The earliest reference of Congee, a boiled porridge, can be traced all the way back to the Zhou dynasty, around 1000 BC. The name likely originated from the Tamil word “kanji, or “boiling,” and has been made in so many different ways across various Asian countries – and the Asian diaspora – for thousands of years and counting.
In China, this dish is known as Jook, in Korea as Juk. Japanese rice porridge is called Okayu, while the Filipino specialty is called Arroz Caldo. Congees typically contain rice, (but can use other grains as well), boiled until thickened. Then the rest is up to you – it can be dressed savory or sweet, and eaten for any meal of the day.
Kabocha squash was first taken from Cambodia and circulated by Portuguese sailors in the 1500s. The word kabocha is thought to have originated from a mixture of the word “Cambodia” and the Portuguese word for pumpkin, “abóbora”. Camboja abóbora was combined by the Japanese into “kabocha,” and now translates to “winter squash” or “pumpkin.”
Kabocha squash is an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body; its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects help to protect cells from damage.
Rene, our Director of Food Innovation, worked with a restaurant chef to create our Kabocha Congee Soup. “Congee is a very traditional, very beautiful, Chinese breakfast dish, that is wonderfully delicious sustenance,” says Rene.
“We really wanted to bring a unique ingredient into our Congee. We love thinking of ways of making things that people know a little bit more unique,” says Rene. “So, instead of just adding butternut squash, we thought, let’s use this really sweet, really unique, really beautiful Kabocha squash.”