Ramen congee might sound like the weirdest thing, but actually is delicious and oddly addictive. It is one childhood food that I still frequently eat, and the moment that hot broth enters my stomach I’m always hit with simultaneous waves of nostalgia and warm fuzzies. Ramen congee was always saved for when my dad was out of town, and when he was, that meant staying up late, watching movies, and eating ramen congee with my mom and two sisters.
I think I partly loved it so much because it mean that we got to go out for ramen either the day before, or earlier that week. Growing up in the suburbs there wasn’t always the largest choice of ethnic foods to choose from, and if there were, they probably weren’t the most authentic. When I made ramen congee for the first time after eating at Totto Ramen (my absolute FAV ramen joint in NYC, check it out!), I was blown away by the intricate flavors that the broth held.
I don’t doctor up the broth much, just salt and white pepper to taste. I really prefer using white pepper as opposed to black pepper, since it’s a milder flavor that complements Asian ingredients much better than black pepper. This recipe isn’t meant to be difficult, and it’s certainly not meant to be restricting. You’ll see that I’ve only included daikon (an Asian version of radish), eggs, and scallion. It’s completely up to you if you want to add in extra, or leave out something! The only thing this recipe is meant to do is to bring comfort on a day when you really need it. That being said, in order to make this recipe fast and easy, I’m using cooked rice to bring down the cooking time. You can absolutely use uncooked rice, I would just add in an extra 1/2 cup of broth, 1/2 cup of water and increase the cooking time by 30 minutes. The only thing that you need to make sure of when you’re making congee, is that your rice is either sushi or jasmine rice. Any sort of rice that is low in starch (think Indian Basmati rice) will not form into a porridge. Rather, it will just stay as individual grains of rice, which is not what we want!
Congee is a staple to Taiwanese cooking, and actually was once a sign as poverty. It was used to stretch out meals, since so much water could be added to the rice to make it seem like there was a lot more food than actually available. Unfortunately, while poverty is still a rampant problem in many areas of Asia, congee is also wonderful to make when you’re feeling sick, or if you really need a soft meal (a.k.a. me, after my wisdom teeth removal).
So, the next time that you’re at a ramen shop, no matter how frequent it is, or if it’s your first time, don’t have the waiter throw away your leftover broth, bring it home! Not only does it prevent food waste, but it’s also a quick meal to throw together on a week day when you’re super tired and just want some hot food in your belly. From my stomach to yours, I hope you enjoy this ramen congee recipe!
RAMEN CONGEE | Makes 1 big pot (3-4 people)
- 2 cups leftover ramen broth
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup cooked sushi or jasmine rice (leftover or fresh)
- 1 stalk of green onion
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups daikon, sliced thinly
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large cooking pot, mix ramen broth and water. Add in rice and bring to a boil.
- One rice is brought to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
- At this point, add in sliced daikon and eggs, stir a couple times to mix eggs around.
- Let congee simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.
- Once daikon slices become translucent and rice is cooked into a thin porridge (around 25 minutes), add salt and pepper to taste.
- Just before serving, sprinkle congee with green onion slices.