Chinese Rice Porridge

Here is a recipe for the most basic plain porridge or 'white porridge' (bai-zhou). The Chinese porridge (or otherwise known as congee) is a soupy or liquidised version of boiled rice. Once upon a time, the poor in China made porridge to prolong the household consumption of rice grain; because it uses much smaller amount of rice for each meal. However, due to its soft texture, it is also a traditional Chinese baby food. The fact that it is easy to digest, those who are recovering from sickness could use it as a temporary main food intake. Try having it with You Tiao, a deep-fried breadstick.


  • 1 cup white rice, rinsed
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 20g fresh ginger, cut into fine strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or enough to taste
  • A pinch of ground peper


  1. Put rice and water in a large deep saucepan, bring to a boil.
  2. Turn heat to medium and keep boiling for another 20-30 minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. Cover (leave a little gap for steam to get through) and simmer it on as low heat as you can get, till all rice grain is broken and the porridge becomes pasty.
  4. Add in salt and mix well.
  5. Heat oil in a skillet on high, fry shallot and ginger till golden brown and crispy.
  6. Serve porridge in a soup bowl or a deep dish.
  7. Pour the fried shallot and ginger over the porridge, together with the sesame oil.
  8. Sprinkle the ground pepper over it.
  9. Serves 2 to 3 persons.

Versatility Note:

  1. Salt is not a necessity, and can be substitute with vegetable stock or meat stock. You can also have without any of them.
  2. You can eat it on its own or with any stir-fry, meat, vegetable, or side dishes of your choice.
  3. You can make various flavours of porridge, such as chicken porridge, salted duck porridge, salmon and peanut porridge, and mixed vegetable porridge.