I think I found my new favorite comfort food. I'd been wanting to try congee since I saw Raya and The Last Dragon. I had heard of it before on Top Chef, so I always assumed it was a super fancy dish. I could not have been more wrong. Congee is basically a rice porridge, eaten as breakfast or as a comfort food when sick or hungover. To get more info on congee, check out my Gingerbread Congee recipe.
Even though the Gingerbread Congee was posted first, this was actually my first attempt at making the dish. It got me HOOKED.
Shiitake Mushrooms have been called the “miracle mushroom” due to their powerful immune boosting and cancer fighting properties, and are prized around the world for their medicinal and healing properties. They contain all eight of the essential amino acids and vitamins such as B12, A, D, and C. Shiitake Mushrooms also contain interferons which are natural proteins that have strong antiviral effects on the body.
Interferons have the ability to inhibit the replication of viruses, bacteria, parasites, and cancerous cells. Shiitake Mushroom extracts contain a significant amount of 1,3 beta-glucan and lentinan which has been shown to slow tumor growth, reduce tumor activity, and lessen the side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.
Shiitake mushrooms have also been known to benefit heart disease, hepatitis, and auto-immune disorders such as AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibrocystic breast disease, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Shiitake Mushrooms also can help to regulate blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, thin the blood, and aid in preventing strokes and heart attacks.
Shiitake Mushrooms contain an excellent bioavailable form of iron which makes them a great addition to help keep your blood strong and to prevent anemia. Shiitake mushrooms are among the few natural sources of germanium, a mineral that has the ability to counteract the effects of pollutants and increase resistance to disease.
Shiitake Mushrooms are also rich in zinc which is highly beneficial for treating viral and bacterial infections, regulating prostate gland functioning, and for healing skin problems.
In my research of congee recipes, I found thekitchn.com's recipe to be the most helpful. Go check it out!
1/4 cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp. of avocado oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
9 cups of low sodium vegetable stock
1 tbsp. of coconut aminos
1 cup of short grain brown rice
1/2 tsp of salt
Heat a large, heavy pot over medium heat (I used a Dutch oven) and add the sliced shiitakes to a dry pan. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Move the mushrooms off to one side of the pan and add the oil to the clear side. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions to the oil and stir to cook and stir in the shiitake mushrooms. Cook for 1 minute. Add the veggie stock and coconut aminos to deglaze the pan, then add the rice and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the temperature to low to simmer, uncovered, for 1.5 hours.
Shiitake Spinach Topping Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 packed cups of fresh baby spinach
Sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil to top (optional)
After about an hour of cook time for the congee, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shiitakes in the dry skillet for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add oil, shallots, and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Once the congee is done, portion out into bowls and top with the shiitake spinach mixture, sesame seeds and a small drizzle of sesame oil. Enjoy!