Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ruth Reichl's Congee: Soupy Rice Comfort for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

A busy few weeks and a lack of sleep and good rest for a variety of reasons means I can't seem to shed the cough and cold I have been nursing. I needed something easy, satisfying and comforting this weekend, so I picked Congee. Technically it is a porridge rather than a soup, but it is soupy rice, and as host of Souper Sundays, I'll allow it. ;-)

It's been ten years since I made and posted congee on the blog (this one as part of Cook the Books, The Last Chinese Chef book club review). 

Congee is a lot about the toppings and for that one, I used topping from the book: tofu cubes, roasted peanuts, (Chinese) pickles, smoked ham (I ate meat back then!), scallions, greens, and re-hydrated wood ear mushrooms. For today's congee I kept the nuts and scallions and added capers in place of tiny pickles, sauteed oyster mushrooms, chili oil and a jammy soft-boiled egg. 

Ruth says "Nothing is easier to make than the classic Chinese breakfast . It's basically rice slowly cooked with lots of liquid. I like to use arborio rice, although it's not traditional; any kind of rice you have on hand will do. The ratio is about 1 cup of rice to 8 cups of liquid. I think it tastes best with chicken stock, although you can certainly use plain water."

Slightly Adapted from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
(Serves 4)

1 cup rice
chicken stock or liquid of choice (I used vegan non-chicken-style bouillon paste)

To serve: 
soy sauce
roasted peanuts, jammy hard-boiled eggs, sauteed (oyster) mushrooms, capers, chili oil and/or toppings of choice

Put the rice and liquid in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and let it simmer for an hour, stirring once in a while. 

The result is a thick, creamy porridge, a canvas for flavor. What you choose for garnish is completely up to you, but to me a julienne of ginger is essential, as is a little shot of really good soy sauce. Peanuts and scallions are nice, and shredded chicken or shiitakes are lovely too. It is the ultimate tonic: basic, fragrant, satisfying. 

Ruth notes: "A confession: in a pinch I've used leftover cooked rice, simply cooking it with lots of water and stirring until it collapses into the correct currency."

Notes/Results: Good flavor and texture make this the perfect comfort food, whether eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack. I especially like how the jammy hard-boiled egg yolk mixes into the brothy rice, and the capers add their briny notes taking the place of tiny pickles. It made my stuffy nose better and I'm looking forward to enjoying more of it this week. I will make it again.

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where the theme is Gimme a R!--Ruth Reichl recipes that feature ingredients that begin with the letter R. Here we have rice and roasted peanuts. 

And for Souper Sundays...

My friend Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared this tasty Baked Potato Soup and said, "Baked potato soup with a healthy twist.  Well, except the bacon topping 😏 On a cool day a homemade bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is just the ticket. Healthy, economical and absolute comfort food. This is another recipe I tried from SkinnyTaste. You use potatoes and cauliflower for the base. now the toppings are to your preference and we used bacon, cheese and scallions."

Thanks to Tina for joining me this week!  

About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. My husband has been struggling with a cough and cold too. Your congee looks soothing. Hope you feel better soon..

  2. Sorry to read that you have been unwell, its def. time of year. I was unwell and off work a couple of weeks back, but the cough lingers. I have always been fascinated by congee never having ever have it. Must give it a whirl some day.

  3. Hope you are feeling better soon! Love your "r" recipe for RR! I agree with Shaheen: This is an interesting recipe. It's perfect comfort food (ham or not)! Linking up this week.

  4. Hey lady! I brought you a sausage and white bean soup. Hope you are feeling better.

  5. I love an egg on anything, especially a nice jammy egg such as this one. Lots of texture from that and the nuts as well. Hope you are feeling better by now!

    Tina's baked potato soup is looking mighty tasty! That is always a winner in my book.


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