Canada’s food guide

Multigrain congee with shiitake, ginger and scallion

Congee is a staple food in many countries around the world and can be prepared in different ways. It is eaten at any time of the day, but perhaps most popularly served at breakfast.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (and 12 hours soaking)
Cook Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 4


6 dried shiitake mushrooms
60 mL (¼ cup) uncooked wheat berries, rinsed in cold water
85 mL (⅓ cup) uncooked Calrose, jasmine or other medium grain white rice, rinsed in cold water
30 mL (2 tbsp) uncooked black rice or other whole grain rice, rinsed in cold water
60 mL (¼ cup) uncooked millet or sorghum
1 ¾ L (7 cups) cold water
6 pieces scallion, roots removed and thinly sliced
30 mL (2 tbsp) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
5 mL (1 tsp) sesame oil, toasted
15 mL (1 tbsp) lower sodium soy sauce
Salt and white pepper to taste

  1. Soak shiitake mushrooms in 250 mL (1 cup) cold water for 12 hours in the refrigerator. Remove tough stems.
  2. Cut pre-soaked shiitake mushrooms into ½ cm (½ inch) slices. Reserve soaking liquid.
  3. In a large pot, mix the shiitakes, soaking liquid, wheat berries, white rice, black rice, millet, and cold water on medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Cover the congee and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent the grains from sticking to the bottom of the pot as they become softer. The congee is ready to eat when the grains have broken down and the mixture is creamy.
  5. Serve the hot congee in bowls. Garnish each bowl with scallions, ginger, toasted sesame oil, and lower sodium soy sauce. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.


  • Regrow scallions by planting the cut roots in your garden. You can also place them in a glass of water on your windowsill.
  • Change it up! Use whole grain barley instead of wheat berries.  
  • Add extra flavour by braising bone-in chicken drumsticks or thighs in the congee while it is cooking. Dark meat chicken stands up well to longer cooking methods and will be tender and juicy.
  • This recipe can be prepared in a rice cooker or slow cooker without needing to stir every 15 minutes.
  • Try using less of the ingredients that contain a lot of sodium, sugars or saturated fat. Adding salt or sugars directly to your recipe? Remember, a little often goes a long way.