Congee is a Chinese rice porridge made by cooking the rice with lots of water or stock until the grains almost dissolve into a smooth thick creamy mass. In its simplest form, it is made with just water and eaten plain as a healing restorative food for the young, elderly, ill and infirm. It is eaten at any time not just breakfast, and depending on your flavour and ingredient choices, can be a delicious and comforting nutritious meal in one. For more inspiration, check out our upcoming vegetarian Chinese courses.
Vegan Congee with Mung Beans and Peanuts
Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free | Serves 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes +soaking mung beans overnight
Cook Time: 1 ½ hours
- 100g Thai jasmine rice or plain long grain rice
- 50g mung beans, soaked overnight
- 1 ½ litres vegetable stock or water
- 100g raw peanuts (unskinned is fine)
- 4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 spring onions
- 1 red chilli
- 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- Fresh shiitake or chestnut Mushrooms, sliced
- 2 heads of Pak Choi or 2-3 handfuls spinach
- Sesame or chilli oil
- Sesame seeds
- Fresh coriander
- Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water from a kettle.
- Roast the peanuts in a hot oven for 6-10 minutes till aromatic, and if using unskinned nuts, place in a tea towel and rub to remove some of the skins.
- Wash and drain the rice and place in a large saucepan.
- Drain the soaked mung beans and add to the rice with the stock or water.
- Bring the rice and mung beans to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer, and partially cover with a lid. Cook gently for approximately an hour and a half, stirring from time to time.
- Check the congee after an hour and if the rice has collapsed and is a porridge consistency, and the beans are tender, then it it ready. You may need to add more water if it has become too thick. The consistency should be like a thick soupy porridge.
- Stir in the sliced soaked shiitake mushrooms and peanuts to the congee, taste and season with a little salt and keep on a low simmer until ready to serve. The congee will keep in the fridge like this for 2 days and can be reheated with a little extra water to loosen it.
- Meanwhile, prepare the toppings.
- Slice the spring onions thinly and set aside.
- Slice the chilli thinly, removing the seeds first if desired.
- Shred the ginger into long thin fine strips and briefly fry in a hot frying pan with a little oil. It should sizzle for a minute and become crispy without browning. Remove to a plate lined with a piece of kitchen towel.
- Sauté the mushrooms quickly in the same pan with a little more oil, then add the pak choy or spinach, and stir fry briefly until it wilts and becomes tender. Set aside, but keep warm.
- To serve, ladle the congee into deep bowls and top with some of the mushrooms and pak choi, a sprinkle of spring onions, crispy ginger, chilli, coriander and sesame seeds. Finally add a drizzle of sesame or chilli oil.
Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.
This recipe was featured in the January 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living.
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