This traditional Asian porridge feels like a mother’s hug. Almost every culture has a version of this satiating stew—warm and healing and quick to prepare when someone is a bit under the weather. You can enhance the properties further by using a chicken stock or bone broth. The elements atop are particularly medicinal and delicious on a simple setting of white rice and broth, while the charred greens and smoky black garlic–sesame oil add a depth of flavor.
For the congee 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 (2-inch/5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 3 large chunks 1 cup (195 g) medium-grain white rice
2 quarts (2 L) Chicken Stock (page 33), plus more if desired
For the garlic chips
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandoline
For the black garlic-sesame oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 2 Black Garlic cloves (page 44)
8 radicchio leaves
2 teaspoons grated burdock root Sel de Guérande
For the congee: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger, rice, and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring frequently so the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot, until thickened and porridge-like, about 1 hour.
For the garlic chips: In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic slices in small batches and fry for 20 to 30 seconds, or until just lightly golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic chips to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
For the black garlic–sesame oil: Put the sesame oil in a small bowl. Working over the bowl, smash the black garlic cloves through a fine-mesh sieve, scraping the bits that come through into the bowl. Stir to combine.
For the charred radicchio: Working with 1 leaf at a time, use tongs to hold the radicchio over an open flame until charred in places. Set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining leaves. (Alternatively, you can broil the leaves on a baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes.)
Once the congee has finished cooking, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. At this point, if you wish to thin your congee, add more stock until you reach the desired consistency.
To serve, ladle the congee into bowls and top with charred radicchio leaves, garlic chips, a drizzle of black garlic–sesame oil, and grated burdock root. Finish with a sprinkling of sel de Guérande.
S H O P T H E P O S T