My Steel-Cut Oatmeal Congee is a thick Asian-inspired savory porridge that can soothe a sore throat or just make you feel cozy after a bad day.
It’s flavored with rich umami from mushrooms and soothing-to-your-stomach ginger. This Asian-inspired oat congee is made with oats instead of the traditional rice.
Ready to curl up in a blanket and just take a deep breath? This vegan savory porridge is just what you need.
If you have a tummy ache it’s soothing and can help, but if you are just tired and need to nuture you bosy and mind mushroom congee is just what you need to decompress.
This oat congee recipe makes enough for two but feel free to double or triple if you’re feeding more or want to keep some in the fridge for the duration of your cold. The mushrooms and ginger are great for getting your immune system back on track.
What is congee?
Congee is a thick Asian comfort food that can soothe a sore throat or just make you feel better after a bad day.
Traditionally it’s a thick stew made of rice and flavorings that are cooked with extra water to create a porridge. You’ll find it in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnemese foods to just name a few.
In this recipe we use steel-cut oats in place of the rice and it’s one of the most popular recipes from my book, OATrageous Oatmeals.
Americans aren’t as used to having a savory thick porridge, but once you try it you will be hooked.
Is congee vegan?
Congee is a porridge that is made by slow cooking rice. The dish is then topped with your own choice of toppings.
But in most cultures traditional congee is made of meat, so you will have to ask questions if you are ordering it out.
Even if it doesn’t contain meat, it may be cooked in a meat stock.
Is this good when you are sick?
Originally, it was used as a famine food because the rice is stretched to last and water is added.
Now, it is more known to be a dish you serve when someone is sick. It’s easy to make and gentle on the stomach. The ginger in thei recipe is also good for upset tummies.
What does it taste like?
By itself it doesn’t have a ton of flavor. It’s actually meant to be a bland dish as a base for any flavorful toppings you want to add.
Think of it as a blank canvas. If you are sick you may keep it bland, but if you are eating it for warmth and comfort you can layer on the flavors.
Mushroom Oat Congee ingredients
You just need a few simple ingredients like vegetable broth or vegan bouillon with water, steel-cut oats, minced mushrooms (shiitakes are great), minced carrot or sweet potato, grated fresh ginger are all you need for the base.
You’ll flavor it with some hot pepper flakes, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and you can add a little salt if you want.
How to make it
Just add the broth, oats, mushrooms and minced carrot or sweet potato to a pot and bring to a boil.
Then lower the heat to medium-low and add in the ginger, soy sauce and vinegar.
Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the oats are tender and the porridge is thick.
What can I put on top of congee?
There are many possibilities with congee since it does not have a distinct or overpowering taste, so you can top it off with a lot different kinds of toppings that add different flavors to your congee dish. Here is a list of toppings that are typically topped on congee:
- Fresh cilantro
- Extra fresh grated ginger
- Sliced hot peppers
- Bean Sprouts
- Soy Sauce
- Chili garlic sauce
- and more!
Since eating the oat congee alone is a bit bland, side dishes are usually served with the dish. Here are some side dishes you can whip up and side with congee:
- Sweet and sour carrot salad
- Carrot spinach salad
- Stir-fried Chinese yams with tomatoes
- Different pickled vegetables (like onions or cucumber)
These are just some examples but feel free to pair your oat congee with different salads for freshness or other sweet side dishes until you find the perfect side dish for you.
How to make congee in your slow cooker?
If you have a slow cooker then you can also use it to make your congee.
Just put all your ingredients in your slow cooker, cover, and cook it for either 8 to 10 hours on the lowest setting or 5 hours on high, or until it has a thick consistency.
Vegan chicken broth sound like a contradiction, but you can still get some of that wonderful umami flavor in your vegan soups and stews without any meat.
If you haven’t tried adding nutritional yeast to your vegan recipes, you are in for a treat. It’s inexpensive and adds B vitamins too!
