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Plain Congee Recipe – Easy Kitchen Guide

Last Updated on November 13, 2023

If you are new to the world of congee, prepare yourself for a delightful journey of taste and comfort. Congee is a popular Asian dish known for its simplicity and comforting qualities. 

In this article, we will be exploring the wonders of plain congee, a blank canvas of flavors that you can customize to your liking.

Plain Congee Recipe

What Is Plain Congee?

Plain congee, also known as “white congee” or “plain rice porridge,” is the simplest form of congee, highlighting the subtle flavors of white rice and its creamy, soothing texture. It is a staple food in many Asian countries, cherished for its ability to bring comfort and healing during times of illness or simply as a heartwarming meal on a cold day. 

Despite its simplicity, plain congee is far from boring; it serves as a versatile base that can be enhanced with various toppings and seasonings.

Where Did I First Try Plain Congee?

The first time I had the pleasure of tasting plain congee was during a trip to China, where I immersed myself in the rich culinary traditions of the region. I remember arriving at a local eatery nestled on a bustling street corner. 

As I took my seat, I noticed the intoxicating aroma of freshly cooked rice wafting through the air. Curiosity piqued, I ordered a bowl of plain congee, and from that moment on, I was captivated by its simplicity and the sense of comfort it brought with every spoonful.

As I savored the congee, I noticed a delightful nutty flavor and creamy texture that transported me to a place of warmth and peace. Its delicate balance of subtle flavors and silky texture moved me in ways I could never have imagined. 

I was inspired by the locals around me who used plain congee as a canvas to express their creativity through a variety of toppings and seasonings. The possibilities seemed endless with each combination, from sweet to savory, spicy to mild – all combined to create an exciting feast for the senses.

Since then, I have been exploring my own creativity with plain congee. Whether it is as a main dish or a side dish, this simple yet delicious Asian staple quickly became one of my go-to meals. 

From adding vegetables to give it a hearty twist, to including fresh herbs and spices for an added kick of flavor, plain congee has become the perfect blank canvas for me to express my culinary creativity.

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Ingredients

  • White rice: The foundation of plain congee, white rice is the key ingredient that provides a creamy texture and delicate taste.
  • Water: The rice will absorb the water during cooking, resulting in a thick and luscious porridge.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt is all you need to enhance the natural flavors of the rice without overpowering them.
Plain Congee Recipe

Cooking Directions

Step 1

Rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water until the water runs clear. In a large pot, combine the rinsed rice and water. 

Step 2

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Step 3

Once the congee starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the rice has completely broken down, and the mixture has reached a creamy consistency. 

Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and to avoid any lumps.

Cooking Tips

  • For a creamier texture, you can increase the water-to-rice ratio and cook the congee for a longer time.
  • If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add more water during the cooking process.
  • If you like your congee with a bit of texture, reduce the cooking time accordingly.

What Ingredients Can I Replace or Substitute While Making It?

One of the beauties of plain congee lies in its adaptability. While the classic recipe calls for white rice, you can experiment with different rice varieties, such as jasmine rice, basmati rice, or even brown rice, to add distinct flavors and textures to your congee. 

Additionally, you can incorporate other grains like millet, quinoa, or barley for a unique twist. For those looking for a gluten-free option, using glutinous rice is a great alternative.

Plain Congee Recipe

Plain Congee Recipe

If you are new to the world of congee, prepare yourself for a delightful journey of taste and comfort. Congee is a popular Asian dish known for its simplicity and comforting qualities. In this article, we will be exploring the wonders of plain congee, a blank canvas of flavors that you can customize to your liking.
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Author: Dr. Leah Alexander
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Extra Hour: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 219kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 5 cups 1.2 liters of water or broth (chicken broth, vegetable broth, etc.), providing a flavorful and aromatic base for cooking the rice, infusing it with additional depth and complexity
  • Salt optional, adjusted to taste, enhancing the overall seasoning and bringing out the natural flavors of the rice
  • 1/4 cup 30 grams of white rice, known for its small and starchy grains that cook up soft and sticky, perfect for accompanying a variety of dishes

Instructions

  • Rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water until the water runs clear. In a large pot, combine the rinsed rice and water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Once the congee starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the rice has completely broken down, and the mixture has reached a creamy consistency.
    Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and to avoid any lumps.

Notes

  • For a creamier texture, you can increase the water-to-rice ratio and cook the congee for a longer time.
  • If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add more water during the cooking process.
  • If you like your congee with a bit of texture, reduce the cooking time accordingly.
Keyword: Plain congee recipe

Nutrition Information

Each one-cup serving of plain congee contains approximately 

  • 224 calories, 
  • 4g fat, 
  • 38g carbohydrates, and 
  • 3.3g protein.

How to Store Leftover Plain Congee?

If you find yourself with leftovers, fret not; plain congee stores wonderfully for future meals. Allow the congee to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the container, and the congee will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. 

FAQs

Can pregnant women eat this?

Yes, plain congee is an excellent option for pregnant women, particularly during the early stages of pregnancy when nausea and morning sickness may be more prevalent. Its mild and easily digestible nature can provide much-needed sustenance without overwhelming the senses.

What can I add to plain congee for flavor?

There are so many possibilities when it comes to sprucing up a bowl of plain congee! You can add cooked meats, vegetables, and herbs for extra flavor. For a bit of zest, try stirring in chili sauce or sesame oil. If you like your congee sweetened, you can add a touch of honey or maple syrup. The possibilities are endless!

Is it possible to make plain congee in an Instant Pot?

Yes! An Instant Pot can be used to make delicious and creamy plain congee. Simply add the rinsed rice, water, and a pinch of salt to the pot and set it to Manual mode or high pressure for 10 minutes. When finished cooking, use the natural release method for best results.

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading this recipe on plain congee! This humble dish may be simple, but its ability to bring comfort and nourishment is truly remarkable. Whether you enjoy it as a soothing meal or explore various toppings and seasonings to create a great flavor, plain congee remains a timeless favorite for countless food enthusiasts around the world. 

So, gather your ingredients, simmer a pot of rice, and let the magic of plain congee unfold in your kitchen! Make sure to share the recipe with your friends and family.

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Author Profile

Dr. Leah Alexander, M.D., is a board-certified Pediatrician in New Jersey and has been working at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000.
She also has a passion for culinary arts that extends beyond the medical realm. After completing culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, she started Global Palate, LLC, a catering firm, in 2007. She ran her own six-year-old catering company and served small group parties as an owner and executive chef.

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