2 cups filtered water or vegetable stock, plus 4 to 5 extra cups
1 cup diced shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp umeboshi vinegar, to serve (optional)
½ tsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1Wash and drain the rice a couple of times, then cover with clean water and leave overnight to soak.
2The next morning, drain the rice and place in a heavybased saucepan (a pressure cooker will cut down on cooking time) with the water or stock, mushrooms and ginger. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The rice will break down and eventually become like a thick soup. You will probably need to add extra water or stock throughout the cooking process.
3For the gomashio, place the salt in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir for a minute, or until the smell changes (this is the chlorine burning off). Place the sesame seeds and salt in a mortar and pestle and gently grind, keeping about 70 per cent of the seeds whole.
4Serve the congee with the gomashio and vinegar, if using.