Unfortunately my family is dealing with an unpleasant stomach bug at the moment (fortunately I am feeling fine, and am hoping it stays that way!). I was trying to come up with something good to serve them that would be easy to make and would help heal them, and thought at first- chicken soup with rice.
And then it hit me- why not make congee, a Chinese rice based porridge, often made with chicken. That way it has the nourishing properties of chicken soup, as well as the binding properties of rice to help settle their upset stomachs. Congee is like risotto, but more watery, and doesn't need to be made with short grain rice.
You can make congee really simply- with just water and rice, or with chicken or fish and seasonings in addition to the rice. You can make it more watery and soup like, or thicker and more porridge like. Often other additions are added to congee once cooked- I only added scallions and soy sauce, but you can add chopped cooked or raw veggies, other proteins, fried onions, egg or anything else you'd like. (Here are some more ideas for additions.)
Traditionally congee is made with washed rice, and then cooked for a long time over a flame until the rice breaks down into a creamy porridge, but I took a short cut and skipped the washing, and then cooked this in my pressure cooker- from when it came to pressure, it only took 20 minutes in the pressure cooker to get this perfect consistency.
I highly recommend this recipe, even if you aren't sick. It's a great comfort food and perfect for a chilly morning, noon, or night.
Easy Pressure Cooker Congee Recipe- Chinese Rice PorridgeIngredients:
1-2 lbs chicken of choice- I used wings
1 inch piece of ginger root
1 large onion
6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups rice of choice (I used short grain rice but any is fine)
8 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
Scallions to garnish (optional)
Soy sauce to garnish (optional)
1. Place all the ingredients (other than the garnishes) in one pot, chopping up the onion, garlic and ginger first if desired, but no need.
2. Bring to pressure, and cook for 20 minutes on a medium or low flame. Keep an eye on it and smell it- I cooked mine a drop more than 20 minutes and it started to toast a bit on the bottom (not burnt, but would have if it kept a bit longer) and I could smell it. If you smell any burning or toasting smell, turn the fire off immediately.
3. Remove from the flame and depressurize.
4. When you open the pot you'll see a lot of liquid on the top and might think it flopped, but don't worry- mix it well and you'll get your porridge like consistency.
5. Serve and garnish if desired.
Variations: If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can do this in a regular pot, you' ll just need a lot more water. One cup of rice to every 6-8 cups of water is standard for a thicker congee, and more water if you want it runnier. Cook it on a low flame and mix it regularly. You can also cook this in a slow cooker in place of a pressure cooker- use 6 cups of water for every cup of rice.
If you have leftover rice you can make congee with it by cooking it in additional water or broth, with spices and meat if desired, but you'll need much less water than if cooking from scratch. Start off with 1 cup of water for every one cup of rice and add more as desired/necessary.
If you don't eat rice, you can make congee with other grains as well, such as quinoa, millet, etc. There are records from ancient times of making congee with millet, so even non rice versions are still traditional.
To keep this vegetarian or vegan, leave out the chicken and add extra spices if desired.