Plant-based Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)
This vegan congee recipe uses few ingredients and is super easy to make. It can either be cooked in a pan on the hob or in a slow cooker. Both ways are great and included in this recipe. This is a great meal that gives the nice warming effects of a soup and due to the rice, is a great substantial dish too. Jasmine rice can also be substituted for brown rice if you want.
For the congee:
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 6 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups of water
- 5 cups vegetable broth (see recipe in module 4)
- 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced into 3 to 4-inch chunks
- 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- A good pinch of salt and pepper to taste
For the toppings:
- Rinse the rice once and drain.
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil in the saucepan
- Quickly rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms. Next, take the water off the heat and add the mushrooms to the hot water and let them soak for 30 to 45 minutes.
In the pan method:
- Transfer the rice, shiitake mushrooms, and the water used for soaking the mushrooms to a large pot. Next, add the remaining 2 cups of water, vegetable broth, lemongrass, ginger slices, garlic, and salt to the pot.
- Cover the pot with a lid and bring everything to boil. Then, reduce the heat to low. Let the congee simmer for an hour. Make sure to check the congee occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t boil over or stick to the pan.
- After an hour, uncover the lid. The congee might look very watery at this point, and that’s okay. Give everything a stir. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with the lid again, leaving it slightly ajar. Let the congee cool for 15 to 20 minutes. The congee thickens as it cools and should be ready after this
- If after 20 minutes, the congee is still looking very watery, turn the heat back on to low and simmer the congee simmer for another 15 minutes if needed
- Remove the mushrooms, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic from the pot, if you like. Serve the congee in bowls and add your favorite toppings. You can slice up the mushrooms and eat them, if you want. I prefer sautéing fresh shiitake mushrooms and serving them on top of the congee.
Slow Cooker method:
- Transfer the rice, shiitake mushrooms, and the water used for soaking the mushrooms into the bowl of the slow cooker. Next, add the remaining 2 cups of water, vegetable broth, lemongrass, ginger slices, and salt.
- Secure the slow cooker with the lid. Then let the slow cooker cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
- Once the congee is done cooking, let the pressure naturally release, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Double check that the pressure has released before opening the lid. You’ll notice that the congee is watery, and that’s okay. Give everything a stir and switch the slow cooker off. Loosely cover the slow cooker with the lid, leaving it slightly ajar. Let the porridge cool for 15 to 20 minutes so that the rice can absorb more liquid and the congee can thicken.
- Remove the mushrooms, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic from the pot, if you like. Serve the congee in bowls and add your favorite toppings.