Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)

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Jen (UK)

Jen works in the music industry. Being on the road with rock bands can take its toll, the touring lifestyle means either fast food or fine dining (depending on the popularity of the act). Her recent roster of low budget revival bands dredged from the 80’s has meant burgers and kebabs galore. But what does Jen cook when she arrives back in Bristol, as an antidote to life on the road?
Jen 2 Here’s one of her favourite rice dishes:

Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)

“I’m Malaysian, so was brought up around Chinese food. Congee is the ultimate comfort food for me, also known as Chinese porridge. This version is much different from western porridge – it doesn’t have the fruit, the clusters, the seeds or nuts – nope, Congee is hearty, savoury stuff, something that westerns find hard to adapt to. My English boyfriend can’t palette this dish, he’s unable to disconnect from the narrow-minded stereotype of porridge. He usually has fish fingers when I cook this dish.” Congee

Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge) 

Serves 8



  • 1 cup rice white
  • 2-inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 cups water (plus more for soaking mushrooms)
  • 10 cups water (plus more for soaking mushrooms)


Green onions Cilantro Sesame seeds Hot sauce – like Sriracha Toasted sesame oil Soy Sauce Peanuts Chilli oil Shelled edamame Crispy tofu cubes Or anything you think would be delicious


Add the rice along with the ginger, garlic, and 10 cups of water to a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

In the meantime bring some additional water to a boil. Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water. They tend to float, so I usually put another bowl on top of the mushrooms and water to help keep them submerged. Let them soak for 20 minutes or so until tender. Drain and discard the soaking water, then thinly slice the shiitakes.

Add the sliced shiitakes to the simmering pot of rice. It doesn’t matter too much when you add the mushrooms, as long as they are in there with the rice for at least 20 minutes, but I always add them as soon as they are sliced.

Stir the pot every now and then as it simmers, especially as it gets closed to being finished so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the congee is done it will be a thick rice porridge. If you prefer a thinner congee, add water until desired consistency is reached.

Serve along with toppings of your choice. I like sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, Sriracha, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce to taste.