Slow Cooker Congee Recipe
Whip up this classic Chinese rice dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The best part? You'll barely lift a finger.
When it comes to comfort food, congee has the pedigree that comes with a long history. Congee, or jook, is a Chinese porridge of boiled rice flavored with a wide variety of condiments and toppings. Known as “chok” in Thailand, “babaw” in Cambodia, “san byohk” in Burma, or “cháo” in Vietnam, congee and its variations have been a culinary staple throughout Asia for thousands of years. This soothing dish, which began as a way to make use of leftover rice, became an important dish in its own right and versions of congee are served as a side dish or meal any time of day, depending on its toppings.
Because the soft rice is easy to digest, congee may be served to infants or the elderly or to soothe an upset belly, especially with the addition of natural remedies like ginger or mint leaves. Although its soothing properties are obvious, congee in its many forms is typically a savory dish and can be modified to please any palate for breakfast, supper or in place of conventional rice on any plate.
Once the porridge has been cooked to a desired consistency (sometimes thick, sometimes soupy), the possibilities are endless. Preserved eggs called “century eggs,” pickled or fresh garden vegetables, herbs, seafood or shredded meat are typical toppings, but congee may be made with just about anything that appeals. Although enjoyed around the world, savory porridge may take some getting used to as a breakfast food. If preferred, fruit or coconut milk can be used to satisfy an early morning sweet tooth.
Congee can be made on the stovetop and many rice cookers have a setting for the renowned porridge, but we prefer to make it using a slow cooker. Left to burble away throughout the night, a smooth and silky breakfast is ready and waiting to be topped with whatever is on hand. Given the surplus of eggs provided by our trusty backyard chickens and a pantry full of pickled vegetables, there are plenty of options.
Basic congee can be made using little more than water and rice, but using chicken stock adds tremendous flavor to an easy-to-make meal that starts (or ends) the day off right.
Slow Cooker Congee
- 1 cup rice
- 8 cups chicken broth or water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine rice, broth and salt in slow cooker and cook at low heat 8 hours.
- Poached egg
- Shredded beef, pork or poultry
- Fresh or pickled vegetables
- Cooked greens (spinach, kale, collards, etc.)
- Grated ginger
- Fresh herbs
- Soy sauce, hot sauce or chili paste