One of my favourite things in the world.
It reminds me of breakfasts in Hong Kong during the winter; particularly this Chinese fast food restaurant near my grandmother’s flat which had amazing breakfast food. Seriously, I kid you not. Hong Kong is famous for all the dim sum and stuff but I enjoyed eating there more than any dim sum place I’ve ever been to. We would eat dough fritters wrapped in a rice sheet and drizzled with special soy sauce（炸兩）, Cantonese-style dumplings（粽）and of course last but not least…
Sadly, none of those that we ate there were actually vegan. NONE, I tell you! Hong Kong food is awfully vegan-unfriendly. That was before I went on a plant-based diet, so it’s been a while since I had any of those 🙁 My favourite back then was the century egg + minced pork porridge（皮蛋瘦肉粥）but of course…that ain’t vegan. Sobs. Hopefully some day I can vegan-ify that successfully, but before that happens…I have congee cravings to satisfy too 🙁
So what do I do when I really want congee in my tummy? I turn to this absolutely delicious peanut congee with dates, and you’re in luck today because I’m sharing this with YOU! 😉
By the way, peanut congee isn’t really a Hong Kong thing; I was introduced to it in Singapore. I’m not sure which cuisine it actually is from because we have soooo many different types of Chinese people here (like Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, etc), but it’s ingenious and super delicious!
First, you should soak the peanuts and dates overnight. Any type of peanuts will do – in the picture above I am using Shandong peanuts (because that’s what I found in the nearest supermarket. heh), but the commonly seen peanuts are good too (no idea what those are called, oops). Honestly, I can’t taste the difference :p Also, if you can, soak the rice as well. This makes the cooking process faster as the rice breaks down sooner. But if you can’t, that’s not really a problem either!
Lastly, I’m using Chinese dates here; the ones used for Asian cooking, not the Middle Eastern ones you snack on :p If you can’t get your hands on those Chinese dates, you can replace them with goji berries. I personally prefer dates though 🙂
Digressing a little bit – congee is such a weird term for me to use. Locally (in Singapore), all congees are called porridge, and if you tried to order congee at the hawker centre the stall owner might give you a weird stare. Haha. That’s how never-used it is! I decided to use congee as the title though, just to avoid any ambiguity. Sometimes I wish the whole world could just standardise English terms, that would definitely make my life a lot easier :p
Digressing a wee bit more, here’s a little fun fact – I did a little googling to figure out the etymology of “congee” and apparently it came from the Tamil language! Wow.
ANYWAY. Back to the main programme.
You can cook this with a pot, or even a rice cooker (I’ve done it). I personally cook with a claypot, because I like its heat-retaining capabilities. I don’t think what you use makes a difference, so go with what you have. If you like to cook Asian food though, I think it’s a good idea to invest in a claypot 🙂
Also, congee goes great with some side dishes. It’s common to eat pickles with congee here, but Chinese pickles have never been my thing, so I usually have a side of vegetables and a side of protein. If you’re looking for some side dishes to go with this congee, you can check out my Cabbage With Oyster Mushrooms Stir Fry and Tofu In Ginger Soy Sauce recipes. I’ll have more and more side dishes to come, so if you like my stuff, stay tuned, subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on Pinterest/Facebook, you get the drift 😉
Give this a try, and let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
Vegan + Gluten Free + No Onion No Garlic
Peanut Congee With Dates
Soak rice and peanuts in water (separately) overnight. If you want to add some dried dates. soak them overnight as well.
Drain the soaking water away before cooking. Roughly crush the rice with your hands (which will help speed up the cooking process)!
Bring about 2 cups of water to the boil in a pot and then put in the rice. peanuts, dates, and ginger.
Leave it boiling, and stir occasionally to prevent the rice at the bottom from burning. Keep the lid half open so that the water does not overflow. Let it boil violently if possible; this allows for the rice to disintegrate.
When the congee starts sputtering, add 1/2 cup of water in.
When it starts to sputter again, add 1/2 more cup of water in. By now you should've added 3 cups of water.
Leave it on the stove until the desired consistency has been reached - approximately 45 minutes of cook time in total. You can add more water if too much of it has evaporated.
When done, add salt and pepper to taste.