Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rice Congee with Meatballs

Congee or porridge is eaten through Asian countries and can be consumed from breakfast to lunch to dinner. It is made from rice which is the staple carbohydrate in this part of the world.

When I did a search on the word "congee", Wikipedia threw up different names for "congee". In Burma it is called San Bohk which literally means "rice boiled". In Cambodia it is called Babaw. In China and Hong Kong it is called Zhōu. In India it is known as Ganji. In Indonesia it is called Bubur. In Japan it is Okayu whilst in Korea it is Juk. The Filipinos call this Lúgao and the Thai people would call it Chok (โจ๊ก) And in Vietnam it is known as Cháo. In fact the word in some languages sound pretty much alike such as in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Most Asians would have grown up eating congee in one way or another. To us it is the ultimate comfort food .. be it when you are well or when you are ill. So it is not surprising that I cook this quite often at home. My hubby loves it whenever I cook congee especially the thick plain congee and have many side dishes such as stir fried vegetables, egg omelette, cold chinese tofu, fried luncheon meat, pickled chinese cabbage and braised ground peanuts to go with it. This particular weekend which also happened to be wet and cold, was calling out for rice congee for dinner. So I made a meatball version and it was extremely, extremely comforting!

Congee 1

Rice Congee with Meatballs
Serves 4

Ingredients for the Congee:

200g long grain rice, washed
7 cups (around 1750 ml) water
2 teaspoons chicken stock granules or 1 chicken cube
2cm ginger, skinned and smashed lightly
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon teaspoon ground white pepper

Ingredients for the Meatballs:

200g minced pork with a bit of fat in it (you can use minced chicken as substitute)
2 Tbsp sliced green onion
2 Tbsp sliced coriander
2 Tbsp sliced chinese celery
1 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
6 waterchests, chopped into small pieces
2 Tbsp chinese preserved turnip, finely minced (can be found either Asian groceries either sold loosely or canned version)
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoon chinese wine
1 Tbsp corn flour

For Garnishing:

Fried shallots
Sliced green onion and chinese celery
A drizzle of sesame oil
Dash of ground white pepper


1) Place all ingredients for the congee into an electric rice cooker and cook using the congee mode. Stir occassionally.

2) Mix all ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl. Stir to combined all the seasoning. Using your hands, shape the balls into 3/4 size of ping pong balls. You can make this ahead and keep in the refrigerator in a air-tight container.

3) Once the congee starts to thicken (at this time the congee should be almonst cooked), drop in the meatballs. Cover the rice cooker and cook until meatballs are done.

4) To serve, dish hot congee into bowls and sprinkle with garnishings.

Cook's Note:

If you do not have a rice cooker, you can cook this over a stove. Just make sure you keep an eye on your congee to prevent burning and over boiling. Best to cook congee in a non-stick pot over medium fire in this case. Once the congee starts to thicken you can drop in the meatballs and cook them for about 15 minutes for doneness.

Congee 2

Congee 3


chef_d said...

This looks so good...I've been looking for a congee recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

Edith said...

Congee! our all time favourite in my household.

The Duo Dishes said...

Thanks for sharing this traditional recipe. The meatballs sound amazing. Where do you find preserved turnips?

busygran said...

Looks good especially the meatballs. Don't mind having a bowl! ;)

Unknown said...

oh yummm very comforting indeed...good for typhoon days like these days...

tigerfish said...

I love love love congee...and this is so warm and soothing.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

this is simple and good!

Anh said...

I love congee!! yum yum! With meatballs, it is even tastier!

Barbara Bakes said...

I love your beautiful dishes you served this delicious dish in.

Pam said...

I've never had this dish before - it looks excellent.

pigpigscorner said... simple and so comforting!

Brooke said...

What is the congee mode of the rice cooker? I have a simple, one push of the button cooker. What's the difference in setting? Just more water?

Anonymous said...

I love plain congee served with various side dishes. And I also enjoy congee with slices of fish and ginger. Agree that it is comfort food.

Jo said...

Hi Duo Dishes, you should be able to find preserved turnips in any Asian grocery. Alternatively, you can substitute with canned preserved mustard leaves.

Hi Brooke, some rice cookers come with 3 separate functions i.e. for cooking rice, congee and mixed rice. You are likely owing the single function only. I have not tried using this for congee but you could try using it with extra water. If the cooker automatically turns off to "warm", suggest you switch it off, leave it for 10 mins and then turn it to "cook" function again. If this doesn't work, then transfer the rice to a pot and cook over your stove on medium/low heat. Make sure it does not burn, so stir regularly.

ann low said...

It's really good to have this congee under rainy day. Just love it!

noobcook said...

I always love a good bowl of congee like yours. comfort food for me :)

Anonymous said...

Congee is such a great comfort food. I love it with century eggs :)

Pei-Lin said...

Yes, it's a comfort food in our house too! Here's the funny thing in my family though: My Cantonese dad prefers Teochew plain, soupy congee to typical flavored Cantonese congee (艇仔粥). He enjoys his with side dishes, too, like what you do in your household. I myself prefer the latter anytime though! (Cantonese blood!?) Haha! Guess that was why my dad chose to marry a Teochew lady. LOL!

anikay said...

I want to try this! If my rice cooker doesn't have a congee setting, do you think i can still make it in my rice cooker? It only has Cook and Stay Warm settings...I've been wondering about this!

Thanks so much ;)

Jo said...

Hi Anncoo and Wiffy, thanks for dropping by.

Hi Ellie, I like mine with century egg as well.

Hi Pei-Lin, my dad is Teochew as well but we usually cook Cantonese style porridge at home. In fact my current style is Cantonese plain porridge but the Teochew style dishes. Haha, guess it is the best of both worlds.

Hi Anikay, in fact Brooke asked this question as well. See my reply in the earlier comments.

Piggy said...

I love cantonese style congee, and yours looks so yummy!

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