Congee is a popular breakfast in eastern Asia that emerged in China thousands of years ago. It is a rice porridge made by simmering chicken on the bone with rice, water, ginger and garlic. Congee is so simple and yet packed with nutrition. It’s warming too, which is ideal for cold winter mornings. You can cook it overnight in the slow cooker and wake up to a steaming bowl full, with your favourite toppings spooned over. While it’s January and many are trying ‘Veganuary’ we would encourage you to eat what comforts and makes you feel good to endure the winter. A better time to embark upon eating less meat or becoming vegan is in the summer when there is an abundance of fresh, local produce to enjoy, though you should do what suits you best. Do always take advice from a professional before making big changes to your diet.
We chose to use white basmati rice for this recipe, though any long grain rice will work. Basmati is highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to balance all three doshas, as well as being balancing to the mind and body. It is easy to digest and is believed to be a rich source of Prana (life force). This makes it particularly good for those recovering from illness. White Basmati rice also has a lower GI (glycaemic index) than other rice varieties.
The long, slow cook is a great way to extract vital nutrients from the chicken bones, including collagen which is wonderfully healing for the skin. Both ginger and garlic are important and potent anti-inflammatories, as well as being considered as antivirals. Of course, they also taste delicious, too.
Duration: 10 mins prep, 8 hours cook time
2 x organic free range chicken thighs (skin on, bone in)
4 cups of water (use a coffee or tea cup)
1/2 cup of white basmati rice
1 inch sized chunk of ginger cut roughly into slices
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and leave on low overnight while you sleep – approx. 8 hours.
Serve with spring onions, peanuts, herbs and whatever else you feel like.
Will keep for up to three days in an airtight container and can be reheated once.