This is the first time I’ve ever attempted to make congee, and honestly it turned out pretty well. It’s a kind of porridge dish traditionally made by cooking rice in water or broth. It can then be flavored in many ways. For the people who grew up with their families making the dish, I know this won’t quite be the same. This variation uses fresh corn and quinoa instead of rice. I had a similar dish at a restaurant in Philadelphia and tried to recreate it. It didn’t pack the same punch, but it still turned out pretty great. It’s a great dish for any time of the day. This makes a lot so it’ll feed you all week.
What you’ll need:
- 3 ears of corn
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 5 1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably sodium free)
- salt (at least 1/4 cup)
- sugar (at least 1/4 cup)
- garlic powder
- red bell pepper
Cut the kernels off all the corn cobs. set aside 1/3 cup of the kernels. Put the rest in a blender or food processor until pureed. There should be enough liquid in the kernels to puree the corn without additional liquid. If you need to add a tablespoon of water.
Put the corn puree, the extra corn kernels, the chicken broth and the quinoa in a large pot with lid on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on the stove, stirring occasionally, for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, or until the congee thickens into a consistency you’re happy with. It should be the consistency of a loose oatmeal or porridge.
Now it’s time to season. Note: if you used a broth with sodium, you will not need as much- or any- additional salt. It’s important to keep tasting until you’re happy. I used a homemade broth without any salt, and had to add at least 1/4 cup to make it taste good. Also add about 1/4 cup of sugar. Once again keep tasting. Add a few dashes of garlic powder and a few generous dashes of pepper. Once you’re happy with the taste, you’re done! Dice some red bell peppers and jalapenos (without the seeds or stems) and add on top. The peppers add some great fresh flavor and an awesome crunch.
Enjoy this fresh summer treat!