I’ll always remember eating my first bowl of congee because it coincided with my very first glimpse of a beluga whale’s penis.
I promise I’m not a pervert – let me explain.
In 2006, I was a member of the media relations team at the Vancouver Aquarium. One weekend, I was hosting a group of journalists from China and we were having breakfast in the underwater beluga viewing area.
It was before the place opened. The area was quiet and serene, and the lighting dim, which emphasized the glowing white blubber of the four belugas who swam before us.
And then, as we were enjoying our congee, the Aquarium’s sole male beluga glided by the window – splaying his erection for all to see.
We had a good laugh about it, because what else can you do? That’s nature. And then we went back to our congee.
This congee recipe is not traditional at all, but it tastes delicious, satisfying and comforting. Beluga whale genitalia is not included.
Brown Rice Vegetable Congee
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less
1 cup brown rice
6-8 cups water or vegetable broth
1 heaping cup shredded zucchini
1 heaping cup shredded kale
salt to taste
Soak the brown rice in water for several hours. Drain and rinse the rice in a strainer, then dump it into a medium-sized pot with four cups of water.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the rice cook, uncovered, for an hour or two, until it breaks down and becomes a porridge. Add more cups of water as needed, depending on how thick you want your congee.
When the congee has reached the consistency you want it to be, stir in the salt, kale and zucchini and turn off the heat. Let the vegetables wilt for a few minutes, then serve.
Makes 4-6 portions.