Okay, I swore I was never again going to trick you with photos of food and then write about root canals ever again. But, I swear this time there is actually a connection. So a month ago I was told that I had to have a root canal the day before I was to be heading off to Vegas for my husband’s birthday, and I proceeded to write a petulant, angry rant that had nothing to do with the recipe I was posting. It was awesome, in a, “this isn’t interesting to anyone, including me,” kind of way.
At any rate, I had the root canal and for the first day afterward I was restricted to only foods that I could gum due to my sore mouth. (Luckily alcohol falls into this category, otherwise I would have just put up with the pain and told the dentist to suck it). My friends that were riding in the car with us to Vegas were in charge of bringing snacks, but I sort of forgot to mention my whole “I can only gum things” situation, and so they showed up with lots of crunchy chips and nuts, which meant that by the time we finally arrived in Vegas I was starving. It’s probably worth noting that I don’t handle hunger well. By that, I mean I am a really crazy bitch when I’m hungry. In other words, a totally awesome companion to have on your birthday Vegas trip. I also knew that I was supposed to be in a bathing suit the next day so I refused to cave and eat something indulgent like a milkshake. So instead, I sulked around the lobby reading the menus so we could find something that was substantial, healthy and gum-able. It goes without saying that Chase was having the time of his life.
After looking over menu after menu that had long lists of sandwiches and pasta dishes, we found one that had congee on the menu, which I had never heard of in my life, but my friends explained that it’s a really soft porridge made from rice that has been cooked in broth for hours until the rice actually begins to fall apart, and I was like, “something that isn’t tomato soup? SOLD.”
30 minutes later I had a steaming bowl of congee in front of me. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had solid foods in 24 hours, maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t had ANY foods in about 8 hours, but that stuff tasted like pure heaven. It also yanked me out of my bitchy-dom and I was once again able to act like a pleasant and reasonable person for the rest of our trip.
Once we returned home I discovered that even without a sore mouth I was still craving congee. Luckily for me, it is so ridiculously easy to make that there should never be a reason for me to without it again. Which should make everyone happy, especially Chase.
This is a recipe for very basic congee, but it is incredibly easy to customize and make a balanced meal. Simply add in your favorite chopped vegetables or meat a few minutes before serving. You can either use leftover meat that’s cooked, or cook it in the congee for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Be sure to use your favorite broth for this recipe – is brings most of the flavor to this dish.
2 cups of rice (Jasmine or brown rice)
4 cups water
4 cups broth
1 teaspoon salt
Sriacha, or any other hot sauce
Rinse the rice well to clean it off. Combine the rice, water, broth and salt in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 10-12 hours, or until the rice has fallen apart and is soft in the broth. Ladle into bowls and garnish as you wish.