This is the time of year when someone in my family is almost guaranteed to have a cold, or some other lovely virus that one of the kids brought home from school to share with the rest of the family. That is when I pull out comfort foods that not only feed the soul, but the body as well. Congee is one of those meals. Congee is a rice porridge that is made in many Asian countries and is a popular dish to make for someone who is not feeling well.
Congee isn’t difficult to make, though it does require some patience. All you have to do is simmer some rice in water or stock until it soaks up the liquid and starts to disintegrate.
This particular congee is not only delicious, but it has some added nutritional benefits as well. I like making congee with brown rice, instead of the traditional white rice, even though it increases the cooking time. I like the nutty flavor that it adds and you get the added benefit of the extra fiber from the bran still being on the rice, as well as other vitamins and minerals! I also add ginger and garlic for their flavor and nutritional benefits.
But my favorite key ingredient to add is chunks of fresh California Avocado. Not only does the creamy sweetness pair beautifully with the congee, but California Avocados are a healthy superfood that provide “good” fats to one’s diet and act as a “nutrient “booster” by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrient like vitamins A, D, K, and E. Avocados are also a good source of fiber and contain 3 grams of fiber per serving (one-third of a medium avocado). Consuming foods rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease (and obesity and diabetes), which seems especially appropriate considering that February is American Heart Month!
California Avocado Brown Rice Congee Recipe
Makes 2 – 3 servings
5 cups vegetable stock, plus additional stock as needed
1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (or tamari), plus additional to taste
1 ripe California avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
Toppings: thinly sliced scallions, fresh cilantro leaves, toasted sesame seeds, chile garlic sauce or sriracha
- Mix the vegetable stock, brown rice, fresh ginger, and garlic together in a large pot. Bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer
- Simmer the congee, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked through and the congee has a thick, porridge consistency, approximately 90 minutes. If the congee reaches this consistency, but the rice is not fully cooked, stir in an additional 1/4 cup of vegetable stock and continue to simmer, adding additional stock as needed until the rice is fully cooked
- When the congee is finished, remove the pot from the heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (or tamari), then taste. Add additional soy sauce if needed. Pour the congee into bowls and top with chunks of California avocado and any desired toppings. Serve immediately