Taste Hong Kong
Making rice porridge is simple and easy – this is what I hope my reader who asked me for this recipe would think the same. I also hope this post would get you interested in making one and see the benefits of eating porridge aka congee, in case you are not familiar with it.
A simple congee is a thick soup, usually creamy, made from boiling rice in water or stock. And, combining other ingredients in it for variations is nothing but an easy task.
In congee shops here, if you are ordering this Congee with Salted Pork and Century Egg 皮蛋瘦肉粥, you might hear the waiter or waitress send your order to the open kitchen by shouting ‘Ha For 下火’, literally lowering fire. Nick-named such, because this savory rice soup is said to be able to tame body inflammation caused by eaten too many heaty (e.g. deep-fried, grilled) foods.
Congee is usually served as a light meal here. Often than not, we eat it during breakfasts with Chinese cruller. Some restaurants even have it listed on their dim sum menu.
In general, I like using white short grain rice, which requires minimal or no soaking but gives the porridge a creamy texture.
You may not necessarily cook porridge with one single type of rice, just try your own mix and enjoy. In this recipe, I have mixed brown rice into the white. Not that I like its chewiness and nutty flavor; I always feel good to have some whole grain in my diet. Basmati, a type of rice that hardly breaks down even after prolonged boil, however is one I would not recommend for making this.
Jasmine (fragrant) rice is another type I frequently used. But, like using short grain, it too has to be marinated before cooking. The marinades include only salt and oil but they help make the porridge milky and smooth.
Timing for adding rice
The next crucial step is to bring the water or stock to a boil before putting in rice. This would help prevent the rice from depositing to the bottom and get burnt. Have you ever heard that putting a China spoon in the pot would help minimize sticking too (cause the spoon spins while the soup is being boiled)?.
Having your basic congee
As the rice is cooked to very soft and the soup turns milky, there you have the simplest form of rice porridge, what we call ‘white congee’ – pak jook 白粥 in our language. Apart from serving with Chinese cruller, we too like eating plain jook with pickled foods, Sichuan mustard is one.
You may add your preferred meats, seafood, vegetable, mushrooms to the porridge, possibly with endless choices (tomato with scallop is one I like). When to add the selected item is dependent on how long it needs to be cooked and how much flavors you want it to infuse into the rice soup. Say, I would add pork slices earlier than beef and fish slices.
Using sliced pork vs hand-pulled pork
Hand-pulled pork in this congee, they old-fashion way, is what I like most. But I can’t lie that I too would do this with sliced or ground pork if I could not do it in advance.
- 75g rice, white rice : brown rice = 4 : 3
- (a measuring cup like this)
- 100 g lean pork with 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 century egg, shelled, sectioned or diced
- 5 cups water or stock
- 1 tbsp finely slice spring onion, optional
- salt to taste
- ground white pepper to taste, optional
- Marinades for rice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cooking oil
- Homemade salted pork
- Wash and pat dry lean pork (keep it in one single piece). Rub salt all over it. Then keep it in fr >
Steam salted pork for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Let cool, pull it apart (I prefer using hands) into shreds.
Rinse rice and change the water a couple of times until the water becomes clear. Soak the rice, if required, according to package. Reserve water for boiling.
Marinade rice with salt and oil, and let it stands for about 15 to 30 minutes.
In a heavy pot, covered, bring water or stock to a boil. Always use a pot that the rice and water filled in it would not exceed two third of its capacity.
Uncover, add marinaded rice, give some stirs to prevent rice sticking to the bottom. Keep boiling for about 10 to 15 minutes, turn to low heat, and leave the lid ajar. Simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes when the rice turned mashy and the soup, milky (note that the cooking time may differ depending on the type of pot used; mine is a cast iron pot).
Add in diced century egg and shredded salted pork. Switch to moderate heat and simmer for a few minutes more, stirring regularly.
Season with salt and ground white pepper (though optional but is highly recommended). Garnish with spring onion and serve hot.
The serving here is for two, you may cook more and store the leftovers in fridge. And you may make another light meals by re-boiling the cold congee in minutes.
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This is the type of ‘jook’ that I used to cook at home. Also love to add ‘yu char qui’ in it. Simple and delicious as one dish meal.
I have never tried making this at home even though I love ordering it at dim sum! I love that you broke it down into steps.. I really should try and make it myself because my boyfriend loves it and I told him I’d try and learn to make more Chinese dishes
this is my faveourite congee. your jook texture looks perfect. thanks for the tip – next time I use short grain rice hehe
Lucy L February 17, 2012
I love pei dan sow yuke jook and I make this at home often but the way we cook is very different. I have never heard of marinading the rice first with salt & oil, I just rinse the rice put in a pot with cold water and let it boil. Once it starts to bubble, I then add in the pre-salted & rinsed pork strips into the congee and when congee is almost cooked, throw in the pei dan for 20 mins or so.
Very curious to know if the congee tastes any different by marinading rice with oil & salt first?! I always use jasmine rice, sometimes i use japanese rice if i have it at home 🙂
Tom February 17, 2012
Tried this recipe. DELICIOUS!! Didn’t have a century egg but did do the pork, although I used pork belly as I like it fattier. I had never heard of marinating the rice in oil and salt but it turned out smooth and creamy Breakfast of champions! Now all I need are the yow jaw guey..
