Welcome back everybody, my name is Ryan, and I’m here again to share another one of my favorite childhood recipes! This time, I’ll be walking you through how to make classic congee. 

Every weekend when I was younger, I would wake up to the sound of my mom in the kitchen. The house echoed with the clanging of kitchenware, rhythms of knives against the cutting board, and harmonies of my parent’s laughter followed by the animated voices on the television. What may have been a cacophony to others was a symphonic solace for me. Food was my first comfort. 

This was especially true for congee. Whenever I was sick, my mom would go get my favorite toppings from our local markets — chicken, Chinese doughnuts, and century eggs. As I watched her wash the rice and prepare the other ingredients, I knew I would be okay. 

An illustration of my mom making porridge for me when I was younger.
My favorite hobby as a child was hovering over my mother as she cooked my favorite meals.

Although I no longer live at home, I still catch myself craving congee during fall and winter as flu season approaches (get your shots everybody!), or even when I’m feeling down. 

Congee is meant to heal, so if you ever need a pick-me-up, I recommend following along.


  • 1 cup of jasmine rice
  • 6-7 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of soy sauce (optional)
  • Sesame oil for garnish
  • Cracked or ground white pepper to taste

Serving Size: 3-4 People


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain the rice and add it to a large pot.
  2. Add the water or chicken stock into the pot and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil on medium-high heat for about fifteen minutes. Once the rice begins to cook, turn the heat down to medium-low for a gentle simmer. 
  3. Let the congee cook until the rice begins to bloom. Stir occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the pot.
  4. (Optional) As the mixture thickens, pour in the fish sauce and soy sauce and stir until the congee is uniform in color. 
  5. Reduce the heat to low and keep the congee on the burner until it reaches the desired consistency. 
  6. Serve the congee with a drizzle of sesame oil and some white pepper on top. 

Since congee is such a versatile dish, you can pair it with practically anything. Below are some of me and my friend’s go-to toppings.

An illustration of sliced chicken.
You can use either fresh poultry or leftover chicken.
An illustration of pickled mustard.
Some types of pickled mustard are fermented, so eating it with your congee can give your immune system a boost.
An illustration of pork floss.
A great topping choice, pork floss is delicate in texture and can be either sweet or salty.
An illustration of a Chinese doughnut.
Add these strips of golden-brown fried dough to your congee if you’re craving some crunch.
An illustration of ground beef.
If you’re looking for ways to make congee heartier, just add ground beef.
An illustration of green onion.
It’s never a bad idea to add green onions as this simple ingredient goes a long way.
An illustration of century eggs.
Much more pungent than regular eggs, century eggs provide a rich, creamy flavor.
An illustration of ginger.
Not only is it refreshing, but ginger will also help clear your throat and sinuses.
An illustration of salted duck eggs.
Sharp in taste, salted duck eggs are a perfect contrast for congee.


  1. Adding fish sauce and soy sauce gives the congee some depth and complements the toppings above. 
  2. You can always increase or decrease the amount of water in your congee as you see fit. 
  3. I hope you get well soon!