Congee isnt just for when youre sick, at least now it isnt. This dish is absolutely jam packed with flavor, and the mushrooms alone are enough to make you swoon. Gently simmering in a broth of soy sauce, jammy onions and garlic, the mushrooms take on and absorb the most delicious flavor. Paired with steamed taro, it makes for an excellent texture and source of fiber!
A small note, I prefer my congee on the thicker side. Slightly reminiscent of a risotto, minus the pound of cheese. Feel free to adjust accordingly. Make it as soupy or not soupy as you like!
I love all things crunchy and this dish is no exception. Liberally sprinkled with fried garlic and dried shrimps, it adds another level of depth to what is a generally considered a mild soup. Fried, dried shrimps can only be described as umami flavored. They arent smelly and theyre slightly salty, and slightly sweet. Theyre extremely versatile and can also be thrown into soups to add dimension. They can be found at all Asian markets. Look for the small ones!
Taro and Soy-Braised Mushroom Congee
Ingredients (Serves 3-4):
- For congee
- 3/4 cup rice
- 7 cups water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 inch knob of ginger sliced into small matchsticks
- For taro:
- 2 cups taro, cut into cubes
- Water for steaming
- Pinch of salt
- For soy braised mushrooms:
- 8 shiitake mushrooms with stems removed, dried or fresh
- 1/2 sweet onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce*
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1/4 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 1/2 cup dried shrimps
- 1/2 cup garlic, sliced
- Oil for frying
- Bean sprouts
- Chili oil
- Start by making the mushrooms. Roughly chop up the onions and garlic, and stir fry in the sesame oil on medium heat in a medium sized pot. Cook until onions begin to turn translucent.
- If using dried mushrooms, soak them with boiling water until soft.
- Toss the remaining ingredients into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Around the 30 minute mark, the onions will start to become jammy and sweet. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if the onions begin to burn. You want a thick sauce coating the mushrooms.
- To make the taro, cut into cubes making sure to remove the skin, and rinse 3-4 times. Bring your steamer to a boil. Lightly salt your taro cubes and steam for approximately 10 minutes, or until tender. You will know these are done when you can easily pierce the taro with a fork or knife.
- To make the congee, bring your 7 cups of water, salt and ginger to a boil. Toss your rice in and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Make sure to stir your rice occasionally to prevent clumping. Cook until the rice expands and youre left with the consistency of oatmeal or risotto, add more water if needed.
- For the shrimp and garlic chips, first fry the shrimps in gently simmering oil for 2 minutes. Toss your garlic in with the shrimps in the same pot or pan, and fry until the garlic chips begin to take on a brown color around the edges. Turn off the heat and let the garlic cook in the residual heat until it takes on a light, tan color. Remove and place onto a lined towel. The shrimp and garlic will turn crunchy once cooled.
- Serve congee with taro, mushrooms, and garnishes!
*Note: I used Kikkoman All Purpose Seasoning. Soy sauces can vary in saltiness. Please keep this into consideration when mixing your sauce and adjust to your taste!