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The Crack Magazine

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Genmai Part 1

Genmai (as it's called in the temple) or 'congee' (as my cousin who lives in Hong Kong calls it) is a common breakfast throughout Asia.

In Zen stories it's sometimes translated as 'rice porridge' or 'rice gruel', which are good descriptions because genmai is cooked for so long that the rice grains disintegrate completely and the result is a smooth gruel.


white rice (even though 'genmai' means brown rice), 200g

1 carrot

1 parsnip

1 small leek

water, 2l

The method I learnt is to steep the rice, bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of hours, then add the vegetables (diced) and simmer for another 20 minutes. You can achieve a very similar result by blending the rice after steeping it and then simmer all the ingredients for just 20 minutes (which will save energy and a lot of stirring). The quantities above will make around five portions, which I would put in the fridge and microwave one bowl at a time. Genmai is eaten with soy sauce or tamari, pickles and gomasio (roasted sesame seeds) which I will describe next time.

vegan, gluten-free, low GI