But beyond just adding nutritional yeast, you can try my homemade vegan bouillon!
Get your signed copy of Oatrageous Oatmeals from Virtual Veg Fest – it’s currently out of print otherwise, but you can get the ebook on Amazon.
“If you thought oats were just for breakfast or cookies, prepare to be dazzled. Kathy Hester has taken the humble grain to new heights in this collection of savory and sweet oat recipes that include blackberry mojito refrigerator oats, steel-cut oat sausage crumbles, oat dosas with coconut chutney, and much more.” —Robin Robertson, bestselling author of Vegan Planet, Quick-Fix Vegan, One-Dish Vegan and many more
“I absolutely adore Kathy Hester’s amazingly creative and delicious recipes using oats. She will have you thinking of oats in brand new ways, and you will suddenly want to buy them in bulk. Thank you, Kathy!” —Julie Hasson, author of Vegan Casseroles, Vegan Pizza, Vegan Diner and more
More Oatmeal recipes to try:
Here are more recipes that are great for the cold weather:
- Cool Weather Comfort Vegan Menu Plan
- Vegan Earl Grey Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oats w/ Rosewater
- 4 Warming Winter Slow Cooker Oatmeals
Mushroom Ginger Steel-cut Oat Congee
- 3 cups vegetable broth , sub vegan chick'n broth or vegan bouillon with water
- 1/2 cup steel-cut oats , can sub rolled oats for a creamier texture
- 1/2 cup minced mushrooms (shiitakes are great)
- 1/4 cup minced carrot , or sub sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- hot pepper flakes to taste
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- Bring the broth, oats, mushrooms and minced carrot or sweet potato to a boil in a medium pot.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add in the ginger, soy sauce and vinegar.
- Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the oats are cooked and the stew becomes thick.
- Before serving, add salt to taste and spice with hot pepper flakes.
I’d be most excited to win the measuring cups in the drawing. Mine are all worn out.
Wow, Kathy, that congee looks great! When it cools off around here, I’m definitely trying that. Thanks, and congrats on the new book!
Mary Sy says
I’m excited to try this soup. I’very never used oats in savory dishes.
My measuring cups and spoons have seen better days. I’d love to win new ones.
What great reviews! I am intrigued just by the congee recipe.
my craziest oats dish is preacher cookies, lol
Jacqui Pappas says
I could really use some new measuring cups. I would love to win the book, too!
I think the oddest thing I’ve made with oats was a mock meat. I can’t remember how it turned out or where I got the recipe. I eat oats just about every day for breakfast, though.
I would love to win the measuring cups!
My husband loves breakfast oatmeal with peanut butter and Hershey’s kisses stirred in. It’s more of a dessert, though!
I like the measuring cups !
I would love an OXO whisk or measuring cups! I love kitchen gadgets!
The craziest dish I’ve made with oats would be a meatless loaf.
Rebecca Parsons says
I like the measuring cups and spoons.
Rebecca Parsons says
I made oatmeal with oats. It was good though.
Michele W says
I love oatmeal for breakfast but have also been known to add it to my smoothies. Never thought about adding it to savory dishes until I saw this cookbook.
Michele W says
I love Oxo tools and just got their mandoline. It’s a tough choice but if I had to pick the one I like most of the ones shown here it would probably be the scoop because it’s so versatile. It could be used for ice cream, making cookies, vegan “meat”balls and burgers, and I’ve seen people use scoops to fill cupcake/muffin tins.
My favorite OXO tool is my can opener, but these all look like fun!
Just made veggie dogs tonight using oats — yum!
Ann P-L says
I love my OXO peeler!
Ann P-L says
I’ve made savory oats w/ an egg, sauteed spinach and onions.
Are those little beaker-like measuring cups? Because I’d love those!
My craziest oat dish? It only consists of part of the recipe, but I made a savory herb-infused gluten-free waffle using oats and buckwheat. Tasty!
