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Brown rice congee with ginger and chilli-black bean sauce

Congee, also known as jook in China and chao in Vietnam, is one of the world's most comforting dishes. It has a mild flavour, but when served with condiments it can be as tasty as your palate demands. Top it with a couple of seared scallops for a little bit of luxe.

You'll need

750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock 350 gm (1½ cups) brown rice 30 gm ginger, thinly sliced plus extra, finely grated, to serve 8 dried scallops 2 tbsp vegetable oil 12 scallops, cleaned To serve: thinly sliced spring onion   Chilli-black bean sauce 100 gm long red chillies 4 red birdseye chillies, half the seeds discarded 100 gm salted black beans, rinsed and finely chopped (see note) 2 tbsp peanut oil 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine 2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar 1 tbsp white sugar, or to taste


  • 01
  • For chilli-black bean sauce, process chillies and black beans in a small food processor until finely chopped, then fry in oil over low-medium heat to soften (4-5 minutes). Stir in Shaoxing and vinegar, simmer until reduced by half (2-3 minutes), stir in sugar. Refrigerate in a sterile jar for up to 3 weeks.
  • 02
  • Bring stock, rice, ginger, scallops and 2.25 litres water to the simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, half-cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches a porridge consistency (1¼-1½ hours). Season to taste with sea salt and coarsely ground white pepper.
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, add scallops and sear, turning once, until browned at the edges (30 seconds each side).
  • 04
  • Serve congee hot topped with seared scallops, spring onion, grated ginger, coarsely ground white pepper and chilli-black bean sauce.

Note Salted black beans are available in jars from Asian grocers.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Nutty dark porter.

Featured in

Jun 2015

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