Healthy congee-inspired recipe the family will love
June 20, 2017
This recipe was inspired by a congee breakfast recipe I saw in the June 2017 edition of Gourmet Traveller magazine. I loved the look and sound of the recipe so much I trialed it for dinner and then adapted it to suit what I had on hand, to include more vegetables and some additional depth in the flavour of the poaching liquid. As per last week’s recipe, there is still plenty of pumpkin on hand from our Autumn garden harvest so pumpkin went into this meal too.
One of the primary reasons this recipe appealed to me was that it poaches the chicken and the liquid can then be used as stock. I used chicken breast rather than a whole chicken. Regular readers will know I have a digestive disorder called SIBO. It is not recommended to use stock that is made from chicken carcass bones for those who suffer from SIBO. When cooked the bones excrete a substance that irritates the gut. I love the texture and juicy flavour of poached chicken, if you have not tried it make sure you do so soon. You may also like this recipe for Poached Chicken Squares I learned a few years ago at a cooking school in Queensland, or this winter inspired poached chicken and broccoli pesto udon noodles.
This congee-inspired meal is gentle on the tummy, so warming and comforting it is the ultimate winter feel-good meal. I was a little nervous that Mr Fresh would not be very enthused about the soupy texture of the rich but he surprised me and loved it, as did the kids. I also loved that there was plenty for leftovers the following day or two making it a budget friendly family meal. As the kids grow and eat larger serving sizes I find lunch left overs are becoming a thing of the past so it is a treat to have some.
You can adapt this recipe to use any side vegetables with the rice. There are versions of congee in all Asian countries, with many of them using it traditionally as a restorative, healing meal. Each country has it’s own adaptation, length of cooking, sides and use of grains. I made ours to a texture I thought we’d most enjoy which took about 1 and 1/2 hours to cook. The cooking of the rice is slow and gentle, not a heavy simmer. It should require very little attention as it cooks, Monitor it towards the end of the cook time to achieve the level of consistency you are happy with. The rice can have simmering while you do other things.
This is my congee-inspired winter family recipe.
An age-old comfort food served to gently warm the family. Easy to digest and filled with fresh ginger to boost the immune system.
Add the stock ingredients (except the coconut aminos) to a large pot on the stove top and set to medium high heat to bring to the boil
Add the whole chicken breast when the water has come to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes
Turn off the heat, leaving the chicken to cook completely and the water to cool -approximately 3 hours. Remove the chicken once cooked and slice. Keep the water in the pot for cooking the rice.
Pumpkin: Bake the cubed pumpkin while the chicken is poaching. Set over to heat to 17- degrees celcius and bake for approximately 30 minutes (depending on size of cubes) until cooked through and then remove from the oven.
Shallots: Add oil to a pan on the stove top and when warmed add the shallots and cook until browned then remove
Mushrooms: Add oil to a pan (it can be the same pan used for the shallots) and once warm add the mushrooms and cook on medium high heat until slightly caramelised
Set aside the fresh ginger and chopped bok choy for serving
Add the rice to the water in the pot that was used to cook the chicken. Turn on the heat again and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for approximately 1 and 1/2 hr until the rice has turned soupy and absorbed much of the liquid. Stir after 1 hr and stop cooking when the rice reaches a consistency you are happy with. Add the coconut aminos and stir through
Add some rice to each plate
Add the additional components
Top each bowl with some freshly shaved ginger, the bok choy, spring onion and coriander, salt and pepper. Dress with the sauce if desired, or extra coconut aminos or soy sauce
You can prepare the toppings in advance while the chicken cooks and then re-heat them prior to serving.
Coconut aminos is a soy sauce substitute.
I am a few hundred years late to the discovery of congee but I am so pleased I finally did. The slow cook time is not onerous. The gentle infusion of flavour. adding goodness the whole time happens without too much input from the cook. I love that you can add what ever ingredients you have on hand to the bowl to serve. The left overs are perfect for lunch the following day, or days.
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