TasteHongKong February 18, 2012
Thanks for sharing yours. With or without the marinades, the tastes of congee are pretty similar (a bit saltier if you could tell). However, they kind of tender the rice and make the congee somewhat smoother. Enjoy your way of making this, and as I said, you may regulate the flavors in soup (or retained in meat) by deciding when to add the meat . Have fun : )!
TasteHongKong February 18, 2012
Thanks for your feedback and glad to learn that you have enjoyed it as your breakfast.
Tom February 18, 2012
I used Canaroli rice for the jook. The same kind we use here in Switzerland for risotto. Highly recommend it.
TasteHongKong February 18, 2012
Again, thanks! I appreciate your advice.
Thanks for sharing your secrets! The texture looks smooth, velvety – perfect! I have heard before using a mixture of grains – even “broken’ rice, to achieve the Cantonese congee consistency.
Megan February 20, 2012
What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing so much details! x
Do you know it’s my husband’s most favourite congee. Whenever we go to dim sim restaurant, he would order one. 🙂
Your congee looks more attractive and yummy.
lena February 22, 2012
now i know about marinating the rice would result in smoother porridge, thanks! what i do sometimes is i soak the rice in water for about 20-30 mins , then i rub and break them apart to cut short the cooking time! ha! yeah, heard abt the spoon thing.
Rice Porridge Recipe
[…] imabonehead: How to Cook Congee with Salted Pork & Century Egg, a Classic Hong Kong Rice Porridg… (tastehongkong.com) Share this:StumbleUponLinkedInDiggRedditEmailFacebookTwitterPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]
Fantastic! I will try your way of cooking congee – looks silky smooth and yummy! Thanks for sharing!! 🙂
Helena October 16, 2012
It’s always a pleasure for me to verify little by little how foolproof your recipes are. As a Westerner, I didn’t expect to enjoy so much a rice porridge, but it was truly delicious, as well as your spiced edamames and cold sesame noodles. I can’t wait next summer to eat these last ones again, but ’til there I think I’ll frequently have this congee 🙂
[…] eat them again if they were served to me. In fact, Taste of Hong Kong’s recipe for Congee with Salted Pork and Century Egg looks pretty […]
May November 15, 2012
Always find it hard to replicate the ones made in shops. It’s not as smooth somehow.
A November 30, 2012
Can you specify how you steam the pork?
TasteHongKong November 30, 2012
Like this. Before steaming, make sure the pork is marinaded in advance (above under “Homemade salted pork”).
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YC December 16, 2013
can you use a slow cooker for congee?
TasteHongKong December 20, 2013
Yes, I also make congee with my slow cooker but to no more than
70% of its capacity (so that the water won’t spill over). If possible, I’d also try to give it a stir as the congee reach a boil.
lightawake May 22, 2014
Hello, I found your recipe as I wanted to learn how to make congee – I always used to order it at the yum char restaurant in my old town, but there is nowhere that sells it here!! It was great to learn about marinading it as well as what kinds of rice work well. I have made it several times now (just the simple version with pork stock and rice:) with great success!! Today I made it and added some raw chopped chicken thighs midway through cooking – it was delicious too. Thank you for posting this recipe!! – from new zealand:)
TasteHongKong May 23, 2014
So glad you write to share, I love hearing your successes!
Ju June 12, 2014
Do I need to keep stirring the congee in order to achieve the smooth and creamy texture? Tks.
TasteHongKong June 16, 2014
It is the marinading of rice with salt and oil that make the porridge milky and smooth; stirring prevents rice sticking to the bottom.
Kiet November 6, 2014
So true , u need to marinate the rice with oil and salt , another trick is while u marinate the rice put the freezer over night or at least 5 hours , it will only Take 15 mins to cook till smooth and creamy ,instead of 45 mins .
Belle February 24, 2015
I just found your website and am so happy to read these posts. You make cooking so simple and straight forward, even for a beginner like me. Thank you so much for sharing with us!! Kind regards from D.C.! I am excited to begin cooking these recipes!
TasteHongKong February 25, 2015
Thanks too and happy cooking!
Wong Qiu Tong May 26, 2015
Thank you for the great recipe! I am from Singapore, but am currently on exchange in Japan. I missed century egg porridge so much! Followed your recipe and it turned out really well 🙂
TasteHongKong May 28, 2015
@wong Qiu Tong,
I understand, this is a dish we’ll always miss when away from home. Thanks for your feedback and glad to hear that you like this recipe!
Xixi October 11, 2015
Hi Sonia, coarse salt is like noamrl cooking salt, right? In Sydney, we can get duck eggs from the chinese butcher shops & of course the asian grocery shops but the question is whether they are good quality of eggs or not. My 2 children don’t like eating congee but my parents-in-law love them very much. They always eat congee with sweet potatoes.
Ash October 25, 2015
Thank you for the wonderful article on congee.
But I do have a question. Why wash the rice until it is clear? I would think having the starch around would keep it nice and thick?
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meng fei December 8, 2016
Hi, Can I use a pressure cooker for this? We also have our version of this in the Phil, but we use chicken & it’s stock with ginger + fish sauce & other garnish.
meng fei December 8, 2016
..& oh a combination of sticky rice with plain rice.
TasteHongKong December 9, 2016
I think so but I have yet to try.
Ha Le January 9, 2017
Thank you so much for the recipe. I have made this several times for my bf and he loves it 🙂
TasteHongKong January 19, 2017
Thank you for your feedback, keep enjoying!