Barley, Millet and Mung Congee

Congee is made from slow and long cooked grains and lentils. Chinese rice congee is the best known around the world, but Korea and Japan also have congees, and India has kanji. The macrobiotic movement adopted congee as a delicious and nourishing dish, easy on the digestion. It can be eaten at any time of the day and is very popular for late night snacking and for breakfast. They say that the longer congee cooks, the more powerful it is.

You want to cook congee on the lowest possible heat, so it is barely simmering. Use a heat diffuser, especially for the second half of cooking, otherwise it may stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. I prefer to cook it in a Chinese clay pot – I believe the flavour is superior, and I keep my pot for congee only.

Similar dishes include Congee, Red Rice and Adzuki Congee, and Quinoa Porridge.

Browse all of our Barley recipes and all of our Congee dishes. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Rice, Millet, Lentil and Burghul Congee with Roasted Cauliflower

The great thing about congee is that, once you have perfected the cooking method, it can be made with a wide range of lentils, beans, grains and rice. Rice congee is the most well-known, but congees can be made from rice mixed with other grains, beans and lentils, or made without rice at all.

Today we made a clean-out-the-pantry congee, and it is delicious. It was made with lentils, burghul, millet and rice. In the photo it is topped with roasted cauliflower, green herby sauce, herbs, roasted cauliflower leaves, sesame oil and pickles. But you can top your congee with whatever your heart desires. That is the beauty of congee.

Remember to cook congee on the lowest possible heat, so it is barely simmering. Use a heat diffuser, especially for the second half of cooking, otherwise it may stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. I prefer to cook it in a Chinese clay pot – I believe the flavour is superior, and I keep my pot for congee only.

Similar dishes include Congee, Barley, Millet and Mung Congee, Red Rice and Adzuki Congee, and Quinoa Porridge.

Browse all of our Congee dishes. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Congee Bowls

I love congee made in a Chinese clay cooking pot in the middle of winter, cooked on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A large batch is sometimes cooked and stored in the fridge. In this way it is available night and day, for late night suppers or early morning breakfast. Congee was once a very popular dish but it has fallen out of fashion. We have been making it since 2003, and thankfully it has not fallen out of fashion in our household.

There are lots of congee recipes around – almost every Asian cookbook you pick up has one in it. I first cooked it at home  as I loved the late night congee in Sydney’s China Town. So good. Short grain rice is best. One cup of rice made a huge amount – enough for 4 – 6 bowls of it. So be careful the first time that you make it to ensure that you are not making enough for your whole suburb!!! Congee can be eaten at any time of the day – it has become a popular breakfast food for Southern Chinese and midnight snacks for Singaporeans & Malaysians. So eat it first thing, last thing, or anywhere in between.

Congee Bowls, in our household, are bowls of congee topped with a range of delicious accompaniments – herbs, tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts, crispy onions and garlic, steamed beans, mushrooms, Asian greens – the list is endless and any combination can be used, depending on the season, the weather, your mood, the time of day and the available ingredients. Congee flavour is always up to you!

Congee is eaten throughout Asia, from Japan right down to Indonesia. Each one varies a little from the others, but all are made with boiled rice, lentils or beans. However, the name for this dish originated in India – from the Tamil kanji. Perhaps also from the Telugu and Kannada gañji, the Malayalam kanni and the Urdu ganji. All meaning, more or less, boiling. The earliest reference can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty (circa 1000BC). It is also mentioned in the Chinese Record of Rites (1st century AD) and noted in Pliny’s account of India circa AD77.

Similar recipes include Barley, Millet and Mung Congee, Rice, Millet and Lentil Congee, Sweet Congee with Poached Oranges, Red Rice with Adzuki Beans Congee, Cracked Wheat and Mung Dal Kitchari, and Quinoa Porridge.

You might like to browse our Rice recipes, and Porridge recipes. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can explore more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Quinoa Porridge with Tomatoes and Herb Oil

Quinoa is making its way into our kitchen more and more – it is a delicious grain (actually it is a seed that acts like a grain) and is very easy to cook. This is a recipe that you will love, both for its flavour and its versatility.

