Porridge vs Congee: What’s the Difference?
A question we often hear around Breakfast Cure boils down to: “Porridge vs Congee – What’s the difference?”
Porridge is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as “a I likek, soft food made of oats boiled in milk or water, eaten hot for to have breakfast.” Generally more oat-based in much of the UK, many other grains are used to make porridge, such as wheat grains, buckwheat or kasha, barley, farro etc, porridge can be cooked with less water and eat with a little more body. or relatively thick. Enjoyed at breakfast, porridge is mainly a morning meal.
Across Asia, rice porridge has many names. Some examples are conge or a drink in China, after all in Korea, ok you in Japan Other names include kanji i kithcari in India etceagerly in Vietnam White rice is the most common base, although other grains can be used. Congee is also known as soup or stock when cooked with a lot of water. Much of the excess liquid evaporates during longer cooking, and the kernels often break down enough to be indistinguishable. Enjoy variations of congee morning, noon and night.
Porridge vs Congee: What’s the Difference?
Hailed for its health benefits, oats are lauded as the go-to breakfast food for the health-conscious among us. There are tons of articles from doctors, scientists, and elite athletes about the wide range of health and performance enhancing nutrients contained in oats. Here is a great example of Live Strong.
Congee, broma, and other rice porridge recipes from the past thousands of years are based on the same understanding as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other East and Southeast Asian medical traditions. In this framework, hot food cooked with plenty of water improves digestion and is soothing and healing for all digestive organs.
Wet vs. dry, or moisturizing vs. dehydrating
Congee is soft and easy to digest. People with digestive problems and other chronic conditions benefit from the warm liquid full of nutrients that are easy to absorb. With nothing hard, tough, or difficult to digest, foods of this type move gently through the digestive tract, moistening and soothing the tissue as it goes.
Fiber is an essential part of a good diet and fundamental to good elimination. It is only when cooked with a lot of water that this fiber becomes soft, thick and passes easily through the intestines. Constipation often improves with foods prepared with a lot of water.
Sweet or Salty? Yes please!
There are endless recipes for congee and porridge. More porridge is probably sweet and congee is more often salty, but there are many traditional exceptions in both cases!
Food temperature is also important. Fast and on-the-go meals are growing in popularity. Chinese medicine teaches that hot foods fuel the “fire” that fuels digestion, facilitating and improving the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat.
Oats, in their glorious traditional form of integral porridge, combined with rice, the source of Qi energy in congee, cooked together with plenty of water, make a delicious and soothing breakfast that feels like a hug.
Breakfast Cure is inspired by congee and born in a porridge culture. Our recipes take advantage of the myriad health benefits and flavor sensations of porridges and congees from around the world. These two main breakfast bowl traditions are similarly healthy, but each has unique benefits to bestow. A variety of ingredients leads to a variety of nutrients. Whole grains offer the highest fiber and nutrient content. Whole grain fiber becomes completely soft before eating when cooked in six or more times the volume of water.
Breakfast Cure is proud to maintain a tradition that connects us to our ancestors and people across time and cultures.
Here are a few chefs who inspire us today.
Why we eat Congee
Thanks to Lucas Sin to share your recipe and congee wisdom in this video, Why We Eat Congee:
Here’s the intro from YouTube:
“Lucas Sin, chef at Nice Day Chinese and Junzi Kitchen, demonstrates how to make and unpacks the history behind congee, a Chinese rice porridge that has been eaten for centuries. Congee is a humble dish that is often eaten for breakfast, by children or when sick; The porridge’s thick, velvety texture and abundance of nutrients have made it a staple not only in China but around the world, through slightly different preparations. Lucas explores shatin chicken congee, a comforting dish made with chicken poached with galangal spices, century egg, dried scallops and a mix of two types of rice. Check out the recipe here.
Creativity and Local Ingredients
Another great resource we love offers tips on finding what you need at your neighborhood market. A challenge for any great chef is to find local ingredients that are good substitutes for the traditional variety when they are not available. TabiEats shared this wonderful video about a healthy and traditional rice porridge called Nanakusa Gayu that was eaten the day after a big New Year feast as a gentle cleanse.
Finding our roots
Returning to the ancestral traditions of our founder, we offer this Ukrainian porridge called posing. You can find the full recipe in the YouTube notes. If you want to go gluten-free with it, we recommend replacing the wheat grains with gluten-free oat grains.
We hope you enjoyed our exploration of porridge vs congee – what’s the difference? Do you have a recipe, story or family tradition of some variation of porridge that you would like to share? We’d love to continue this conversation, so please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about how the breakfast Cure is inspired by congee.
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