is transformed into a marvelous meal. Feel free to used leftover pulled pork, or smoked salmon as well! While congee is normally savory, I’m tempted to make a sweet version using the topping from my mini apple cheesecakes, and cinnamon roasted almonds!
Tips on Making Congee
A few tips on making congee. I suggest making it in the largest pot you have. (I used my favorite Staub Cast Iron 4 – qt Universal Pan.) Depending on how thin you want it, one uses 6-8 cups of water for every one cup of rice. You need someplace for the steam and starchiness to go, so go big when it comes to the pot you choose to cook it in. I also suggest cocking the lid just slightly, to allow steam to escape. (Read: Don’t be like me and make a huge mess on the stove.)
Congee can be made in the slow cooker However, cooking it on the stove allows you to stir it, which increases its creamy texture. Regardless of which method you choose to make congee, I highly suggest using non-gmo Delta Blues Rice Grits as your grain of choice. You won’t regret it!
Congee is a Great Food to Prep for the Rest of the Week
As someone whose stomach cannot tolerate oats (even purity protocol), I love congee all the more. I can see making a large pot at the beginning of the week when school starts. So quick and easy, it will make getting out the door at 7 am so much easier!
If you are not a fan of rice, or are intolerant, you can make porridge out of many different grains. Try this Creamy Amaranth Porridge from Meaningful Eats, or this Apple Cinnamon Buckwheat Porridge from Belly Mind Soul. Of course, if you can tolerate purity protocol oats, you could try this Savory Slow Cooker Oatmeal from Cotter Crunch.
- 1 cup rice (preferably Delta Blues Rice Grits)
- 7-8 cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- If time permits, rinse rice prior to using. Run water through them until it comes out clean.
- Place rice in large 4 qt (or bigger) pot. Combine rice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour, or more. Keep pot covered, but with lid tilted so that steam can escape. This prevents the congee from boiling over.
- Stir congee every 10-15 minutes to prevent sticking, as well as aid in the breakdown of the rice.
- Serve congee with preferred toppings.