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Congee – An Energy Tonic Stew

Congee with kaleThis is my favorite postpartum dish! I bring it to families for every Meal Train.

Congee is an Asian-style rice porridge or stew that is a nutritious and comforting dish. What I love about this recipe is that it’s very flexible. You can add whatever veggies or meat you prefer, and you can keep it as simple as just water, veggies, and rice!

The recipe below is a doubled portion, so it makes about 6 servings. It fills my crockpot to the brim. I like to put this on at bedtime and have it for breakfast, or put it on at breakfast and have it for dinner. It freezes well if you end up with too much.  If you are short on time, our own dear Kerry Ingram says it’s even amazing in her Instant Pot, which gets the job done in 22 minutes!

Recipe by Jaime Jean Klocek, adapted over 8 years from a recipe in Mothering Magazine


8 cups of water or stock/bone broth

3 chicken thighs bone-in or 1lb beef roast w/bone (boneless ok, but bones add more gelatin and minerals)

Or for a vegetarian option, ½ cup of french green lentils or ½ pound cubed tofu

1 cup pre-washed + pre-soaked brown rice or barley

2 pieces of kombu, cut up into pieces with scissors

Handful of other sea veggies cut up, such as sea palm, dulse, bladderwack

2 bay leaves

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp cumin

1 tsp Atlantic Sea Salt

1 cup or more of your favorite veggies or mushrooms (my favorite combo is carrots, shiitake mushrooms, kale and a little bit of garlic.)

**My magic umami flavor combo is shiitakes, ginger, turmeric and garlic. Whenever I use this quartet of ingredients, anyone who tastes it says it’s super delicious. 🙂

Put all ingredients (except kale or tofu, if using) into the crockpot and turn on low for 8 hours.

Or, cook on stovetop in a large soup pot (about 6 quart). Bring to a boil, lower heat to very slow simmer, and cook at least 3 hours, up to 8 hours. Add more water if needed. Should be a soft thick dish, not soupy. When cooking is done, remove bones.

If using kale or tofu, add after cooking.

Garnish with tamari/salt and/or add scallions.

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