A recipe for a simple, comforting and creamy congee, that is easy to make, and super comforting for days when you’re feeling ill and need something nourishing to eat or when you’re just craving it!
What is congee? It’s essentially an Asian porridge made with rice, I like to think of it as a thick rice soup. It’s comforting, warm and well known as an Asian comfort food, which is why many of us turn to this awesome dish whenever we are not feeling well. At its core, congee is just rice and water (or stock) boiled down to a thick and creamy consistency and served with many different types of foods and toppings.
One of the many reasons why Asians usually have this when we are sick is because it’s simple, easy to digest, has a lot of water in it (to hydrate) and has a bit of protein if you are cooking it with some ground meats which is why it makes it an ideal dish to eat whenever anyone is sick. Especially when you don’t have the appetite or energy to eat a full meal or when you can’t hold your foods down.
Although congee is something that is commonly eaten when we are sick, it is also eaten as a meal for breakfast or lunch as well which makes this a highly versatile dish! As a meal, it can be commonly cooked with any types of meats and seafood and loaded with different kinds of flavorful toppings!
For this congee recipe, you should be able to find all the ingredients at your local grocery store.
Different Types of Rice & Cooking Times
Congee can be cooked with many different kinds of rice but my favorite way to make it is by using a 50/50 mix of Japanese medium grain (Calrose) and basmati rice. I prefer this mix because I find it gives me a good balance of creamy mixed with a bit of heartiness. Everyone will have a different preference, so experiment until you find your perfect blend.
Japanese Medium Grain Rice (Calrose)
Using a Japanese medium grain rice, also known as calrose, gives the congee a really thick and creamy consistency from it’s high starch. When you are using this type of rice to make congee, it will take less time to thicken and you will need to stir it constantly because of how thick it will be, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Personally I find this too creamy, almost too glue-y for me which is why I like to mix in a slightly less starch rice into my congee mix, basmati rice.
Basmati is a less starchy rice, and will take a bit longer to cook to break down the rice grains. It has an heartier and thick soupy consistency because the starch grains don’t break down into a creamy and glue-y consistency as much as Japanese medium grain rice.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
When it comes to congee, you can use any kind of meat or seafood as your protein. The easiest and most convenient type of meat to use is ground meat (ground chicken, beef or pork). Ground meat also tends to cook faster as well.
You can slice your meats as well, but make sure you slice them very thinly so they can cook quickly in the hot congee.
Regardless of what meats you use, you will want to marinate it for additional flavor. I like to marinate my meats with soy sauce and a bit of water. The brine keeps the meat from drying out since the salt draws the water into the meat.
Jazzing Up Congee with Toppings
If you are having congee because you are sick, I would keep the toppings simple with just green onions. Mostly because a lot of these toppings may irritate your throat.
If you are having congee as a craving or a meal, then I highly suggest you go crazy on the toppings and experiment with it until you find a combination you like! It’s fun, tasty and it can give congee a bit more variety!
Here are a few ideas that I like to use to jazz up my congee!
1.) Raw Egg, 2.) Green Onions, 3.) Pork Floss, 4.) Chinese Chili Oil, 5.) Crispy Deep Fried Garlic, 6.) Store bought Furikake or Homemade Furikake. I also like adding Crispy Fried Onions/Shallots, Cooked Salted Duck Egg as well, which are not shown in the photo.
Can I Refrigerate and Reheat Congee?
Yup! Keep in mind that congee usually tastes best fresh because of its creamy consistency, but if you are sick and you need to make a big batch so you don’t need to keep cooking it, then you definitely can store this in the fridge but I find that once you reheat it the next day, the congee will not be as thick and creamy like it was when it was fresh.
A recipe for a simple, comforting and creamy congee, that is easy to make, and super comforting for days when you’re feeing ill and need something nourishing to eat or when you’re just craving it!
- 1/2 cup rice (Basmati Rice, Japanese Medium Grain Rice (Calrose) or a 50/50 mix)
- 7 cups water
- 2 slices ginger (optional, but highly recommended)
- salt to taste
- 1 chicken breast (or 1/4 lb of ground chicken)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
Marinading the Chicken
- Thinly slice the chicken so it cooks quickly (1/4 inch or less) and place it in a bowl. If you are using ground chicken or pork then place that in a bowl.
- Add the soy sauce and water to the meat and mix well.
- Keep in the fridge to marinade until the congee is done cooking.
Cooking the Congee
- Add the water and rice to a pot and set it to high heat. Wait for the water to come to a boil.
- Once the water has come to a boil, turn down the heat to medium low heat and let it simmer with no lid on. Using a lid will cause the starchy congee to over flow out the pot.
- If you are using Japanese calrose rice, it takes about 40-45 minutes to cook. This will produce a thicker and creamier congee so you will have to stir it every 10-15 minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
- If you are using basmati rice, it will take between 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to cook. This is a less starchy rice, so you only need to stir it every 30 minutes.
- If you are using a mix of rices, it will take about 1 hour to cook and will require stirring every 15-20 minutes.
- Once the congee is done, turn off the heat and put a lid on it and let it ‘steam’ for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, mix the congee with a spoon and adjust the congee to the texture you like. If you like it thinner, add water or chicken stock to it 2 tablespoons at a time until you get the right consistency. If you like it thick and creamy, leave it as is.
- Turn the heat back to mdium heat and keep stirring until the congee is hot and starts to bubble.
- Once the congee starts to bubble, add in the chicken slices or ground meat and stir well so that the hot congee coats the meat.
- Cook the meat for about 6-7 minutes until you see no more pink
- Serve with plain (as-is) or with toppings! Enjoy!
- If you are using Japanese Calrose Rice for this recipe, the congee will turn out very creamy and thick. If you like your congee slightly runnier, add water or chicken stock 2 tablespoons at a time until it is the right consistency for you at the end before you cook the chicken.
- Congee can be stored in the fridge and reheated, however, I find congee that has been refrigerated will become less thick and creamy compared to when you have it freshly made.
- If you don’t have the time to watch over the pot and boil it down to its creaminess, boil it until the rice is soft and mix in a potato starch slurry (1 tablespoon potato starch, 1 1/2 tablespoon cold water) and stir it evenly into the congee while it is boiling. This will thicken it up into a creamy consistency. I highly suggest that you don’t substitute the potato starch with corn starch since corn starch will not stay creamy when it is stirred a lot or refrigerated.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl (2 cups)
- Calories: 151 cal
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 30 mg
- Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 34 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Keywords: congee, congee recipe, creamy congee
Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. While I appreciate the support – please try to buy your items locally if possible to support your local shops (chances are they are cheaper locally as well!) 🙂