Basic Rice Congee

Basic Rice Congee©BondingTool
I have been bitten by the mosquitoes so much so that finally I am down with fever, suspected of dengue. My head hurts and every inch of my body ached like crazy. I slept for almost 24 hours and did not feel like getting up at all but I had to due to bed sore.

IMG_3216©BondingToolAfter a day’s fast, my gastric was working up even though I had no appetite. In the end, I decided to make congee. Congee is an easily digestible food which the Chinese believe can make recovery from illnesses faster. Congee is excellent as it tonifies the blood , is cooling (yin – we add a slice or two of ginger to counter yin and make it neutral and opposed to yang) and nourishing. Excellent for the chronically ill persons, convalescents and young children, it is easily digested. So if you struggle with indigestion, food poisoning, influenza, gastroenteritis or other illnesses that have affected your appetite or diet, you may benefit from eating such food. Even on a daily basis, congee is part and parcel of our diet like breakfast, brunch or afternoon and even midnight snack.

IMG_3225©BondingToolHere is a basic congee recipe that you can build on and add meat, fish, vegetables, etc… Add the secondary ingredients after congee is done, continue simmering on high heat till the secondary ingredients are cooked and serve immediately with garnishing.

IMG_3226©BondingToolMy rice porridge is plain here as it is in the middle of the night and I am too lazy and impatient to thaw the secondary ingredients.


Rice Congee
Recipe (serves 6)
1 cup Long Grain Rice.
10 cups Water (or chicken broth: can use fresh, canned, cube or granules).
½ teaspoon Salt.
2 – 3 teaspoons Oil.
2 tablespoons Rice Flour with 5 tablespoons water, optional.

Salt and White Pepper Powder, to taste.
A few drops of Sesame Oil (sesame oil is considered “heaty” so if one has fever, we omit this – can replace with the oil from frying the shallots instead).

Garnishing (all these toppings are optional):
Scallions, finely minced.
Cilantro Leaves, chopped.
Red-cut Chillies.
Crispy Fried Shallots.
Ginger, cut into very very fine strips.
Preserved Tang Chye (Winter Vegetable), chopped).
Chinese Cruellers.
Slivers of Fried Taukwa.
Canned Braised Peanuts.
Some Goji Berries (add during last couple of minutes).
Century Egg, diced into chunks.
Boiled Salted Egg, diced into chunks.
Raw Egg (put into serving bowl and pour the boiling hot congee over).

If using dried shitake mushrooms and dried oysters (reconstitute them in hot water for 30 minutes and retain the strained liquid for use in congee), cook them in the beginning with the congee.

1. Wash rice well and drain dry.

2. Put washed rice in a bowl, add salt and oil to it. Stir well and leave it to marinate for 30 – 60 minutes.

3. Using a Chinese porcelain spoon, crush rice with the back of spoon till they are broken up. I cheated by putting them in an electric blender on pulsing mode till the rice are broken up.

4. Bring the water or broth to the boil in a claypot or tall stockpot. Put in broken rice and bring to the boil stirring all the while.

5. Once it comes to a fast boil, reduce heat to simmering level, *cover and simmer over low heat for 1-1½ hours. Remember to stir occasionally and scrape bottom of pot when doing so. (*Do not cover completely, tilt the lid slightly to let some steam escape or if your lid has a hole then it is alright to cover completely).

6. After 45 minutes, if the congee looks very thin and you prefer a thicker version, add in the rice flour solution. Continue to simmer till done. Stirring occasionally.

7. Once the congee looks like what is in my pictures, season to taste and serve hot with garnishing or if using secondary ingredients, add them now and season to taste, garnish and serve immediately.


Secondary Ingredients (choose one or a mixture for variation):
Pork Liver.
Thinly sliced all the above and marinate to taste with salt, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch. Marinate them while congee is simmering. Set aside till needed.

Seafood (prawns, scallops, squid – fresh or alkaline-prepared, canned pacific clams, canned abalone) – no need to marinate. If you are using canned seafood like the pacific clams or abalone, use their canned liquid when cooking the congee and subtract the water amount respectively. Seafood takes very little time to cook.

Beef Balls.
Fish Eggs.
Fish Balls.
Pork Balls.
Squid Balls.
Vegetable Balls.
All the balls ingredients do not need to marinate. They can be bought from frozen section in supermarkets.

Vegetables any type, cut into bite size pieces – no need to marinate.

Photo credit: Bonding Tool and Google Images

Plain unseasoned congee can be eaten with these accompanying dishes. You may add Goji Berries about 10 minutes before congee is cooked. Goji Berries are good for eye sight according to TCM.
Photo credit: Bonding Tool and Google Images.

Congee with secondary ingredients. Photo credit: Google Images

Congee with secondary ingredients.
Photo credit: Google Images


It took an hour to cook and a mintue to eat 🙂

Stay well!
Happy eating 🙂

P.S. Please see a doctor when ill.
If you find congee too troublesome, you may try making rice porridge instead.

29 Responses to “Basic Rice Congee”
  1. Great! This is something I’d really like to get around to one of these days, and now I’ve got a good reference point to start from. That’s what so great about bloggers like you, more pictures, more detailed explanation. Makes it easier for someone like me. Thanks for this. 🙂

    • Sam Han says:

      Thank you. I just added a picture of congee with secondary ingredients. Hope you’ll like them. Happy cooking Mr. P 🙂

      • They look delicious. Sorry to hear you’ve been sick though, that’s terrible, I can’t imagine being in bed like that for so long.

        • Sam Han says:

          Congee can be very delicious indeed and I love them with mixed pig’s organs like liver, stomach and deep-fried intestines. I’m drooling now talking about it. My nerves are so sensitive now even the wind draft is causing my hair pain 😦 Thanks for your concern. I hope to get well soon or I may be missing the next couple of days 😉

  2. jalal michael sabbagh. says:

    Super recipe.Regards.jalal

  3. Sofia says:

    With all those healthy ingredients chock-a-block full of vitamins and good substances, no wonder the Chinese say this will make you recover faster from illness!

  4. Sofia says:

    Well I hope you don’t have dengue and recover fast now! xxx

  5. lignumdraco says:

    We use to eat this almost weekly as children, ill or not. Just different secondary ingredients, and always plenty of soya sauce.

  6. jalal michael sabbagh. says:

    Thank you Sam for liking my post ( The French revolution….). Warm regards.jalal

    • Sam Han says:

      Oh Michael, thank you so very much for your concern and I deeply appreciate this article you sent. My fever is gone but the body still aches. I will try some of the remedies there. Thank you 😀

  7. The Mouse says:

    Get well soon. Sorry to hear you are not feeling well. 😦

  8. drunk ninja says:

    i thought rice porridge is the same as congee? growing up i never liked congee (well i didn’t like rice at all), but when i’m sick or want to clean the system i ask my mom to make plain congee. then i top it with maggi, green onions, and pork floss haha… my mom said after adding all that, i probably cancelled out all the health benefits. Usually after thanksgiving when we have turkey leftovers and the carcass, we make turkey congee which everyone loves!

  9. Sam says:

    Looks delicious! Glad you’re all better now. 🙂

  10. Sam…I read these a while back but forgot to tell you that I used Vietnamese broken rice to make congee. It’s much easier than having to clean another tools, you know, and shorten the cooking time too. I used to use immersion blender to broken the full grain rice but once I’ve found the broken rice. My life is so much easier. Let me know if you want a link to Amazon or Wiki.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.