Congee is a rice porridge popular in Asian countries. Historically, it was a way for poor families to make the rice supplies last as long as possible. Only a small amount of grain is needed to make congee. The rice is slow cooked in a large amount of water until the grains break up and turn into a thick soup. Nowadays, congee is eaten with a variety of ingredients, ranging from sweet to savory. There are so many great ingredients and toppings for this dish, it’s really hard to name a favorite.
We prepare congee quite often at home. It’s great for toddlers like Simon, especially when they’re having their first solid food. Now that he can chew, it’s a convenient way for us to make him more diverse meals. Some ingredients can be difficult to approach for toddlers but mixed in congee they seem much more friendly. We also have this tradition of preparing congee when someone is sick at home. I’m not sure where it came from but in Chinese culture, congee, or jook as we call it, is known for being a remedy for illness. But you don’t need to be sick or a toddler to eat congee, it’s a great dish that can be eaten during any meal of the day.
While this recipe includes shrimp and boy-choy, these would be fairly easy to replace with any other ingredients of your choice. I also like it with fish to keep it simple or salted duck eggs for a more Asian version. For toppings, I usually stay with the green onions and fried shallot combo, but feel free to experiment!
Shrimp & Bok-Choy Congee
- 1/2 cup rice (I use short grain)
- 900 ml low-sodium chicken broth (more if needed)
- 200g shrimp, unshelled
- 4 bok-choy, thinly sliced
- 1 thumb ginger, sliced in thin julienne strips
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- pinch of finely ground white pepper (to taste)
- pinch of salt (optional, to taste)
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- small bunch of coriander
- fried shallot
- In a pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add rice, put lid on, leaving only a small gap and turn to medium low heat to cook. Stir the bottom of the pot occasionally. Cook for about an hour or until it has a thick soup consistency. Add more broth if needed.
- Add bok-choy and ginger, cook for 2 minutes. Add shrimp, oyster sauce and white pepper, cook for 3 minutes.
- Add sesame oil and stir until combined.
- Serve with green onion, coriander and fried shallot.