when the world freezes and we, layered
shuffle towards warmth, even
carrying it with us
whenever we can, looking forward
to the steamy stir of
a pot or the quick hot pulse of our hands
around a paper cup, or better yet
We talk about the cold,
unravelling our scarves.
and about how
everyone is chattering about it
as if they’d never seen a winter before.
We peel back each layer (releasing steam, too),
warm for now, sitting down
Congee with Yams and Miso Sauce
inspired by a recipe from Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy
My friend, Janet, introduced me to congee, and I’ve talked about it here a few times. It’s the most appropriate meal for many occasions (sick friends, sad friends, hungry friends, your average Tuesday), but most of all the coldest day of the year.
1 cup white basmati rice
10 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
4 garnet yams, scrubbed
2 tablespoons coconut oil (olive will do, too)
For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 heaping tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 scallions (whites and most of the green), sliced
For the garnish;
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, sliced
1. Combine the rice and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover the pot. Cook, every so often, until the mixture thickens, between 1 1/2-2 hours. Stir in the salt.
2. Meanwhile, place the whole yams in a steamer (or a pot with a little water if that’s what you have) and steam until tender, 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat, and cut each yam in half lengthwise. Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Place the yams (in batches if you have to), cut side down in the pan. Fry for about three minutes- then peek at the flesh of the yam. It should be crispy and golden, and this will probably take between 3 and 5 minutes.
3. To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste, and tinker with it if you like. Serve the yams over the congee, with first the sauce drizzled overtop, and then finally the toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
I’ve been thinking about you, and congee, since New Year’s Day. My husband smoked a turkey breast and we had a good bit left over, so I simmered the carcass and stirred up my very first congee, inspired, no doubt, by your musings in this space and the fact that I’d never tried it before. I’m now a convert and ready to spread my wings into new flavor combinations like this one. Yam? Maple? Miso? Ginger? I’m there.
Your poetry soothes.
Funny how just rice could be such a revelation, but I guess that’s us catching up with the rest of the world, eh? I’d say you stay warm too, but instead, I’ll say- pick a lemon for me will you? Dreaming of California…
pam (Sidewalk Shoes) says
Oh, I could use some of this right now!
Oh, tell me you got some? There’s nothing like a congee craving unanswered- I hope it was satisfied!
i am so glad you’re here.
have i mentioned this yet? a dozen times? a hundred?
still true, for all my redundancy.
And every time, it inspires a blush and a smile. I am as happy that you’re here, and there, and everywhere you are. xo
Not a congee convert, yet, but this recipe may just do it…Thanks!
We’ll get you, Anna. Just wait.
I made your congee with the ginger scallion sauce and we loved it. Now I have to try this one. My rice is simmering as we speak – will reheat it for supper and the other ingredients are waiting to go. I am craving this meal. You have introduced me to a new comfort food. Thank-you.
Oh good! I’ll be forever indebted to my friend Janet for this one, and as someone wise once said- “If you can’t pay it back, pay it forward.” Glad I’ve done it!
Margo, Thrift at Home says
I’m fascinated by congee, but the one time I made it, we were not huge fans. . . but I’m going to try again with your recipe. The flavors looks so great.
Margo, make sure you cook it until it thickens! Something really great happens to the flavor of the rice when it all dissolves, but before that, it’s just water-y rice. I’m not sure what the complaint was with your last congee, but try again! I hope this helps.
I grew up with congee, but we called it jook. Made with the leftover hambone or pork or chicken or turkey carcass, shiitake mushrooms, dried tangerine peel, salted preserved turnip and ginger; cooked and simmered until thick (you’re right about that being important) and then garnished with soy sauce, white pepper, sesame oil, chopped green onions and cilantro. YUM! Now, I sometimes add sriracha or sambal oelek. Your variation sounds intriguing, and I’ll ben trying it soon, maybe today!
Shari @ Simply Shari's Gluten Free says
Can’t wait to try this sauce! I have all of the ingredient, too. Thanks!
well, I probably don’t have to tell you how tasty this looks to me….
And every pot I make, you’re always right there talking me through the recipe. <3
I tried this recipe the other day. It turn out great! Thanks! It was my first go at congee and I must say I was pretty pleased!
I’m so glad, Sarah! Welcome to the congee club….
sublime. I used brown rice instead of white and it took a heck of a lot of cooking – other than that though I’d say a huge success! and the miso sauce is officially a staple in my kitchen. it’s perfect.
I’m so glad! I love that miso sauce, too.