Congee is another in an ever-growing list of cheap, easy and flexible meals that can be made with whatever is handy in the refrigerator or pantry. The only ingredients required are rice and a liquid, which could just be water. But the possibilities for improvisation and variations are innumerable. It is known by many names around the world, from jook to kanji, but congee is the one I’ve seen most often.
It is often described as "gruel," which is a horrible word that could only inspire desire in starving orphans. And even worse, many recipes depict congee as overcooked, mushy, watery rice. But in fact, congee is similar to risotto in that they both are prepared by cooking rice for an especially long time while also (optionally) adding different flavors and textures to the mix.