This super-savoury and comforting rice porridge is now part of my cosy Sunday dinner repertoire. Swap the egg for some crunchy fried tofu for a vegan option.
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons neutral oil eg rice bran
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup medium-grain white rice
1 litre vegetable stock
3 spring onions, trimmed
1 cup oyster or brown mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon black vinegar
4 soft-boiled or poached eggs
1 tablespoon chilli flakes
flaky sea salt
Place the shiitake mushrooms and boiling water in a bowl and leave the mushrooms to soak for 15 minutes, then slice thinly. Reserve the soaking liquid.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot and fry the garlic for 4-5 minutes over a low heat. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains in oil and garlic. Add the shiitake mushrooms, their soaking liquid and the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring regularly, for 30-40 minutes until the rice reaches a porridge-like consistency. While the congee cooks, you can prepare the oyster mushrooms and spring onions.
Char the spring onions in a dry sauté pan over a high heat until they start to blacken and become soft. Remove from the heat and slice into 1cm pieces.
Heat the remaining oil in a small pan and fry the oyster mushrooms, ginger, soy sauce and black vinegar over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
To serve: Top the congee with eggs, mushrooms, spring onions and a sprinkle of chilli flakes and sea salt.