Have you ever had congee before?
This savory rice porridge can be served at any time of day. It’s considered the ultimate comfort food by a countless number of people, enjoyed in different preparations across Asia, in China, Japan, Korea, and beyond.
I hadn’t heard of congee myself until relatively recently, when I was watching a travel documentary that featured this dish for breakfast in several different locations in China. I was instantly enthralled.
I am not one of those folks who loves eating the classic sweet breakfast items on a regular basis, so the idea of a totally savory dish with Asian flavors to enjoy in the morning is something I could certainly become passionate about.
This filling meal can actually be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with many different flavor combinations and preparation styles available. The rice porridge starts as a completely blank slate, so it’s a meal that’s just begging for a little experimentation in the flavor department.
Preparing this recipe is super easy. All you have to do is boil rice with a lot of stock, either chicken or vegetable. Seriously, that’s the only thing you need to worry about.
Pretty dang simple, am I right? It might take a while to cook, about 1 1/2 hours, but the time required is worth it – and with very little babysitting involved, the effort required is minimal.
In fact, some rice cookers even have a congee or porridge setting, so you can set it and forget it, zero hovering over the stove required.
Once the dish is cooked, it’s all about the toppings. Here are a few ideas that I have grown to love, three of which are pictured here:
Kimchi and Scallion
Stir in your favorite type of kimchi for a spicy, pickled addition to your porridge. I love sprinkling some sliced green onions on top for garnish.
In addition to making kimchi fried rice and Korean barbecue burgers or tacos, this is yet another reason to stock up on kimchi – or make your own at home! It’s one of my favorite fermented condiments.
Sriracha and pulled pork or sliced pork belly make a killer combination on top of this recipe. Sometimes I like to add a soft boiled egg to the party as well.
Fried Shallot and Beef
Ground beef, fried shallots, and a drizzle of sriracha are the bomb dot com in a bowl of rice porridge.
I love the crispy punch the fried shallots provide, and I like to sprinkle mine with toasted sesame seeds too, just before serving.
Chicken and Greens
Simply wilt some greens in a pan on the stove, then mix them into the finished dish with some cooked shredded chicken.
This combination is delicious with sliced green onion and some soy sauce on top.
Grab your favorite pickled vegetables and wilted greens to make this meal extra tasty, without any meat. You can also add a drizzle of sesame oil for more depth of flavor.
This silky, savory rice porridge is truly one of those dishes that I know you will be eager to prepare again and again. Once you try it, you will be hooked immediately.
I highly recommend using chicken or vegetable stock to cook the rice for an added layer of flavor, but you can definitely use water in a pinch. Just be sure to go a little heavier on the toppings if you take this route, to amp up the overall flavor.
Here are some more top picks in terms of toppings, for a little added inspiration. Feel free to get as creative as you like!
- Cooked chicken, pork, or beef
- Dried shrimp
- Fresh ginger
- Fried scallions, onions, or garlic
- Goji berries
- Pickled vegetables
- Sesame oil
- Sliced green onions
- Soft boiled egg
- Soy sauce
- Wilted greens
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to stray from this list. There are so many delicious ways to make this recipe yours, and I think the serving options are practically endless.
The only question now is, how will you enjoy your own homemade congee?Print
This basic savory congee recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to make the classic Chinese rice porridge at home. You’ll love the rich texture.
- 1 cup medium or long grain white rice, any type
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Your choice of toppings and garnishes
- In a large strainer with small holes, rinse rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Add rice and stock to a saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Partially cover and continue to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- If you are using cooked chicken, pork, or beef, stir it into the congee. Serve with your favorite toppings.
- Category: Rice
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Chinese
Keywords: rice, congee, Chinese, porrige
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Measure Ingredients
Measure out all of the ingredients as listed on the ingredients list. You can use any type of medium or long-grain white rice, but I prefer to use jasmine rice for mine.
Rinse the rice in a colander or fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear, then drain.
Step 2 – Cook Rice
Combine the rice and stock in a saucepan over high heat. If using unsalted stock or water, add a little salt. You might also like to add a piece of peeled fresh ginger, for extra flavor.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Partially cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Step 3 – Top As You Like
If you are using cooked chicken, pork, or beef, stir these into the porridge until they are heated through. You can also stir in wilted greens or kimchi at this time.
Serve with your favorite toppings.
Can I Store and Reheat Congee?
Any leftovers you may have can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat, warm it up in the microwave, or on the stovetop in a saucepan over medium heat. It will thicken as it cools, so you may want to adjust the consistency by stirring in some warm stock to loosen it up.
Looking for even more ways to feature rice in your cooking? Try these recipes next:
- Head to Spain with Homemade Paella de Marisco
- The Best Rice and Beans: My Mom’s Favorite Recipe
- Taste the Tang of Greek Lemon Soup (Avgolemono)
Will you make congee for breakfast, lunch, or dinner? How about all three? Share your favorite topping suggestions in the comments below, and be sure to come back and give this recipe a rating after you’ve tried it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.