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Monday, January 11, 2016

Brown Rice Congee (Jook) for One

The first time I had this satisfying and filling breakfast, it was as a late night snack in a San Francisco restaurant. I had it again when I was hiking in China, and that’s where I became a real fan. The nice thing about this savory meal is that it’s never the same twice, and you can make a big batch to reheat and eat all week, if time is a problem.

4 or 5 dried shiitake mushrooms (or fresh)
Slosh of vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 thin slices of fresh ginger,
¼ cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
2 ¼ cups water or veggie stock
¼ cup thinly sliced greens (bok choy, spinach, kale, fennel, broccoli, etc.)
Salt or soy sauce
Pepper to taste
Garnish Ideas:
Sliced scallions
Fried shallots
Chopped fresh cilantro
Roasted or fried peanuts
Toasted sesame seeds
Pickled ginger
Soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste
  1. If you’re using dried shiitake mushrooms, set them in a small bowl of water to soak for 20 minutes or so. You can discard the water, or toss it in with the rice, if you like. Remove the woody stems from the mushrooms and slice them thinly.
  2. In a heavy pot, sauté the garlic, ginger and mushrooms in the oil until the mushrooms are droopy.
  3. Add the rice and water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking. Cook for about an hour.
  4. Add in the greens and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, or until it is like oatmeal or porridge. Some people like it soupy, some people like it pudding-y. It’s up to you. If you simmer too long and need it thinner, add boiling water.
  5. Season to taste with salt or soy sauce and pepper. Serve hot with the garnishes of your choice.

Doubles well. 

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