Although the first inhabitants of our country in some locations call the second half of Winter as Pre-Spring, here in Adelaide it still feels like Deep Winter. There is nothing better than congee when Winter blues hit.
Today we make congee cooked with butternut pumpkin and ginger, and topped with king oyster mushrooms, chilli jam, yoghurt, crispy fried garlic shallots and crispy fried ginger. The butternut melts into the congee as it cooks. We describe the best way to cook congee and make congee bowls here, so have a look before you make today’s recipe.
A word about Butternut – we call it Butternut Pumpkin, in the US they call it Butternut Squash. In Australia it is one of our most loved pumpkins and we use it almost exclusively at our place. The pumpkin I grew up with – the Queensland Blue – is so hard it almost needs an axe to cut and is less popular these days.
Similar dishes include Easy Pumpkin and Coconut Curry, Congee with Ginger, Mushrooms and Chilli-Black Bean Sauce, Barley, Millet and Mung Congee, How to Make Congee Bowls, and Black Glutinous Rice Congee.
Congee with Crispy Garlic Shallots, Crispy Ginger and Butternut
o.5 cups short grain rice
3 tspn ghee, coconut oil or vegetable oil
4 – 5 cups water, or more
1 Tblspn grated ginger
3 cloves garlic
stems from 1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped finely
350g butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced
sea salt and white pepper
toppings (select from)
4 King Oyster mushrooms
1 garlic shallot, sliced and crispy fried in oil or butter
ginger, cut into batons and crispy fried in oil or butter
3 spring onions, green and white part sliced
12 bean curd bows (available from Asian groceries), soaked well in hot water
2 – 3 radishes, sliced thinly
1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
Check out the list of other great toppings here.
To cook the congee in a clay pot, add the rice, garlic, coriander stems and butternut and fill the pot with water. Stir in the ginger.
Cook the rice over the lowest heat possible, simmering for 2 – 3 hours. (I place the pot on a heat diffuser and, when I have enough time, set the heat to the lowest setting. It takes about 3 hours to come to a simmer, and then I leave it to cook for 2 – 3, hours checking the water often.) Stir occasionally.
Towards the end of cooking season with salt and white pepper. Squash the butternut against the side of the bowl to mash it into the congee.
To prepare the King Oyster Mushrooms, remove the base and slice the stem of each mushroom into 1.5 cm slices. Trim the stem from the cap. Fry them on both sided in melted butter.
To serve, place the rice into bowls and arrange your chosen toppings on top of the rice.
Today we are using King Oyster mushrooms, spring onions, coriander leaves, chilli jam, yoghurt, crispy fried garlic shallots and ginger on top. Serve hot or warm.
recipe notes and alternatives
Toppings can be varied to use what you have in the kitchen. Check out the list of great toppings here.
This congee can be made with sweet potatoes in place of butternut. Use a little less than the pumpkin.