Congee, one type of rice porridge is one of the most popular staple food in lots of Asian countries, sometimes also served as breakfast or even staple food for meals. We will introduce the basic tips about how to make perfect, smooth plain white congee at home. Then you can further add other ingredients or toppings to twist it into something delicious and interesting.
- What's congee- Rice porridge
- Which type of rice to use
- Tools can be used to make rice porridge
- How to prepare the rice for congee
- Water and rice ratio
- How long is needed for a creamy congee
- What to serve with congee
- Optional for century egg and pork congee
- How to Make Congee (Rice Porridge)
What's congee- Rice porridge
Congee (Jook) is a type of rice porridge that is commonly eaten in many Asian countries. In China, we have lots of different types of congee. But they are all base on a single plain white rice congee. It is made by boiling rice in a large amount of water or broth until it breaks down into a smooth, creamy consistency. Congee can be served plain or with a variety of flavorings and toppings, such as meats, vegetables, herbs, and preserved or pickles.
In Chinese rice porridge or congee is called "粥", sometimes the pronunciation is similar to joo or Jook in Cantonese. So it is also known as Jook.
example, in western parts, the most popular rice grain usually still has some hardness and is separated from the thin gruel. We usually cook a large pot and serve the whole family with other cold dishes or stir-fries. However, congee in Cantonese cuisine has a different definition. Cantonese congee is boiled with a relatively larger amount of water for a longer time until the rice grain and the water is well combined. Not pure water is adopted, people also use stock to cook congee. Sometimes, meat, seafood, and vegetables are added and the congee can be served individually.
Other porridge mixture
Congee can directly be served as a meal with other stir-fried dishes on summer days. We usually eat congee across the summer. But sometimes we add other grains and beans, like millet, mung beans, and red beans.
Which type of rice to use
Both long-grain and short-grain rice can be used to make congee. But short-grain rice is stickier and can create a thicker texture. I use short-grain pearl rice for most of my congee dishes.
Tools can be used to make rice porridge
- A pot or a clay pot on the stove: this is the most common way.
- Instant pot: you can use the instant pot to make congee, then take it out continue heating without the lid, and stir in one direction.
- Rice cooker: rice cooker can also be used to make congee. But you still need extra stirring to get a creamy texture.
How to prepare the rice for congee
Freeze the rice
Freezing the rice grain before cooking can fasten the cooking process and make the congee much softer with broken grains. If you know your plan for congee in a near future, you can place some rice in an air-tight bag and freeze it overnight.
Soaking the rice
Another helpful tip is to soak the grains before cooking, which also can speed up the process. The two methods work fine independently. Or you can freeze the rice after soaking it in the previous and make the process even quicker.
Mixing with oil
Mixing some oil can help to separate the grains and prevent them from sticky to the bottom.
Water and rice ratio
The amount of water needed to cook congee can vary depending on the desired consistency and the amount of rice, and the tool used. As a general rule, you should use a rice-to-water ratio of about 1:8 to 1:12.
For example, if you are using 1 cup of rice, you would add 8 to 12 cups of water. This will result in a fairly thick and creamy congee. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add more water.
If you use an instant pot or rice cooker, you can add less water than a regular pot on a stove.
How long is needed for a creamy congee
The time of cooking congee is depending on your desired texture, usually, 40 minutes of simmering (nearly around 1 hour ) cooking can make a creamy congee. But if you want it to be thicker and finer, you can cook the congee for around 90 minutes with more water added of course.
- 1 cup rice
- 10-12 cups water or stock
Wash the rice in advance and then soak it with clean water for 30 minutes. Mix with ½ tablespoon of vegetable cooking oil or sesame oil. Set aside for 15 minutes. You can freeze the rice the previous day after soaking it.
Bring the water to a boil in a pot and then add the soaked rice. Heat until boiling again and slow down the fire and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
If you want the rice to be well broken, stir the porridge during cooking in one direction in the last 5 minutes.
The congee can be served directly as plain white congee, or you can serve it with other side dishes and toppings.
What to serve with congee
Congee is a versatile dish that can be served with a variety of side dishes. Here are some popular options:
- Eggs: hard-boiled eggs, salted eggs, or even soy sauce eggs.
- Pickled vegetables: Pickled vegetables, such as pickled mustard greens, pickled cucumbers, or kimchi, provide a tangy and refreshing contrast to the creamy congee.
- Chinese doughnuts (youtiao): Chinese doughnuts, also known as youtiao or fried breadsticks, are a crispy and savory side dish that can be dipped into the congee.
- Soy sauce or fish sauce: A drizzle of soy sauce or fish sauce can add a savory and umami flavor to the congee, enhancing its overall taste.
- Preserved vegetables- Ya Cai, Zha cai
- Fried peanuts: fried peanuts can add a crispy texture to congee.
- Shredded lettuce: shredded lettuce can add a slight freshness to the congee.
Optional for century egg and pork congee
- make a basic congee with the previous steps
- Sprinkle salt, white pepper, and shredded ginger shreds.
- Add century eggs and continue cooking for 5 minutes over a slow fire.
- Turn up the fire and make the congee strongly boiling and then place the marinated pork slices. Turn off the fire and stir the congee slightly. Let the pork be cooked with the remaining heat of the congee. Then we get the tenderest meat.
- Serve with chopped Zha-cai and chopped scallions. You can also use fried shallot, toasted peanuts, and kimchi as toppings.
How to Make Congee (Rice Porridge)
- 1 cup rice
- 10-12 cups water ,or stock
- chopped scallion for serving
- Ya cai for serving
- shredded luttuce
- salted egg
- sesame oil for mixing
For savory congee
- 1 century egg ,chopped
- ½ cup pork slices ,marinate with a small pinch of salt and pepper
- ½ tbsp. cooking wine
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 thumb ginger ,shredded
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. white pepper
- Wash the rice in advance and then soak with clean water for 30 minutes. Mix with ½ tablespoon of vegetable cooking oil or sesame oil. Set aside for 15 minutes. You can freeze the rice in the previous day.
- Bring the water to a boiling in a pot and then add the soaked rice. Heat until boiling again and slow down the fire and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
- If you want the rice to be well broken, stir the porridge during cooking in one direction in the last 5 minutes. You can serve the plain white congee with side ingredients.
For savory pork and century egg congee
- Marinate pork slice with a small pinch of salt, pepper and cooking wine. Set aside.
- Sprinkle salt, white pepper and shredded ginger shreds.
- Add century eggs and continue cooking for 5 minutes over slow fire.
- Mix cornstarch with the pork slice. Turn up the fire and make the congee strongly boiling and then place the marinated pork slices. Turn off fire and stir the congee slightly. Let the pork to be cooked with the remaining heat of the congee. Then we get the tenderest meat.
- Serve with chopped zha cai and and chopped scallions.