If you’ve never heard of congee before, now is the time to learn! With the heat of summer is finally fading away, many of us are turning to warm, comforting breakfasts to sustain us through the morning. In most Western countries, an easy breakfast means a hearty bowl of oats with coffee or tea. But in China and other countries across the world, congee is the go-to breakfast of choice for a good, stick-to-you-ribs morning meal.

Congee, known as “okayu” in Japan and “juk” in Korea, is a warm, savory rice porridge with a gruel-like texture that starts with a simple base of rice, water, and salt, and the toppings are customizable. For example, in China, congee is typically served with poached eggs, fried shallots, and pickled vegetables. In Japan, congee might be served with pickled ginger, umeboshi (sour pickled plum), salmon, and roe. Nearly everywhere, congee is considered a frugal meal that is easy on the stomach, making it a go-to meal for those who are sick or elderly. Congee may also be made sweet, like a rice pudding or kheer, though this is not “traditional” by any means.

The Good Sort, NYC Chinatown’s first vegan restaurant, serves savory and sweet congee. Pictured below is their Turmeric Congee.

While not traditional, it sure looks delicious!

Make Congee at Home

Want to make congee at home? We’re here to help you! We scoured the depths of the Food Monster app to bring you these recipes:

This Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee by Annie Oliverio is packed with umami flavor.Savory Congee

This particular Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee is made with nutritious ingredients such as brown rice, shiitake mushrooms, kale, and ginger. It’s nourishing, comforting, and a perfectly restorative meal to eat when you’re recovering from an illness or feeling particularly low on energy.

This Saffron Kombu Congee by Valentina Chiappa is rich in nourishing ingredients, like seaweed and vegetables.Salty Saffron Kombu Congee

This delectable Saffron Kombu Congee checks all of our boxes for a tasty meal. The creamy congee is mixed with fresh green beans, bitter arugula, tender carrots, strips of kombu, and a bit of saffron that gives this umami-bomb a subtle nuance that’s truly special.

Can’t have grains? Make this Quinoa Lugaw by RG EnriquezQuinoa Lugaw — Filipino Congee

Lugaw is a Filipino congee traditionally made with rice. This Quinoa Lugaw gives you the same texture, without the grains! Here, it is topped with fried tofu skins, fried tempeh, various mushrooms, and seitan.

Have you made congee before? Let us know your favorite toppings in the comments below!

If you’re looking for more delicious and seasonal plant-based recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee