Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Miso tofu congee (porridge) - food to (almost) cure a sore throat - with a side of walnuts and chives

I've been feeling a little under the weather for the past 2 days and despite the beautiful sunshine outside, I just wanted to curl up on the couch and sleep and sleep and sleep. I was craving something soothing and for me, given my childhood filled with mom's wonderful home-cooked Taiwanese food, I craved congee. Congee is a type of porridge made of leftover rice that's been cooked until all the grains are pretty much broken down and forms a lumpy slurry.

I've modified the porridge based on ingredients on hand and used a short grained Japanese white and brown rice because they have higher starch content and gives more 'slurry-ness' to the congee. We usually have spicy fried anchovies and peanuts with congee but I thought that would contribute to the throat irritation - so it became something like "lightly fried walnuts and chives". I also didn't have any leftover rice so I steamed fresh rice just for this congee, and when you are not feeling well, it is totally worth it.


2 cups steamed Japanese short grain rice (1/2 brown rice, 1/2 white rice)
4 cups water + additional
1 1/2 tbsp Miso paste
50 g silken tofu
1 sprig green onion, chopped to 1 cubic cm
2 sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped

In a large pot, combine steamed rice with water and bring to a boil for about 2 mins. Reduce the heat to medium and let it bubble and thicken, roughly 15 - 20 mins, stirring every so often. Make sure to try a grain of the brown rice to see that it has broken down. The porridge should look sludgy and pasty and starchy and, well... like porridge (as my mom would say).

Add the miso paste and stir to incorporate it homogeneously throughout. Break up the tofu by hand into the congee, then add the onions and cilantro and stir, about 3 - 4 mins. The congee can be eaten as is, or served with the dish below:

Walnuts and Chives:
Canola oil
1 glove garlic, finely minced
1 cup chives, chopped 2 cm length
Large handful of walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet on medium high heat, fry up garlic until slightly browned, then add chives. Reduce heat to medium. When chives start to wilt, add walnuts and toss around so that the juices cover them. Take skillet off heat, add salt and pepper (or some chili flakes or your favourite spice) and toss again so that the spices coat everything.

Enjoy with a nice big bowl of congee :)

Stay healthy everyone!

2-2 relaxing in the early evening under the coffee table.... she didn't want to go to bed, just wanted to lounge....


  1. This looks great! Hope you're feeling better now. BTW, you're dog is so cute!

  2. Congee is my feel good food for when I'm under the weather too! :) I hope you're feeling better soon and nice to discover your blog! :D

  3. Never heard of congee, but it looks awesome. Hope you feel better soon. Btw - cute pup :)

  4. Thanks for the good wishes :)

    Oh yes, the dog, she pretty much owns us... and the house.

  5. Hi Jen! First, I hope you're feeling much better! Like you, I miss the times when my grandma used to make hot pots of congee in the Philippines. But we've never had it with nuts or herbs, I think that's a genius idea! Love the photos too, so yummy looking! And yes, that is one cute dog!

  6. Thanks Abby :)

    Oh yes, congee is eaten so often in Taiwan and actually, for those who have never tried it - any dim sum restaurant will serve at least one type of congee, it's a good place to start!

    (The chives in our backyard are growing like they are hyped on steroids, with the continuous heavy rains, then blasting sun, then rain, sun - what's going on Toronto? And so... we're eating alot of chives :)

  7. Wish I have chives growing in my backyard too! The only one I can manage on a pot are rosemary herbs 'cause they are hardy and don't care even if I don't give them attention. :-)

    By the way, if you're up to it, I wonder if you would mind doing a guest post on my blog. I think this recipe is wonderful and my Filipino friends would love this. I can possibly link to your site on this, but it won't be that fun to just link, right? But no pressure, I know you are busy so please let me know either way. You can reach me through the contact page in Thanks, Jen! Have a great week!

  8. Got a really bad flu recently, a friend of mine recommended this. Thanks for the recipe. I will try it for sure.