Comfort food can be different for everyone in the world, but in Asian cuisine, especially in Chinese cooking, there’s one dish that’s the ultimate comfort food. Congee, pronounced as jook in Cantonese, is a classic Chinese rice porridge.
Congee is rice that is cooked with a lot of water over low heat. It may seem like risotto, but it certainly isn’t. Congee is more akin to a thick rice soup. Often, congee has other ingredients in it to add flavor, such as seafood, pork bones, vegetables, and the like.
Congee is typically a breakfast dish in China and many parts of Asia, but it’s actually a dish that’s perfect for any time of the day. It’s also the go-to meal for people who feel under the weather. Because of its additional ingredients such as ginger, egg, mushrooms, and such, Congee is hearty, nutritious, and satisfying.
There are many variations of congee in Chinese cuisine as the Chinese have mastered the art of cooking congee. Today, we’ll be teaching you a simple and easy to make congee recipe that you can enjoy in your home anytime.
Jasmine rice is typically used to make Congee, but any long-grain white rice like Basmati rice will do. Aside from that, this Chinese rice porridge is also a great dish to use any leftover rice. Whether you’re using leftover rice or long-grain white rice, our congee recipe will be very easy to follow!
We’ve established that a congee recipe requires rice to be cooked in a lot of water, but you might be wondering, how much water is exactly needed to make the perfect congee rice porridge? If you use too much water, you may end up with a consistency that is more soup than rice and if you end up using less water, the congee could turn dry or too thick.
To make congee perfectly, an ideal rice-to-water ratio is 1 to 9. This means 1 cup of rice grains to 9 cups of water. In fact, water isn’t the only liquid that you can use. If you prefer, you can use broth or stock — chicken broth, chicken stock, vegetable stock, and the like. You can also use a mixture of water and broth/stock.
The consistency of the congee shouldn’t be too watery nor too thick. While we suggest the 1 to 9 ratio for your recipe, of course, you are free to modify this as you go along. The rice absorbs water even after cooking, so don’t fret if you think you added a lot of water. You can also boil down the Chinese rice porridge with the pot uncovered. You may also let the congee sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Making rice porridge with old frozen rice is quite easy! If you don’t have enough time to make congee rice from scratch, using frozen rice is also a great way to make a quick 20-minute congee.
Simply follow this recipe:
Congee with cooked brown rice is also possible, but you will need more water and more time to simmer it.
Cooking congee with fresh, uncooked rice is easy and can turn into a full meal for the whole family. To make a flavorful Chinese rice porridge, here are some ingredients that you need. No worries, you can find these ingredients at your nearest grocery or Asian store, or you might even already have them in your panty.
In this recipe, we’re using lean pork. However, you can use chicken breast, chicken thigh, or any meat that you would like.
For the meat:
For the Congee:
Congee can be cooked in a rice cooker, pressure cooker, an Instant Pot, and on the stove top. For this recipe, we’ll be doing congee the stove top way. But of course, if you’d like to preserve time and effort, the rice cooker and the Instant Pot are great too.
Step 1. Wash the rice and then soak it in clean water for 30 minutes. In this recipe, we used Jasmine rice, but you are free to choose which rice grain you prefer. Drain the water.
Step 2. Marinate your pork or meat in soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, salt, pepper, and sesame oil. Set aside.
Step 3. In a pot, heat the sesame oil in medium-high heat. Add ginger and grated garlic, cooking for 30 seconds. Add in your washed 1 cup of rice and mushrooms and saute for another minute.
Step 4. Remember the 1:9 ratio, where 1 is the rice and 9 is the liquid. Pour in 3 cups of water and 6 cups of vegetable stock. You can also use chicken stock, or any broth that you prefer. Sprinkle in salt and stir. Bring the liquid to a boil, uncovered. Next, lower the heat and cover the pot. Let the congee simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally.
Step 5. Halfway through your cooking time, add in the pork or meat of your choice and the small pieces of century egg. Add in pepper and a little more salt to taste. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes and check the consistency of your congee. If it’s too thick, add a little more liquid.
Step 6. Once the congee is done, transfer it from the pot and into a bowl. Top it with the sliced century egg, yu tiao, a dash of sesame oil, scallions, fine ginger, and spring onion. Serve.
You can modify the toppings of this congee recipe as you wish. If you’re not fond of century eggs, you can replace them with regular white eggs. You can also add slices of Chinese sausage. If you have leftovers, you can re-heat the congee using a pot on the stove top and add more liquid. If you want more flavor, you can add a dash of salt or any other seasoning on hand.
Congee recipes can be easily modified just by changing up the meat or the stock. You can use the recipe above as a base and switch the ingredients of your choice. You can use seafood, chicken, beef, or even make it totally vegetarian by using tofu as your protein.
You can now be a total chef in the kitchen with this congee recipe! Now that you have this onhand, you can make congee in any season, any time of the day. Have fun! Looking for more recipes to try out? Why not make some kimchi fried rice or bean and rice burrito. We also have recipes for dishes such as jambalaya, spinach risotto, and even a guide on various rice cooker recipes.
Porridge is a food that is commonly eaten as breakfast and is made by boiling ground, crushed, or chopped grains in water or milk. Porridge recipes are often served with sugar, honey, fruit, or syrup. It can also be mixed with spices or vegetables to make it savory.
On the other hand, congee is a type of rice porridge that can be eaten plain with side dishes. There are various recipes that make use of additional ingredients or toppings for congee, such as meat, seafood, ginger, scallions, and such. It is often served as a meal on its own.