Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Congee

Winter breakfast congee

Congee or Kanji is a pan Asian comfort food. It's a simple fare of overcooked rice, a sort of porridge, eaten sweet or savory. It is the easiest thing to digest, and what babies and the sick eat.

I first made congee when Jill, my acupunturist-Chinese doctor suggested that I fed it to my bowel-troubled dog. I had just found Chloe the Pitbull on my birthday, lost in a big city park. She had been eating whatever she could scavenge. The effect on her intestines was not pretty (-and she was not potty trained).

Chloe, the sick pitbull
(feeling much better after a good dose of TLC -and congee.)

Being a great fan of rice, I decided to make a big batch of congee and to try out some recipes for myself.
I made soup and breakfast porridge.

How to make congee?
1 mesure of rice
5 mesures of water
Cook until mushy (it can take several hours on a stovetop -if you want it faster, put less water).

Breakfast congee for cold mornings
This is perfect if you are sick or need to go out in the cold. You get complete protein with the rice and lentils, and your good fats with the coconut oil.

(1 person)
1 cup congee
1/2 cup cooked coral lentils (reduced to a mush)
1 inch ginger, grated
1/2 apple, grated
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
Heat everything in a covered pot. Adjust salt or agave nectar.
You can make it with a banana, and add spices that you like (cinnamon).
It's also a good idea to cook it with dried fruits such as raisins.

Congee soup for 2
2 cups of congee
3 cups of vegetable broth
2 cup of water
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup of carrots, diced
1 cup of chard leaves, sliced
1 inch ginger
wheat-free tamari

Cook shiitake in 2 cups of water for twenty minutes (bring to a boil and then simmer).
In a pot, cook congee, broth, carrots and chards.
When the mushrooms are ready, add their broth (dashi) to the pot. Slice the shiitake thinly (discard the stem), and add to the preparation.
Add tamari to taste (depending on if your broth is salty or not).
Grate ginger and add to the pot.
Cook until the carrots are soft.

Congee with red cabbage

A great side dish for winter.
Red cabbage is a traditional winter vegetable. Cooked with fruits (I chose apples and dried apricots) it is more festive (it is for instance a Spanish and Russian Christmas dish).

for 3 portions
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 shredded red cabbage
1 apple, thinly sliced
3 dried apricots, in small cubes
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or balsamic)
2 tbsp tamari

Cook onion on medium heat in coconut oil until translucent. Lower heat and add tamari. When onions are brown, add cabbage, apple, cubed apricots, nutmeg. Mix well, and cook, covered on medium-low heat. When cabbage starts to soften, add vinegar. When it is soft but still a little crunchy, add congee (1 to 2 cups), adjust tamari and vinegar, mix well and cook until desired consistency.

Read more about Congee here


Jill Stevens, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist said...

I love this! I love what you did with the recipes. I hope it worked well for your birthday pup too. Btw the photo is beautiful!

Sandrine B. said...

Update on the puppy: she was just our foster child and Lori from Hounds Abound ( found her a dad. She's healthy and happy!