8 Local Chinese Porridge and Congee Recipes
Super tasty that even toddlers will love!
There is a saying in Chinese Medicine whereby “both food and medicine originate from the same source” because both can be used to prevent diseases. Just like how many of us would turn to porridge and congee when we are ill, or even just as a comfort meal.
Not only is porridge relatively simple to prepare, it is also a versatile dish that you can pair with various herbs and ingredients to enhance its benefits. Having porridge regularly can improve digestive functions and boost your overall energy. Whether it is porridge recipe for toddler or the entire family, add these local Chinese porridges to your list of staples!
Local Chinese Porridge and Congee Recipes
Preserved Century Egg Pork Congee
A comforting Cantonese rice porridge that you can look towards with the family. The highlight of this nutritious congee lies in the preserved century eggs with a strong, yet unique and flavourful taste with umani components.
While it has a slightly higher calorie content compared to normal eggs, it is a great source of protein. There are also health benefits if taken in moderation including: lowering blood pressure, improving appetite, vision and liver functioning.
- 100 grams of lean pork
- 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 1 Tbsp grated garlic
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger
- 8-10 cup water or chicken broth
- 1 preserved century egg, peeled and rinsed (cut up into small pieces)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 preserved century egg, peeled and rinsed (cut into slivers)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- fried onion
- pork floss
- 2 pieces you tiao (fried Chinese donut), sliced
How to Cook:
Prepare The Pork
Marinate the lean pork with soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.
Add cooked rice, grated garlic and ginger to a large pot. Cover with water/chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Cook the congee for about 1.5 hours, stir in intervals (add more liquid if the texture is too thick)
About 45 minutes into cooking, add in lean pork and one of the cut-up century eggs. Continue cooking. Add more liquid if necessary.
When congee is almost ready, remove pork and shred thinly. Add shredded pork back into the congee.
Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Add in rest of garnish and top with freshly fried you tiao.
Hainanese-style Chicken Rice Porridge
This delightful chicken rice porridge recipe is the perfect breakfast recipe for the entire family. So simple and easy to prepare!
- 2 cups rice (400g)
- 10 cups water (2.4 litres), and a little more to dilute
- 2 bone-in chicken breasts (skin removed)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-inch ginger (finely julienned) (30g)
- 3 green onions (finely sliced)
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce
How to Cook:
- Add 10 cups water to washed rice, bring to boil.
- Add chicken breasts and bring to boil again.
- Season with salt and pepper when comes to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for around 30 minutes. Stir in water if porridge gets too thick.
- Remove chicken breasts from pot, and return shredded chicken to pot.
- Add ginger and 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Turn off heat after.
Teochew-style Fish Porridge
Nothing like a good fish porridge that you can whip up without fuss at home. Here is a Teochew-style fish porridge using cooked rice that comes with a firm texture. Be sure to use the freshest fish possible for maximum taste.
Tip: You can also choose to add in Chinese herbs such as Astralagus, a qi-enhancing herb. It is rich in antioxidants, have anti-ageing properties and boosts immunity.
- 500g fresh fish
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 slices ginger (julienned)
- 2 litres water
- 1 tsp preserved vegetables or Dong Cai
- 1/2 tbsp garlic oil
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp chicken stock
- 1 tsp fried shallots or garlic crisps
- 1 stalk spring onion (chopped)
- 1 stalk coriander leaves (cut into sections)
How to Cook:
- Clean and slice fish into pieces. Marinade with soy sauce or salt (to taste) and sesame oil.
- Bring water to a boil. Add in the cooked rice and fish. Continue to cook till boiling.
- Season with chicken stock, garlic oil and white pepper.
- Scoop to bowls, garnish with spring onions and coriander leaves.
Sour Jujube Porridge
This sour jujube porridge that is recommended by Dr. Lin Liming of the Chinese Medicine Clinic of Health and Wellness can help relieve mood and improve appetite. According to him, it has the effect of nourishing the heart and liver, calm the nerves and aid those who might be prone to depression.
Jujube, or Chinese red date, is an excellent source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for healthy growth, development and overall well-being. It may also improve sleep and brain function.
Note: Take sour jujube with caution if you experience diarrhoea or any allergic reactions.
- 6 grams of jujube kernel powder
- 50 grams of white rice
How to Cook:
- Grind sour jujube kernels into fine powder
- Bring porridge with white rice and water to a boil
- Add jujube kernel powder and cook for a while. Serve.
Pumpkin Spinach and Salmon Porridge
A great kid-friendly option is this versatile and healthy Pumpkin Spinach and Salmon Porridge dish. It will require just the minimum seasoning to bring out its great flavour.
One of the best brain boosting foods for kids, salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, both essential for brain growth and function. Include more of these in children’s diets for a sharper mind and to perform better in cognitive skills tests.
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 200ml chicken stock
- 400-500ml water
- 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp shallot oil
- Pinch of pepper
- 150g salmon cubes (season lightly with salt)
- 3-4 bunches of spinach (cut into sections)
- 2 tbsp sweet corn
- 80g pumpkin (cut into chunks)
- Shredded ginger/scallions
- Fried shallots
- Fried fritters
How to Cook:
- Add rice, pumpkin, water, chicken stock and shallot oil together. Cook until rice softens and pumpkin mashed.
