Friday, September 4, 2009

Congee recipe aka Jook, a dieter's best friend

Many Americans if they have any idea of what congee is think of it as some poor gruel, gross and inedible. They could not be more wrong.

Congee is a VERY versatile soup base and because of it's thick texture it tends to fill one up with few calories. It takes almost any addition, you can stir in and becomes rich with flavor.

If adding vegetables it is also a very low calorie choice. 9 cups of the stuff comes in at just over 200 calories and if adding mostly veg you will not get fat.

Basic Recipe
  • 3/4 cup long rice
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Cover, bring to a boil, stir, turn down and simmer for about 90 minutes. Stir occasionally. You will have about 8 cups of basic Congee when finished. You can season the whole pot or try some of these stir in's if you want to eat it about two cups at a time.

If you want your basic porridge to have a warmer color throw in a little turmeric and paprika when cooking it. If you want the base to be more flavorful you can use chicken, beef, veal, duck or any other stock you have.

I love to take a couple of cups of the basic, add about a tablespoon of miso paste, a splash of soy sauce and top with a poached egg.

It makes a great lunch with a crushed tomato, fresh basil and a little Parmesan cheese.

Literally any vegetable chopped and added to Congee will taste great. I made a corn/cabbage chowder with shredded cabbage and one ear of fresh corn and a little miso.

For a big meal load it up with vegetables, add some sesame oil, some chili oil and some soy.

Shredded meat, leftover meatballs, onions, garlic can use whatever you have in the frig to give you a flavorful meal.

For a dieter on a budget...Congee. Don't be afraid to go Asian.

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