Mushroom Congee

Mushroom Congee with Tomato Achaar

Congee, a comforting rice porridge, is most often associated with East Asian cuisine but the word congee actually has Indian roots. The Tamil word kanji or Kannada word ganji refers to the water in which rice is cooked. Different versions of the porridge are cooked throughout India and Asia. No congee is ever the same and the recipe is easily adaptable to what you have on hand, which is why I love it so much. You can also have fun with the toppings!

Mushroom Congee with Tomato Achaar

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cup long grain rice, rinsed
8 cups vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon butter or neutral oil
8 oz mushrooms such as shiitake or maitake mushrooms, sliced (We also threw in some brown beech to our bowl!)

Toppings
sliced scallions
Tomato Achaar
Asian sesame oil
tamari or soy sauce

Method

In large pot add stock or water, rinsed rice, salt, garlic and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer the congee for 60-90 minutes or until the congee is thickened and creamy. Stir from time to time so that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of your pot or clump. Taste for salt. 

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter. Saute mushrooms over medium-high heat until cooked down and browned, about 10 minutes.  Make sure to leave the mushroom in the pan and not stir them too much so they brown nicely.  Flip them half way through. Add salt to season them. Turn off the heat.

Serve congee in bowls. Top with mushrooms, chopped scallions, a spoon of tomato achaar and a drizzle of sesame oil and tamari or soy sauce.

Note: As the congee cools, it becomes thicker so you can add more stock or water to get back to your desired thickness.

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