Make this Chinese congee, then check out our Singapore noodles, soy sauce chow mein and more Chinese recipes.

Simmer a handful of rice in a big pot of water and the individual rice grains will eventually burst open and melt, transforming the liquid into a smooth, gentle mass with a milky white color. In China, congee is generally regarded as the ultimate comfort food. It’s easy to digest and kind on the stomach if you’re feeling under the weather, and if you’re feeling fancy, you can jazz it up with plenty of garnishes. Traditionally, you make congee by cooking the rice on the stove for over an hour, but for faster results, you can freeze the uncooked rice first – freezing changes its structure and makes it easier to break down, drastically cutting the cooking time to about 15 minutes. You don’t even need to defrost it, just add the frozen rice directly to the pot. To prep, rinse and drain the rice, divide it into portions, and freeze it.


  • 150g uncooked short-grain or Thai fragrant rice


  • chilli oil or toasted sesame oil
  • white pepper
  • crispy fried shallots
  • fried or salt roasted peanuts
  • spring onions thinly sliced
  • coriander finely chopped
  • pickled mustard greens


  • STEP 1

    Put the rice in a sieve and rinse it thoroughly under running water until the water runs clear, then drain well. If using frozen rice (see intro), skip this step.

  • STEP 2

    Put the rice and 1.4 litres of water in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring it to a full boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook on a low heat, stirring to the bottom occasionally with a wooden spatula or spoon. After a while, the rice will blossom and break apart.

  • STEP 3

    Cook, stirring occasionally, until the congee is thickened to your liking and satin-like in consistency. This will take 1 hr to 1hr 10 mins if you’re using uncooked rice, or about 15 mins for frozen rice. At any point, pour in more water if you want a thinner congee. Remove from the heat, ladle into bowls and serve with your choice of garnishes.

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Two bowls of noodles with sliced chilli, alongside two pairs of wooden chopsticks and two glasses of water with a white background


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