Have you ever eaten something that was spicy enough to wake the dead? Though not for the weak of stomach, that might be just what the doctor ordered.
That was the literal inspiration for this recipe, glutinous rice porridge, AKA congee. Of course, the original dish is incredibly mild, sometimes seasoned only with a pinch of salt, if that. Meant to soothe an upset stomach, it’s classic sick day food that’s easy to digest and gently nurse the unwell back to health. Now I’m beginning to think that the opposite approach might be more effective.
Mo Dao Zu Shi (魔道祖师) is far from a food-focused donghua, but stick with me here. The protagonist, Wei Wuxian, is known to make his meals unbearably spicy, to the point that you’d think one’s spirit would depart their body after a single bite. This turns out to be an asset that ultimately cures those suffering from corpse poisoning.
There’s good sense to back this theory up. Hot peppers have genuine medicinal properties granted by that characteristic burn. Capsaicin is the compound responsible for its culinary prowess and health benefits.
What are the benefits of capsaicin?
- For short term pain relief, biting into a blisteringly hot food releases endorphins, creating a mild “high” and dampening other discomforting sensations, like headaches, joint pain, and beyond.
- Chili peppers are great for improving heart health! Studies have shown they can reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and increase blood flow.
- Stress less with a calming dose of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). Deficiencies in these vitamins can lead to added anxiety or trouble regulating moods over time.
- Have tissues handy because this stuff will clear out your sinuses and ease congestion. Plus, capsaicin has antibacterial properties which are effective in fighting and preventing chronic sinus infections.
Most importantly, this is medicine you’ll WANT to take.
Toppings for congee are entirely up to the eater. Creamy rice porridge can do no wrong as a gracious base for anything your heart desires. Aromatic ginger and garlic are a classic starting foundation, amplified by savory, salty soy sauce.
Consider the following ideas to customize you own invigorating and restorative hellbroth:
- Shiitake mushrooms are brilliant here, chopped finely to infuse every grain with umami.
- To satiate a heartier appetite, bulk it up with plant proteins, like baked or braised tofu, or cooked beans.
- Add textural contrast with toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds.
The only non-negotiable is the chili crisp. This is what transforms a bowl of mush into a downright addictive meal. While it’s tempting to eat it straight from the jar, try to keep at least a 1:1 ratio of chili crisp to congee, for the sake of your stomach.
Whether it’s a cold, flu, or corpse poisoning, this flaming hot chili crisp congee will cure what ails you.
Spicy Chili Crisp Congee
Creamy, hearty, and soothing, classic congee gets a spicy upgrade with a generous spoonful of chili crisp. This simple staple will help you when you're feeling under the weather, or just need an extra bowlful of comfort.
- 1/2 Cup Sushi Rice
- 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2-Inch Fresh Ginger, Peeled and Finely Minced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
- 3 - 4 Tablespoons Chili Crisp
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro (Optional)
- In medium saucepan, combine the rice, vegetable stock, salt, ginger garlic, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally so that the rice doesn't clump or stick at the bottom.
- Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the rice is fully cooked and the congee is thick and creamy. Ladle into bowls and top with chili crisp and cilantro, as desired. Enjoy hot.
The congee will continue to thicken as it cools. Adjust with additional stock or water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 1176mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.
4 thoughts on “Congee Is The Cure”
I’m a spice wimp so that doesn’t sound great to me. I like spice but not heat. :-) My husband is quite the opposite.
I grew up eating lots of congee, but not the spicy one. My favourite is with century eggs :-)) However, I do enjoy spicy food, so this might be something for me too!
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This sounds amazing and I must make it soon. We had a variation of this on a vegan cruise a few years and have been meaning to find it locally. Thanks!