Brown Rice Congee (Asian Rice Porridge) Recipe
Congee, also known as Zhou, Kayu, Chok, Jook and other names depending on the culture, is a thick rice porridge made typically from white rice. There are countless variations to how and what it is eaten with. Sometimes it is served as a meal in itself paired with meats, veggies, condiments and other toppings. Other times it's served plain as a side dish with only soy sauce. In most cultures it is served as a breakfast or late supper, but in others is eaten plain as a snack from a street vendor. Because it is well cooked in copious amounts of bone broth (at least this version--it can be made plain in water as well), it is considered food medicine and is easily digestible and good for the digestive tract.
We make a large batch in the crockpot and keep it warm for several days, scooping out a bowl as often as we want it and topping with prepared veggies and condiments in the fridge. Change your toppings up each time to keep it new and enjoyable. This is a wonderful way to get your daily bone broth supplement if you have a hard time drinking plain broth.
2 cups organic brown rice
4 cups filtered water
2-3 tablespoons fermentation starter (live whey, raw apple cider vinegar or grain water from previous soaking)*
1 gallon homemade chicken stock
1 3-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Unrefined sea salt to taste
Toppings of choice**
Rinse brown rice well and cover with filtered water. Add the acidyfier. Cover and allow to soak for at least 8 hours, but preferably 24.
Drain and rinse rice (reserve 10 % soaking water if using the grain water method.)
Place rice, ginger, garlic and chicken stock into a crockpot and set to High. Cook for 6-12 hours or until rice is super soft and broken and the congee is thick and creamy. Or cook on LOW for 10-14 hours then set the crockpot to warm and enjoy for several days (stir often and add more stock/water as necessary to keep it from sticking on the bottom). Be sure to check the crockpot every once in a while during the cooking process and skim off any foam or scum that rises to the surface.
*Fermenting brown rice before cooking it allows to anti-nutrients like phytic acid to break down and the grain to become more digestible. You can ferment your grains by adding live whey drained from yogurt or kefir that has active cultures, raw apple cider vinegar like Bragg's, or by using the grain water method.
The grain water soaking method works by soaking brown rice in plain filtered water for 24 hours, drain off and reserve 10%--which keeps a long time in the fridge. Cook rice in fresh water as usual. Next time, soak your rice in fresh water to cover plus the reserved soaking liquid for 24 hours. Drain, again reserving 10% and cook the rice as usual in fresh water. Repeat this cycle of reserving 10% and always adding the previous reserved soaking water to your next soak and eventually up to 96% of phytic acid will be reduced in 24 hours. Meanwhile you get to eat healthy and nutritious whole grains. Read more about the grain water soaking method here.
**Serve topped with you choice of toppings:
Fried or Carmelized Onions
Cold-pressed sesame oil