I have always liked my oatmeal sweet, stacked high with fruits, drizzled with honey, sprinkled with superfoods and plenty of nuts. You may be wondering why am I blabbering on about oatmeal when this post is about making congee, right?
Congee, the warm comforting food that takes hours to make to achieve a velvety, slip-down your throat consistency. Does it have a place in this blog that advocates no sweating over the stove?
Ok, I confess. I was actually very apprehensive about making savoury oats.
Firstly, I always turn up my nose when I see companies selling instant oatmeal packs with ikan bilis ( anchovies ) and urging consumers to use oats in their congee instead of white rice. Rice plays a huge part in the Asian culture and to think of substituting it with oats?? Can oats even measure up?! My grandma will never have that!
Secondly, I have always associated oats with sweet foods. Think overnight oats, chocolate and oat muffins, oat and raisin cookies. To consider it any other way was really hard for me.
So, I have my boyfriend to thank for being the motivation behind making this dish. He abhors oatmeal in all forms. He thinks they taste like cardboard, I think he needs a brain scan. How can he thinks that this and this taste like cardboard??? And because he has a history of stirring vegemite into his oats once and actually managing to finish it, I decided why not try a savoury oatmeal dish.
I am glad I did. I think I can even fool him into eating lots of oatmeal now. This savoury congee takes only minutes to make and is seasoned only with miso paste (you can choose to leave it overnight so that the oats take on a more smooth and creamy consistency). Mixing some rolled oats into the instant oats mixture gives it some bite. With the umami, meaty taste of the miso, you will be tempted to think you are chewing meat as you slurp your congee. I also added wakame (dried seaweed) which is rich in iodine and minerals. Its deep sea flavour makes the oats tastes like seafood congee.
This warm, comforting bowl of oatmeal is perfect for cold mornings and also for a quick warm dinner. Or when you need to teleport back to your granny’s house – a place filled with joy, love and laughter.
Recipe: Savoury Japanese Congee
- 1/2 cup instant oats
- 1 tablespoon rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cup hot water
- 1.5 teaspoons miso paste
- 2 teaspoons dried wakame
- Hard Boiled Egg
- Goji Berries
- Japanese pickles
- Rinse and drain dried wakame to get rid of excess salt.
- Place wakame, instant and rolled oats into a bowl. Add hot water and stir well.*
- Add in miso paste and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes
- At this point, the dried wakame would have puffed up. Use a pair of scissors, to cut it into small parts.
- Top with desired toppings to serve.
*Overnight version: Allow the mixture to cool before storing it in the fridge. In the morning, pop it in the microwave for 1 minute or till heated through. Then stir in the miso paste. Continue with the rest of the steps.
Thank you so much for reading!
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