- Include minced ginger (if you’d like). Season with pepper and mix well.
- Add sweet corn and spinach.
- Salmon cubes go in last.
- Garnish with shredded ginger, scallions. Serve with fried fritters and fried shallots.
Singapore-style Frog Leg Porridge
A healthy alternative to white meat such as chicken, frog legs are said to contain a lower level of calories. One serving of 100 grams of frog legs (stir-fried) provides 70 calories whereas the chicken thigh offers 280 calories.
Eating frog legs in moderation could bring about health benefits such as enhancing vision, promote brain health as well as bone health.
- 400g frog legs
- 8 clove big garlic
- 2 spring onion cut to 3cm
- 8 slice ginger
- light soy sauce
- oyster sauce
- black pepper
- baking soda
- corn flour
- Clean frogs and mix with 5 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp oil, 2 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp baking soda, 3 tbsp corn flour. Leave in fridge to season for 40mins.
- At the same time, cook porridge. Add one cup of rice with 2L of water. Boil till rice is soft and porridge is sticky (add boiled water as necessary if too dry)
- Heat oil, add garlic, spring onion (a quarter of it, leave the rest for later), ginger. Fry for 1 minute.
- Add 3 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp oyster sauce, 300ml water, pinch of salt & pepper. Mix well.
- Remove frog from fridge (add all of them), and mix fry for 2mins.
- Cover and keep the dish cooking for 5 more minutes.
- Add 4 tbsp corn flour, add 3 tbsp dark soy sauce, add rest of spring onion. Mix until sauce becomes less and sticky.
- Mix frog and porridge in a big bowl.
Millet Porridge with Pumpkin and Chinese Yam
A good warm porridge to nourish the body as well as hydrate the skin, this Millet Porridge with Pumpkin and Chinese Yam is a dish you can eat at any time of the day.
In this recipe, you will find a couple of ingredients that are beneficial to health such as millet, chinese yam and goji berries.
Millet: Millet is packed with various nutrition including magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, antioxidants and many more. It is also gluten-free and are high in protein and fiber, helping to lower chances of type 2 diabetes.
Chinese yam: Also known as Huai Shan, Chinese yam is used in Chinese herbal medicine. It is traditionally used in treating disorders related to the stomach, spleen, lungs, and kidneys such as hot flashes associated with menopause, dry or chronic cough, asthma, fatigue and more.
Goji berries: They are also known as wolfberries that contain various important vitamins and minerals: iron
vitamin A and zinc (needed for the proper functioning of the body’s immune system) among others.
Note: If you’re pregnant or allergic, it is best to take caution and avoid goji berries. Speak to your doctor before consumption.
- 45g Chinese yam (adjust the amount of Chinese yam and/or pumpkin to your liking)
- 45g pumpkin
- 100g millet
- 10g Goji berries
- 1300g water (you can use less than a litre for a thicker consistency)
*You can also substitute water with chicken broth for a different flavour.
How to Cook:
- Rinse millet, then soak in water for 30 minutes.
- Prepare pumpkin and Chinese yam.
- Clean and peel off the skin then dice, slice or chop pumpkin and Chinese yam.
- Rinse goji berries a few times until the water is clear.
- Bring water to boil, put in millet and stir in one direction for 3 minutes until you see soup become cloudy and denser.
- Be sure to skim the foam. Add millet only AFTER water is boiling.
- Put in pumpkin and Chinese yam to boil for another 3-5 minutes (boil longer if you prefer a very tender pumpkin)
- Turn down to very low heat, put the lid on the pot and keep millet simmering for another 15 minutes.
- Remove lid, stir in one direction for 8-10 minutes (you should see a creamy broth)
- Put in goji berries 5 minutes before you turn off the heat. Take care not to overcook it to prevent loss of nutrition.
- Serve hot with sugar or enjoy it plain with other pickled vegetables, or rice if you like.
Abalone and Shredded Chicken Porridge
If you are feeling fancy and would like to add abalone to your porridge, it can also be a nutritious choice.
In Asian cultures, abalone has long been appreciated for its health benefits, including healthy eyes and skin. All thanks to its rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin C.
Note: However like all foods, it is advised to eat abalone in moderation as it is considered a shellfish variety, and could amount to higher cholesterol levels. Individuals should also note of potential allergic reactions to shellfish.
- 1/4 cup cooked rice
- 100ml chicken stock
- 400ml water + more to cook till desired consistency
- 2 dried scallops
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp shallot oil
- 1 tbsp abalone brine
- 1-2 small abalones (sliced)
- 1 small piece of roasted/blanched chicken breast (shredded)
- Pinch of salt & pepper to taste
- Fried fritters
- Spring onion, diced
- Shredded ginger
- Fried shallots
- Combine water, chicken stock, dried scallops and cooked rice in pot.
- Add minced ginger and shallot oil.
- Cook till it comes to a boil, then simmer on low heat further. Add abalone brine.
- Add water if necessary. Make sure to stir consistently.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add shredded chicken breast, reserve some aside to top on porridge.
- Add abalone slices. Serve.
- Optional: fried fritters, diced spring onion, shredded ginger and fried shallots.
All images are via iStock unless stated otherwise.