Congee is a staple food in China (and in many other parts of the world). Congee varies considerable by region. In China it can be found under the names of; báizhōu, zhōu or jūk. It is only known as Congee in Hong Kong English. This rice porridge is a great dish to adjust to your own likings.
Many Chinese children and adults eat this rice porridge at the start of the day. When eaten for breakfast it is often enjoyed with fried dough sticks (Youtiao), which you can dip into the porridge. But Congee is so versatile, you can also eat it for lunch or dinner. Tough in the latter case people like to add more savoury or sweet ingredients on top. Common ingredients include dried meats/fish, eggs and pickled tofu.
The Congee I made in this recipe is a very strong umami porridge. I have dehydrated dried mushrooms and added the liquid to the boiling liquid. I topped also a pan fried mushroom.
Different aspects to consider making Congee
Ratio rice : water
The ratio between rice and water is actually very personal. Some like their porridge thick, while other prefer it thin. I normally tend to go for a 1:8 ratio. The porridge will thicken when cooled down. You can always add water if you think it is becoming to thick.
Water is often used in a basic Congee, but you can use vegetable stock, or a combination of water and stock instead. This will deepen the flavour of the porridge.
It is important that the rice is starchy and breaks down easily. A good rice for this dish is jasmine rice. It is a long, starchy rice which breaks down easily. It is possible to use brown rice, but it increases the cooking time considerably.
Both sweet or savoury flavours are used as toppings. Personally, I like to use strong umami flavours, like mushrooms. And I always add lots of ginger to it 😉 Soy sauce, chilli sauce or a drizzle of sesame oil can be added at the end after cooking.
Miammm this creamy Congee recipe is part of my new (and still under construction) series; ‘Travels of taste‘. Where we meet other cultures through food. So today we find ourselves in China. If you are ready to imagine yourself travelling through China whilst discovering all its flavours. Check out my full China ‘travels of taste’ post; >>> China, It’s all about FOOD!
A great, fulfilling meal or breakfast. You can be as creative as you like while making your congee. Add your favourite flavours, and top with some herbs, or sauces. One of the most versatile dishes I know. Enjoy! Add @haricoco1 to your instagram post, so we can share our favourite rice porridge ideas.