I’m super excited to be co-hosting my first Sunday Supper with fellow blogger, Foxes Loves Lemons! This week we are hosting an awesome collection of heart healthy recipes and I’m bringing Vegetable and Ginger Congee to the table.
Congee, or rice porridge, was a meal my mother made for us when we were sick. In our house, it was the equivalent of chicken soup. Mom usually made plain, white rice congee, giving my sister and I the freedom to choose the toppings and garnishes that fit our fancy. My favorite toppings were pickled cucumber and thousand year eggs. My sister always opted for dried shredded pork (a.k.a pork floss). Honestly, as a kid, our congee was like a savory ice cream sundae, we piled on those savory toppings the way I bury my ice cream in crushed Oreos.
I had actually forgotten all about congee until last Spring when I spent three months nursing my mom through her chemotherapy treatments. She wanted nothing to eat, and on the days she could bear the thought of eating, a few bites of congee were often it. I fortified her congee with hearty, homemade vegetable stock, green tea, and ginger to settle the stomach. Since she didn’t each much, I found myself nibbling on the leftovers, reflecting on my childhood, and finding comfort in the warm, cozy, congee.
After my mom’s treatments (she’s now cancer-free!) I continued making congee for myself as a quick, easy meal at home. Although it is traditionally a breakfast food, I make it for lunch or dinner. These days I opt for healthier versions of congee, rather than the sodiumMSGprocessedpreservativeladen…delicious(!) extravaganzas of our childhood.
My go-to recipe these days uses brown rice (when I can find it in Rabat), shitake mushrooms, carrots, fresh ginger, and leafy greens. I like to load my congee up with vegetables, creating a thicker, stew-like consistency, but adding more stock or water creates a thinner soup if that’s your preference. With just a hint of sesame oil for flavor, this congee is simple, light, and healthy, but still leaves me feeling full and satisfied. Top the congee with a poached egg if you are looking for a protein boost.
- 1 cup brown rice
- 5-8 cups water or vegetable stock (you can also use light green tea, but it changes the flavor profile)
- 2-3 pieces of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 5-6 dried shitake mushrooms
- 2 cups of fresh, tender leafy greens, such as baby bok choy, chard, or spinach,
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup freshly chopped scallions or cilantro, for topping (optional)
- In a small bowl, re-hydrate the shitake mushrooms with ½ cup of hot, but not boiling water. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottom pot, add the rice and 5 five cups of water or stock. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add the ginger and the chopped carrots, the cover the pot.
- Meanwhile, once the mushrooms are soft (about 15 minutes of soaking) drain the mushrooms, reserving the water. Slice the mushrooms thinly, then add the mushrooms and the reserved water to the rice. Stir and cover.
- Check the congee periodically and add additional hot stock or water, 1 cup at a time, stirring with each addition to make sure the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. This part is not a science. If you prefer a thicker congee, then 5-6 cups of water or stock will be enough. If you prefer a thinner congee, you may add 7-8 cups of water. Go with your own preference for the consistency. The rice will be cooked, so no worries on that front.
- If you are using a leafy green like chard, cut the chard into thick ribbons.
- After the congee is simmering for a total of 25-35 minutes (more liquid additions require may more simmering time), add the leafy greens, stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the greens are tender. Baby spinach will require just 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the ginger slices. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately with fresh scallions or cilantro.
Join us tonight for our heart healthy twitter chat at 7pm Eastern. Stay on that wagon and make 2015 a year for your health!
Better for you breakfasts:
- Apple Pie Oatmeal by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones by Brunch with Joy
- Create-Your-Own Overnight Oatmeal by Rhubarb and Honey
- Orange, Mango, Lime & Ginger Smoothie by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Pear Bran Muffins by Magnolia Days
- Stovetop Fruit & Honey Granola by What Smells So Good?
Jump start your health with these appetizers and snacks:
- Almond Crusted Chicken Nuggets by Momma’s Meals
- Chipotle Black Bean Dip by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Lemon Aioli with Spring Vegetables by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Mala Baked Tofu Bites by Palatable Pastime
- Parmesan Pistachio Kale Chips by The Texan New Yorker
Soups that’ll win your heart:
- Asian Soba Noodle Broth Bowl by Hip Foodie Mom
- Kale, Spinach, and Bean Soup by Ruffles & Truffles
- Mushroom Quinoa Soup by Pies and Plots
- Quinoa Chickpea Soup with Roasted Garlic & Veggies by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Turkey and Black-Eyed Peas Soup by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Veggies, Sides, & Salads your heart will thank you for:
- Collard Greens with Cumin and Paprika by Nik Snacks
- Salmon Caesar Salad by Casa de Crews
- Kale Roasted Beet Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing by Noshing with the Nolands
- Lightened-Up Creamed Spinach au Gratin by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Roasted Teriyaki Green Beans and Mushrooms by NeighborFood
- Salmon Salad Niçoise by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Seasoned Spinach & Bok Choy by Nosh My Way
- Spinach Berry Salad by Country Girl in the Village
- Sweet & Smokey Cauliflower Salad by Take a Bite Out of Boca
- Winter Citrus Salad with Avocado-Basil Dressing by Foxes Love Lemons
Healthy is the center of attention in these main courses:
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Celeriac Noodles with Mushroom Ragu by The Joyful Foodie
- Gluten Free Roasted Chicken and Kale by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Heart Healthy Salmon Bento by The Ninja Baker
- Lemony Grilled Chicken by Peaceful Cooking
- Moroccan Salmon Tagine by Curious Cuisiniere
- Olive Oil-Poached Salmon with Pickled Cherry Salsa by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- One Pot Mexican Quinoa by Have Fun Saving
- Oven Baked Tilapia Tacos by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Piperies Yemistes me Pligouri – Bulgur Stuffed Peppers by Food Lust People Love
- Salmon with Mango Salsa by Cooking Chat
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake by Food Done Light
- Vegetable and Ginger Congee by eating in instead
- Vegetarian Cuban-Style Black Beans & Rice by MealDiva
- White Bean, Corn, Tomato and Rice Skillet by Family Foodie
Staying healthy doesn’t mean giving up desserts!
- Baked Figs with Vanilla and Honey by Happy Baking Days
- Caramelized Pear Tart by PancakeWarriors
- Cherry-Blueberry Trifles by The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch
We heart wine.
- Wine Pairing Recommendations for Heart Healthy #SundaySupper by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.