Congee is a porridge made from white rice. The rice is simply cooked in water for a long time until it becomes soft and slightly thick. It can be eaten plain or dressed up with flavorful toppings. It’s very common to eat congee as a breakfast dish.
China is a large country, so naturally there is no one way to prepare and eat congee, there are instead many variations throughout the different regions. This dish is also popular in other Asian countries like Vietnam and the Philippines. Filipino congee called arroz caldo and Vietnamese congee or chao ga are both made with chicken.
One of the many ways to prepare congee is by cooking the rice in meat stock, making it savory. Toppings or sides eaten with Chinese congee are often eggs, tofu, bamboo, scallions, ginger and soy sauce.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The origins of congee can be traced back in literature to the Zhou Dynasty around 1000BC. The name congee however comes from the Indian Tamil word kanji which refers to the mixture of soft rice and water. Also known as jook, congee wasn’t always made from rice. Traditionally, it was made from whatever grain was available at the time such as cornmeal and barley.
Today congee is considered a traditional well loved, healthy comfort food. A complete turnaround from when it was only prepared by the poor as a way to stretch out rice when they could not afford to buy enough rice grain. In Chinese superstition, it is bad luck to eat congee on the first day of the Lunar New Year because it’s believed that due to congee’s past, it can lead to poverty in the new year.
- White rice – 1 cup
- Water or stock – 10 cups
- Chopped scallions for serving
- Century egg or hard-boiled egg , chopped - 1
- Pork slices - 1/2 cup
- Cooking wine – ½ tbsp
- Cornstarch – 1 tsp
- Medium ginger ,shredded – 1
- Salt – 1 tsp
- White pepper – ½ tsp
- Wash the rice then soak in water for 30 minutes. Mix with ½ tablespoon of vegetable cooking oil. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Bring the water to a boil in a pot and then add the soaked rice. Heat until boiling again then lower the heat and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
- If you prefer the rice to be of a finer texture, stir the porridge during cooking for at least 5 minutes. Serve
- Marinate the pork slices with a small pinch of salt, pepper and cooking wine. Set aside.
- Sprinkle salt, white pepper and shredded ginger shreds.
- Add the eggs and continue cooking for 5 minutes over low heat.
- Mix the cornstarch with the pork slices.
- Increase the heat to bring the congee back to a boil then add the marinated pork slices.
- Turn off the heat and stir the congee slightly, allowing the the pork to be cooked by the remaining heat of the congee so the pork doesn’t become tough.
- Serve with chopped scallions and any toppings you prefer.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 444mgSodium: 1698mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 24g