brown rice congee

Since my Coeliac diagnosis, I’ve become a brown rice convert. Which I’m quite happy about, as I tried for years to like it, and failed. I’m a bit behind the eight-ball, as many of my mates have been eating it for years. Somehow my brown rice liking gene has become activated, and I now find myself eating it almost daily. And loving it. Sarah Wilson has written a great post on brown rice – she inspired me to cook mine in big batches and then freeze it. Genius.

One of my favourite breakfasts, and ways of eating rice, is rice congee (an Asian rice porridge). I used to make congee with white rice. Last week I tried a version using brown rice, and I think it is just as good. If you are a savoury breakfast person then read on. This is for you. And if you need a bit of oomph behind you in the mornings (maybe coffee alone isn’t cutting it) add some fire power and whack in some red chillies and white pepper. That’ll get you going.


You can really add anything you like to this dish after it’s cooked. I used what I had in the fridge, but if I had been shopping, I would have added: bean sprouts, sliced water chestnuts and shredded iceberg lettuce. And of course you could add cooked meats to it – like sliced chicken or pork.

It does take a little while to cook – so get the rice on as soon as you get up (or save making it for the weekend). By the time you’ve sorted out your coffee and your hair (maybe it’s just my hair that takes ages) the rice will be well underway. Allow between 30 mins – 1.5 hours for it to cook. Or longer if you like it really mushy and porridge like. Make sure you check on it regularly whilst cooking – it could become a burnt mess if it runs outta water. I added more water along the way – as I like mine quite soupy like.


For the congee

I used about a half cup of brown rice, well rinsed
Around 3 – 5 cups of water (depends how soupy or thick you like it. You can add more during the cooking process. Chicken stock could also be used for added flavour)
A small knob of peeled ginger

Optional stuff to eat with it

A couple of spring onions, sliced
Coriander (I use leaves and stalks all chopped up roughly)
Cut red chilli (seeded or de-seeded – up to you. I went seeded and it took me a while to be able to speak after eating it)
White pepper (go easy if you’ve gone heavy on the chilli)
Tamari (or GF soy sauce)
Sesame oil (just a small amount drizzled over the top to finish)
Iceberg lettuce (chopped finely)
Water chestnuts (again chopped finely)
Handful bean sprouts

What to do

Rice business: Rinse the rice well. Put it into a saucepan and add the water, and the lump of ginger. Bring it to the boil and then reduce down to a nice, bubbling simmer. Not too hot though, as you don’t want it to burn. Leave it uncovered, and cook for anywhere between half an hour up to 1.5 hours, depending on how thin/thick you like it. Make sure you stir it along the way – to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn.

Eating business: Once it’s done, remove from the heat and take out the ginger lump. Put into a bowl and add whatever trimmings take your fancy. I finished mine off with tamari, a drizzle of sesame oil, cut red chillies, white pepper, coriander and spring onions.

After eating that I was on fire (mouth fire), happy and ready for the day.