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Overhead shot of a round bowl filled with congee, stir fried mushrooms, fried shallots, green onions, and a split ramen egg with runny yolks on a plain dark surface surrounded by two raw mushrooms and a green onion stalk.

Brown Rice Mushroom Congee with Sardines

This Brown Rice Mushroom Congee with Sardines is good old comfort food that happens to be healthy. Brown rice is simmered in a Japanese dashi broth until creamy and then mixed with canned sardines. Topped with stir-fried mushrooms, a soft-boiled egg, fried shallots, and green onions, this is the ultimate savory breakfast that also works for lunch or dinner. 
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4
Author Megan Wells

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 (4x4 inch) pieces of kombu
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dried bonito flakes, packed
  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Morton Kosher Salt
  • 1 (4 and 1/4 ounce) can sardines packed in extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce

Toppings

Instructions

Slow Cooker Instructions (5 minutes prep, 7 hours cook)

  1. Add the water, kombu, and dried bonito flakes to a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the water is just about to boil. Turn off the heat, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain the broth into a slow cooker through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the kombu and soggy bonito flakes. 

  2. Pour boiling water over the dried shiitake mushrooms and let them sit for 5 minutes. Rinse them under running water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the slow cooker. Reserve the mushroom water for later, just in case you want your congee to be a little more liquid. It will add more flavor than regular water. 

  3. Rinse the brown rice under running water and let it drain. Add to the crockpot.

  4. Cook covered on low for 7 hours or on high for 5 hours. If it’s possible, stir the congee a couple of times. If you aren’t able to do so, it might get a little done along the edges of the crockpot but not too bad. Mine sat unstirred for 7 hours and it came out just fine. 

  5. Add some of the reserved mushroom water to get the texture you desire. Mine was very gelatinous and I wanted it to be a little more liquid so I added the reserved mushroom water until it was the texture I prefer. 

  6. Once the congee is the texture you like, add the white pepper and salt. Take the sardines out of the can and tear them apart with a fork. Add to the congee and stir. Season with fish sauce to taste.

  7. Serve with soft boiled ramen egg, a drizzle of hot chili oil or garlic chili paste, fried shallots, sliced green onions, and Stir Fried Mushrooms with Garlic and Ginger.  

Stovetop Instructions (5 minutes prep, 55 to 75 minutes cook)

  1. Add the water, kombu pieces, and dried bonito flakes to a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium until the water is just about to boil. Turn off the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain out the kombu and soggy bonito flakes with a fine mesh strainer and pour the broth back into the saucepan. 

  2. Rinse the brown rice under running water and let it drain. Add the brown rice to the broth, cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes. 

  3. While the rice simmers, pour boiling water over the dried shiitake mushrooms and let it sit for 15 minutes. Once the mushrooms are soft, rinse them under running water and then squeeze out any excess liquid. Slice the mushrooms and set aside. Reserve the water the mushrooms soaked in for later.

  4. After the rice has cooked 15 minutes give it a stir, making sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. 

  5. Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and stir. Simmer covered for 20 minutes. 

  6. If you like your congee to be a little smoother and more broken down, keep adding a 1/2 cup to a cup of the reserved mushroom water from earlier and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more. 

  7. Once the congee is the texture you like, add the white pepper and salt. Take the sardines out of the can and tear them apart with a fork. Add to the congee and stir. Season with fish sauce to taste.

  8. Serve with soft boiled ramen egg, a drizzle of hot chili oil or garlic chili paste, fried shallots, sliced green onions, and Stir Fried Mushrooms with Garlic and Ginger.  

Recipe Notes

*Fried Shallots: Slice shallots thinly and place them in a pan filled with vegetable oil. Have enough oil that the shallots are able to be just covered. Turn heat to high. Once the shallots begin to bubble, turn heat to medium or medium-low. Once the shallots stop bubbling, transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with a little Morton Kosher Salt.

*Ramen Egg: Boil cold eggs anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes and immediately transfer them to ice water to stop them from cooking more. Combine equal parts soy sauce and mirin and three parts water in a ziplock bag. Once the eggs are cool enough to touch, carefully peel them. Place them in the bag and marinate overnight.