This soothing bowl of vegan mango coconut congee is a breakfast worth waking up to any day of the week, but if offers an especially delicious start to the lazy weekend.
Saffron strands and cardamom weave a delicious interplay of fragrance and textures through this rice pudding cooked with a coconut mango sauce. But this is also a nourishing breakfast, what with the goodness of the coconut, mango and rice.
There are just six ingredients in this recipe, and it couldn't be easier to make. Try it, and your tummy and tastebuds will thank you.
What is congee?
A congee (also called jook) is a rice pudding eaten in China and other parts of Asia, including Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Burma, the Philippines and more. It goes by different names in the various countries, and at its very basic it is a simple dish of plain rice boiled in water until the rice grains are really soft. It is usually eaten for breakfast.
In India, a watery rice gruel called kanji, or pej as I knew it growing up, is often offered up as a meal for the ailing because it is soothing and easy to digest. I honestly didn't love pej because it was so bland, but a dash of lime pickle made it quite tasty.
My sweet breakfast congee is a world apart from these traditional versions of congee and kanji, although it's also rather simple and definitely soothing.
Why you'll love this vegan mango coconut congee
- It is vibrant and delicious. The mango adds so much amazing flavor to this rice pudding and makes it even healthier because mango is such a health star. Cardamom and saffron add so much flavor and amazing fragrance.
- It's comforting for any time of day. A warm bowl of congee is a great way to start your day. But I also can't think of a better meal to punctuate a dreary day, or end it. This congee makes a great dessert as well.
- It needs just six ingredients, and one pot.
- It is friendly to all diets. This congee is vegan, of course, and it is gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free (just leave out the pistachio garnish). It's oil-free with the only fats coming from the coconut milk, and you can make it with an artificial sweetener like stevia if you are watching your sugar intake.
- Long grain rice. Any kind is fine, like jasmine or basmati.
- Mango. Fresh fruit is great. Try and get the sweetest, most orange fruit you can find as that will determine how sweet--or tangy--your congee turns out. I couldn't find the sweet mangoes I like when I made this congee this time so I used a bag of frozen mango chunks I bought at Costco. I also sometimes use the pureed version you can buy at Indian grocery stores.
- Coconut milk. You will need a 14 oz can of full fat coconut milk. Using lighter milk will definitely make this less creamy, so refrain from the temptation.
- Sugar. This is a sweet congee, so you will need to sweeten it. But if you are watching your sugar calories you can use stevia or another sweetener of your choice. Using sweet mangoes will also reduce the amount of sugar you will need.
- Cardamom and/or saffron. Cardamom and mangoes are a match made in taste heaven, as I've often drummed about on this blog when I've shared my mango recipes including my vegan mango cupcakes, my vegan mango cake, vegan mango lassi and so many more mango-based recipes. Saffron, with its intoxicating aroma, adds a touch more flavor and color, but you can leave it out.
More yummy mango recipes
Vegan Mango Coconut Congee
- Pistachios (chopped)
- Mango cubes
- Puree the mangoes with half of the coconut milk. Add a tiny bit of water if necessary to keep the blades moving. Set aside.
- Place the rice in a pot with four cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until the rice is very, very soft.
- Add half the coconut milk and half the cardamom to the pot along with sugar and continue to cook another five minutes on low heat. The rice should be really, really soft and melting into the water by the end of this stage, or let it cook a bit longer. This is a soothing dish, so you don't want any chewiness here.
- Stir the mango-coconut cream it into the cooked rice along with the remaining cardamom and saffron, if using. Mix well but don't let it boil at this point. Turn off when warmed through.
- Add a simple garnish of pistachios and mango cubes before serving.
- If using stevia instead of sugar, use 1 to 2 tbsp. Add less, taste, and add more if you wish.
- You can serve this vegan mango coconut congee for breakfast or dessert. Eat warm for breakfast, or chill for dessert. You can also add a scoop of vanilla ice cream over the congee if serving it for dessert.
- When you cook the congee, make sure the rice gets extremely soft. It should merge with the water and coconut milk in a glutnious pool.