Does it ever amaze you that how many similar looking dishes are prepared or served otherwise with different names across the world? When I came across Congee, it instantly reminded me of khichdi and risotto. All three dishes are rice based meal. Needs slow long cooking hours. And gives a sheer level of coziness in every spoonful. Rice, being the staple for half of the world’s population, makes numerous such hearty one-pot meals in different delicious ways.
Congee is an extremely simple dish where rice is simmered in a lot of water to get that smooth, buttery texture. The idea is to stir it every now and then, so that the grain breaks down to give that silky finish. Congee, on it’s own, could be flat and not so tempting to the palate or eye. But when you add layers of flavor and texture, the same ordinary porridge can transform into something extra special. Miso, the famous Japanese seasoning, has the ability to bring this umami taste and with congee, it’s a perfect arrangement.
I had made this dish last year for Foodhall as part of a collaboration and used the miso paste that is available in their store. Depending on the kind of miso you use, the color, flavor and the pungency can vary from mild to strong. I used red miso and hence, the dark shade and flavor of the sauce was deep. Topped with some carrots, frozen peas, some spring onion for garnish and soft-boiled egg, it was an absolute treat.
- 1 cup short grain rice
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn or 1 whole corn of cob
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- 1 tablespoon soya sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- green onion, thinly sliced
- 2 half boiled eggs, optional
- Clean the rice several times and then, drop it in a saucepan along with the stock. If the stock does not have salt, you might have to add some according to your taste. Turn on the heat and bring it to a boil. Then, turn down the heat to low and allow it to simmer for at least an hour, stirring in between, until the rice almost cooked through and turns into a porridge.
- Drop the carrots, corn and peas into the rice. Keep it in the low heat for a few more minutes to completely cook the rice and then, switch off the heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk soya sauce, garlic, miso paste and 3 tablespoons of water. Pour half of the sauce into the porridge and give it a stir. Taste for salt and add any, if required.
- Sprinkle chopped green onion on top, drizzle the remaining sauce and serve warm along with half boiled eggs.