In this recipe, Quinoa is cooked much longer than usual until a porridge-like texture is achieved, then it is enriched with butter and feta. It is topped with tomatoes and a herb oil, and the result is satisfying and comforting in a way that will appeal both to lovers of quinoa as well as those still in need of some convincing.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, a cracker of a dish, from his book Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, or ones that we already have in our kitchen. For this recipe, Ottolenghi chars some cherry tomatoes. But we have used our own dried tomatoes in oil with some lovely roasted garlic that we had sitting in a fridge. It is divine.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note again that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Black Glutinous Rice Congee, Sweet Congee with Poached Oranges, Red Rice and Quinoa Salad, and Quinoa, Parsley and White Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Quinoa dishes, and all of our Tomato recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Fada ni Khichdi | Cracked Wheat and Mung Kitchari

A great, different kitchari

Kitchari is generally made with short grained rice and mung dal, cooked until they both collapse into a semi solid dish which is nourishing and tasty. Kitchari has been adopted globally as a healthy, quick dish, easy to digest and compatible with a lot of dietary requirements and fads.

Inside and outside of India, though, recipes vary dramatically from the original. Long grained Basmati is used rather than the more sticky short grain rices like Soma Masouri. This changes the nature of the dish to more like a pilaf. Kitchari can also have soupy or  porridge-like consistencies. And they can be made with ingredients.

The genesis of this dish of cracked wheat and mung dal comes from the Kitchari approach, but seemingly breaking almost every rule for a common rice based Kitchari. This dish is more like a savoury gruel, a dal perhaps, or porridge. But as Kitchari literally means “mixture” or “mess”, we will let it pass. Of course, it can be made thicker as well, a staple in Gujarati households.

Cook this dish with beautiful, yellow split mung dal – overnight in the slow cooker is ideal, for a warming and nourishing breakfast.

Similar dishes include Moth Bean Kitchari.

We have a lot of kitchari recipes. You can browse them here. Explore our other rice dishes too. Read our Indian Essentials here, and perhaps browse information on Spices.

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Red Rice with Adzuki Beans Congee

Japan, Korea, China and India have versions of congee, a long-cooked rice porridge. It is delicious and a wonderful winter dish.

After yoga today was a surprisingly good breakfast of red rice cooked, congee style, with adzuki beans, topped with some sesame salt quickly made, spring onions, umaboshi plums, toasted sesame oil and some radicchio finely chopped. At other times there are other toppings.

This is a warming dish, great any time of the day – and especially good on a cold winter’s day.

On the stove top it can take 4 hours to cook, and I love congee cooked in a traditional Chinese clay pot. The flavour is quite different cooked this way. However, this time it was cooked overnight in the rice cooker on the slow cooker setting. Ready at 5am, it stayed warm until I was ready for it after yoga.

Similar recipes include Congee Bowls, Barley, Millet and Mung Congee, Black Glutinous Rice Congee, Sweet Congee with Poached Oranges, Adzuki Bean and Parsley Soup, and Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley.

Are you looking for rice recipes? Browse our collection. We also have Japanese recipes. Our Adzuki Bean recipes are here. Or browse all of our Early Winter dishes.

You might also like to read How to Make Congee.

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Indian Custard | Besan Payasam

This Payasam is better than custard.

Often called Chickpea Porridge, this dish is not a porridge in the traditional sense, nor a custard. It is a South Indian Besan Payasam.

The recipe is simple. Take some chickpea flour. Add some saffron, sugar, cardamom, cashews and maybe some dried or fresh fruit and you have something sent directly from heaven, I am sure. And it is made in under 10 minutes. True instant food.

This is a dessert, but it is also great for breakfast. It can form a replacement for egg custard in lots of recipes. Imagine it layered trifle like with fresh fruit.

I like to call this dish a custard, despite being a payasam.

Are you after more Payasam recipes? Try Sago Payasam, Nachi’s Payasam, and Bengali Rice Kheer.

Other recipes that use Besan include: Chickpea Fingers with Tomato Salsa, Farinata with Onions and Tomato, and Eggless Pasta and Noodles.

You can browse all Payasam recipes here, and all Besan recipes too. Or explore all of our Desserts. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or simply explore all of our Early Winter dishes.

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Porridge | Indian Style

Add some sweet spices to your porridge for a wonderful breakfast.

I love porridge on cold cold mornings, with a preference for slow cooked porridge, made with organic oats. The difference between instant and organic porridge is like the difference between instant coffee and esspresso.

It is not quite cold enough yet for every day porridge breakfasts, but I was inspired today to bring out the oats for the first time this year. So in anticipation of those cold mornings just over the horizon, and for my readers in regions where the calendar says spring but the weather has not read the calendar yet, porridge is the theme of today.

Usually I make porridge, use jaggery, golden syrup or treacle for sweetness. Perhaps some fruit. But I was inspired today to create an Indian twist.

You might like to also try  Overnight Oats, Oatcakes, English Crumpets, and Stove Top Scones.

Browse all of our breakfast dishes and other Oats recipes. Our English recipes are here. Or be inspired by our Mid Winter recipes.

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