What’s the Best Chinese Comfort Food? Hot Homemade Congee!
Growing up, I’ve had many variations of this watery Chinese porridge called “Congee” (aka, the 粥 in Chinese).
And all of them, are memories of home and comfort.
I don’t know what it is about this dish, but the simplest of ingredients, the white rice (there are also variations of the rice used) can produce such a profound feeling when it’s mixed and cooked in the right proportions of water and toppings.
Follow this post to learn how to make this!
What makes Congee, Congee?
So what makes congee, congee? The most basic premise is that it’s some sort of grain (usually rice) that is cooked to a semi viscous state. The viscosity (how fast or slow it flows as a liquid) depends on the type of congee.
- You make the congee base (with simply rice and water) and then spice it up
- You spice it up first and mix in the rice to create this blended, beautiful congee concoction
In the recipes below, you’ll find both variations. Try them both and see how you like them. It really depends on what you feel like eating. If you’re having side dishes, like meats and vegetables, the congee is usually served plain (rice and water). If you’re eating the congee like a meal, it usually has all the works inside.
There’s no right or wrong to making or eating congee! And the type of rice you use, can also vary. I’ve used long grain rice before, round little rice, brown rice, purple rice, even Japanese rice. They all work!
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 8 bowls
- 2 cups of rice
- 2 L of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Whatever toppings you want
To Stir or Not To Stir?
Ah, the age old question of whether you stir your congee or not.
From my experience, it depends on the type of congee you’re making.
For example, I also make the Chiu Chou style of congee where it’s got a thick base layer of congee and beautiful rice soup on top. In this congee, you don’t stir AT ALL. It’s basically, a quick boil for 20 minutes, turn off the heat, let it rest for 30 minutes to “bake” and settle and serve. My mom is Chiu Chou, so I’ll hear her repeat this technique to me many times over!
For the Cantonese-styled congee, I will mix. I will stir fry the ingredients first, add in the rice and water and mix it around, ensuring that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom. Have your heat on medium to medium-high for that control. I find when you max out the heat, it becomes harder to manage and this sticky congee to the bottom of the pot happens.
If you’re also using a thermal pot, insta-pot, or a pressure cooker, stirring is also suggested.