Congee is known by a few names – hsi-fan (translated means rice water), or jook. It is traditionally eaten in China, and is especially nourishing to the spleen and stomach, so is often recommended in situations where there is spleen deficiency. Congee is especially good for us in fall and winter as it is warming and you may add many different ingredients to the congee depending on healing properties and your personal taste. Congees are also recommended for when there is cold or flu, as they are very nourishing to the body and easy to digest.
Congee consists of rice with between six to ten times the amount of water cooked very slowly until it becomes a sort of porridge. The cooking time should be between four and six hours. It is thought that the longer the congee cooks, the more powerful it is. Congee is used as the base and the other ingredients are added at the end. There are a multitude of choices when it comes to congee, so it is good to experiment and see what delicious flavours you can come up with.
Although rice is the most common grain used, other grains may also be used, such as millet or spelt.
Chicken and Corn Congee
2 Chicken Legs (or breasts if you like)
1 cup white rice
8 cups water
1 can corn (fresh corn is always better if you can manage it)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 small leeks, chopped (only the whites)
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
Put rice in a bowl, cover with water and let soak for 1 hour, then rinse until the water runs clear. Drain.
In a large soup pot combine chicken, green onions, leeks, garlic, cilantro and 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is fall-from-the-bone-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.
Add rice to pot along with 2 cups of water (you want approx. 8 cups total). Bring to a boil and simmer stirring often until a porridge consistency. Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar during cooking to taste. Shred chicken into bite sized pieces and discard skin and bones. Add 1 can corn and chicken to pot after 1 hour and simmer on low heat for another 30 mins, stirring constantly so the rice doesn’t burn. Serve and garnish with some chopped green onions & cilantro. Add a few drops of soy sauce to taste.