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.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
🥘 Main ingredients
The Main ingredients for a basic congee are ; Jasmine rice , water or stock and seasoning. And from there on you can basically add any type of toppings.
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 well filled with a very strong umami taste . I have dehydrated dried mushrooms and added the liquid to the boiling liquid and I topped it with pan fried mushrooms.
🥗 Preperation suggestions
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.
For basic congee;
- 200 g 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1900 ml 8 cups water, or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
Recipe used in picture (full meal congee), add;
- 1 large mushroom brushed and sliced
- 2 spring onion chopped
- ½ green Anaheim pepper thinly sliced
- handful of coriander
- 5 dehydrated mushrooms only the liquid is used.
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
To make a basic congee (breakfast);
- Rinse the rice briefly. Don't over rinse as the starch is needed to make the congee smooth and silky.
- Bring water or stock to the boil (you can add flavours to infuse)
- Add the rice and bring back to a steady simmer.
- Cover the rice, but leave a tiny opening between the lid and the pot for the steam to release.
- Stir every now and then, to make sure the rice doesn't stick at the bottom.
- Leave to simmer for 1 hour to 1.15 hours.
- You can adjust the texture by adding a little more water.
- When the congee cools it will thicken.
For a full, well filled congee (meal);
- Rinse the rice briefly.
- Heat a little oil in your pan, and add your flavours like garlic and ginger (chilli if desired)
- Add the rice to this mixture and stir it around a bit for 30 seconds.
- Carefully add your stock (or water). In my case I used a stock and the liquid of the dehydrated mushrooms.
- Bring to a simmer, and leave to simmer for 1 hour to 1.15hours (covered with a small opening)
- Stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile prepare your other ingredients.
- Heat a pan or wok, add a little splash of oil, the mushroom slices and a good pinch of salt
- Fry the mushrooms until nicely browned, and no liquid is left.
- Chop your spring onions, green Anaheim pepper, and coriander leaves.
- When your congee has reached your preferred texture, serve in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (pan fried mushroom, spring onion, pepper, and herbs)
- Serve and enjoy straight away.