Lydia Claire says
I use my OXO salad spinner all the time!
I’ve been replacing all of my old tools withOXO as they die. I love my OXO nutmeg grater. My next purchase will be the OXO cherry pitter.
Oxo vegetable peeler was my 1st piece so many years ago and still my favorite. Then my whisk, then my bowls. I am a oat fan and the congee looks amazing thank you for running this chance to win!
I just made this and it is wonderfull! A couple of revisions, though. A little garlic goes well and fish sauce really kicks it up a notch. Don’t be afraid of the fish sauce. The foul smell disappears and it really ups the umami flavor. Chicken bone broth is good too.
Kathy Hester says
To veganize his suggestions I would add some tamarind paste which I use whenever fish sauce is called for, or some nuttritional yeast or your favorite vegan chicken-less broth.
I love my oxo measuring cups
I have the very large cutting board. I can chop everything on one board without having to dirty another dish, and it fits over my sink so if I’m running short on space I can still chop.
My measuring spoons have all the numbers rubbed off of them and some are missing, it’d be great to get a new set!
The craziest thing I’ve made with oats is an egg, veggie, spinach, and oat cake thing…..It was green!
I love ALL of the OXO tools! I especially love the salad spinner.
Deb E says
I do love OXO tools with the stiff hands I sometimes have. My fave gets the most use and that’s my bowl with a small handle to hold on to. It keeps it from flying across the room sometimes! Love them all though.
Deb E says
My craziest dish was a potato topped with oats that looked a little odd and probably didn’t taste that great but I just love a good crunchy granola/oat topping. Maybe I’ll try oats and cheese topping on my potatoes next time!
barbara n says
I love my OXO garlic press!
Marti Miller Hall says
I love my OXO Mandoline slicer. I use it literally every single day
Marti Miller Hall says
I made sriracha oatmeal once. It was pretty good!
I hope I win. 🙂
Tracy Ewing says
I love the whisks!
Dhonna Schwertl says
I’ve always wanted a baker’s dusting wand…I think it would be simply magical!
lili yen says
I could use a whisk!
The V mandolin
Lauren Kage says
That tea strainer could really come in handy.
Thanks for posting this recipe; I have everything for mushroom congee at home–that made dinner planning super easy.
Amanda H says
I really really need new measuring cups and a garlic press – tools that I just don’t want to go out and buy but using the ones I have until I can’t anymore ha ha.
Amanda H says
Craziest dish I ever made with oats was adding them to my morning smoothie – adds a crazy filling quality and great texture. Not too crazy but different enough that you wouldn’t think of it as something to do normally.
I make overnight oats in my slow cooker almost every other day. I love oats in all its forms and I can’t wait to check out your book! I also happen to be a fan of OXO products. Their mandolin slicer is extremely convenient. 🙂
Min K says
My fave OXO tool is the whisk (and I’m looking forward to winning another).
Min K says
First time I made an oatmeal face mask it seemed crazy (but it’s not).
The measuring cups and spoons!
The craziest dish with oatmeal…chocolate, peanut butter pudding!
I can see I’m not taking full advantage of oats. I think I need your new book!
What a lovely recipe. I’ve never had congee, but I can’t wait to try this!
I like my OXO food scale, use it all the time!
I just made a double batch! It’s heavenly! Added a little nooch and extra soy sauce for a beefy flavor boost.
As for crazy oats uses, oh man, everything! Skin treatments for psoriasis. Milk. Desperate egg replacer. Pancakes, cakes, all manner of baking including countless loaves or veg burgers. I have crazier plans for oats that include a cheese recipe lol.
Thanks for the great recipe post! I have been looking for a clear and concise English language congee recipe for more than a year!
I’m confused by why the article talks about steel cut oats, but the actual recipe uses rolled oats. The two are very different.
Kathy Hester says
I’m not sure how that happened, but the recipe uses steel-cut oats and I’ve updated it.