This simple soothing porridge is made with sushi rice, which lends a mellow sweetness and also emulsifies very well. To contrast this white background, we’ve topped the congee with crisp-skinned (and vibrant orange) sockeye salmon, toasted garlic, and fragrant green scallion tops.
- ½ cup short grain sushi rice
- 6 cups water
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, separated
- 3 to 4 scallions, whites and greens separated (¼ cup whites, chopped, greens, sliced thinly on the bias, reserved for garnish)
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced, to the thickness of a quarter
- 20 ounces sockeye salmon, cut into four portions
- ½ teaspoon Szechuan-style chili oil, for garnish
Make the Congee
In a medium-sized deep bowl or quart container, soak rice with enough water to cover by 2 inches for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Drain the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under running water until the water is clear.
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add scallion whites, stirring occasionally, until pale golden brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat if they begin to brown.
Add 6 cups of water, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the drained rice and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Continue to cook on high for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice is very tender and has the consistency of porridge, about 40 minutes. Season with salt.
Make the garlic chips
In a medium frying pan over medium-low heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and the sliced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, gently shaking and swirling the pan every so often so the garlic doesn’t burn or stick, until it is lightly browned. With a slotted spoon or a fork, remove the garlic to a paper towel-lined plate and let drain. Season with a pinch of salt.
Cook the salmon and serve
In the same pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Season fish with salt and place skin-side down in the pan, pressing firmly with a spatula until the skin is browned and crispy, about 1 minute. Remove the spatula and cook for another 3 minutes. Flip and press again for 1 minute, then cook unpressed for another 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
Spoon the congee into shallow bowls and top with the salmon (serve skin-side up for extra crisp skin). Garnish with garlic chips, sliced scallion greens, and Szechuan-style chili oil.
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Level it Up
Stir sautéed sliced shiitake mushrooms into the congee for deep umami flavor and garnish with quick pickled radishes for a tangy punch.
Change it Up
Congee is great reheated the next day for breakfast. Add a little water or broth to loosen it up and top with a runny fried egg.
Spice it Up
If you can’t find Szechuan-style chili oil, garnish with a pinch of chile flakes.
Pair it Up
Super crisp and light, Japanese rice lager is a great choice for Asian dishes.
Know Your Cook
Michael Harlan Turkell
Michael Harlan Turkell, a once aspiring chef, is now an award-winning food photographer and writer. He has photographed many prominent chefs’ cookbooks, co-authored a few, and even wrote one of his own, ACID TRIP: Travels in the Word of Vinegar. Turkell also hosted The Food Seen podcast on Heritage Radio Network for nearly a decade. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.