Konji, or rice porridge, is one of my favorite savory breakfasts to make. Depending on the culture, it has many names all over the world, but is actually slow-cooked rice. For some reason, it’s never really caught on in the US, and it’s an absolute mystery to me. This vegetarian konji is an easy version of the dish.
Konji, or cockroach, is probably not a breakfast on a weekday, because the rice needs to be cooked for a while to really soften, but if you have time, a vegetarian konji is a fantastic treat and one that most Americans have not tried.
Vegetarian or vegan konji
In konji traditionally there will be some meat, but not much. Sometimes it will have some sliced pork or grated chicken, but it is very easy to make it vegetarian. I just use a vegetarian stock while boiling and then over it all sorts of stir-fried vegetables.
If you want to make it vegan, the only switch you will need to make is to leave the egg. Add any vegetables, chili or herbs to make it your own afterwards!
What kind of rice to use for konji?
The nice thing about konji is that you can use any rice for it really. But, depending on what rice you use, you will get different results. If you use short rice, almost all of it will dissolve into porridge. You will not even be able to identify it as rice.
In the meantime, if you use long rice, like jasmine rice, like I did for this recipe, it will have a little more texture, which I prefer.
If by chance you have rice leftovers, then I’ll just use it. It is easiest to make konji from rice leftovers because it is already softened and by boiling will break it down quickly.
Preparing the konji recipe
I usually make my konji only in a pot on the stove. The other easy option is slow cooking. You can also use a pressure cooker if you like, but it seems to me excessive to take out the big gear for what is actually cooked rice.
To start, you will also need some vegetable soup and some dried chili if you want to add some spices to the konji.
I usually start with 6-7 cups of liquid per cup of rice when I make konji and most of this liquid should be water. I usually make five cups of water, one cup of spinach and one cup of rice.
Bring the liquid to a boil then stir in the rice and let it simmer until it starts to fall apart. If the mixture becomes too thick at some point, more water should be added! My konji almost runs out after 35-40 minutes of boiling and stirring occasionally. Once the konji reaches this point, you can start seasoning it. It will need a large pinch of salt and pepper for starters.
Taste while seasoning to make sure it tastes good.
The cooking time in konji can vary drastically depending on the type of rice you use and whether you use leftover rice or uncooked rice. There is no perfect recipe for every case, but it is also very difficult to screw up. Just cook and stir until the rice has a porridge texture. If it’s too thick, then add more liquid!
How to make it in slow cooker
Since this is a cooked recipe, it’s pretty easy to tailor. Just add your liquids and rice and aromatics to your slow cooker and cook on low to eight hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
After preparing the konji, you will want to mix it well to make sure the rice breaks down and season it well, to taste, with a pinch of salt, pepper, and maybe even a splash of soy sauce or sesame oil.
Preparing the toppings
Most traditional konji dishes include a type of meat – pork is the standard. When I wanted to make a vegetarian version, I went straight to the mushroom aisle.
I cut some shiitake mushrooms and crimson mushrooms and then sautéed them over medium-high heat in a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan. At the end I got to know them with a little drizzle of soy sauce just to boost the salty flavors even further.
I also wanted to add my bowls with soft-boiled eggs, but they are optional.
Here are some more ideas for extra!
- Stir-fried peppers and onions. Cook the peppers and onions slowly in a pan until they caramelize, almost like a cheesecake. Then add these to the konji bowls.
- Ginger and garlic. You can add a lot of aromatics to the soup while cooking to infuse flavors into your konji. Ginger and garlic are light, but even dried chili is nice.
- Cheese konji. It’s very unconventional, but if you mix a little hard cheese (like Parmesan) right at the end of cooking, it’s very good.
- Dessert version. Although I prefer salty konji, but it is not too difficult to put it in the category of sweets. Think about adding it with strawberry jams, peanut butter, and maybe a splash of cream or nutella.
Finish the vegetarian konji
The add-on options are endless for this vegetarian konji. Beyond the egg, I also added some fresh coriander and chives and a few tablespoons of the chili garlic sauce. Green onions, fried shallots, or just about any herb will go great with these bowls.
You can still go crazy with the extras. All crispy vegetables work great. Anything occupied is a good idea. Any spicy thing will find its way into my bowl.
Note on the use of rice leftovers
If you want to use leftover rice for that, and that’s what I do in the cookbook, just reduce the liquid by about half because the rice is already cooked. It will take less time but the rice should still melt almost to a thick porridge. This is one of my favorite breakfasts to serve people because it is not on the standard American breakfast menu, but it should be.
Vegetarian konji video – how to make
My vegetarian konji recipe with soft-boiled eggs
My version of rice cooker is slowly cooked with a vegetable stock and sautéed mushrooms. A really filling and delicious meal!
1 cup long rice
5 glasses of water
1 cup vegetable stock
2-3 dried Arbol chili (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces of mushrooms, thin slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Chili garlic sauce
1) Bring the water and stock to a boil in a large pot. Lower the heat to medium and stir in rice. Let simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the rice thickens, about 30-40 minutes. If at some point the rice looks too thick, add more water.
2) When the rice is consistently porridge season well with salt and pepper. Keep the porridge warm over low heat until ready to serve.
3) Slice the mushrooms thinly. Add a drizzle of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms lose their liquid and soften, about five minutes. At the end of cooking, beat the mushrooms with a small drizzle of soy sauce.
4) A spoonful of konji for a bowl topped with mushrooms, soft-boiled egg, herbs, chili sauce and mushrooms.