This basic congee recipe is delicious any time of day.
On our recent trip to Vietnam, we enjoyed a good bowl or two of beef congee every morning. At one hotel, I asked the chef how it was made and I was invited into the kitchen the next morning to watch it being prepared. This basic congee recipe is so easy to prepare and tastes just like those we enjoyed all over Vietnam.
What is congee?
Like so many south east Asian dishes, Congee has Chinese origins. In Cantonese, it is called jook. The work ‘congee’ is actually a Tamil word so this version was also inspired by Indian or Sri Lankan settlers to Vietnam. Most south east Asian cuisines have their own version of congee.
Put simply, congee is a porridge made with rice. In can be vegetarian or include different meats such as chicken, beef, pork and seafood but beef congee was the most popular version we saw in Vietnam.
As congee is a porridge, it is a popular breakfast dish but it’s served for breakfast lunch and dinner. It’s comfort food like no other and we make this beef version often at home.
What kind of rice is used in congee
I have seen all sorts of rice used in congee. Jasmine rice is popular as is Basmati.
Personally, I prefer using broken Basmati rice. It’s cheaper and achieves the same end result. No point using more expensive rice for a congee!
How do I use other types of meat in a congee?
If using minced pork, lamb or chicken, you can follow this congee recipe exactly. The cooking method is the same.
You might also like to try seafood. When I do this I usually use a mixture of seafood stock and water. Then you can add your seafood of choice to cook through just before serving.
What goes well with beef congree?
In Vietnam, congee was served just like they do a good pho. The congee is served at the table with salt and pepper and sometimes chilli flakes.
Then there is always a good selection of herbs such as coriander (cilantro) and mint that can be added to taste. Fresh chopped chillies and spring onions (scallions) are usually close by too.
I like to serve mine with additional soy sauce and/or hot sauce
Step by step beef congee photographs…
If you like this beef congee recipe, you might like to try some of these recipes too…
- FOR THE BEEF
- 500g (1 ¼ lbs) minced beef
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 500ml (2 cups) water
- FOR THE RICE
- 210g (1 cup) Broken basmati, Basmati or Jasmine rice
- 2.5L (10 cups) water, plus more if needed
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (more or less to taste)
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed (optional)
- 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, sliced into 3 pieces and smashed (optional)
- TO SERVE
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
- 4 green chillies, thinly sliced
- Soy Sauce to serve
- Rinse the rice in several changes of water until the water runs almost clear. Cover with clean water to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook, place the mince beef in a mixing bowl and add the sesame oil and fish sauce. Mix it all up to combine. Then add water to the beef until it looks like a thick porridge.
- Place a 4 – 6 litre (4 – 6 quart) pot over medium high heat and pour in the soupy minced beef. Fry, stirring continuously to break the beef down so that it is smooth with few lumps.
- Once the beef is cooked through, strain the rice and add it to the pot with 2.5 litres (10 cups) or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 90 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so until the congee looks like a creamy porridge.
- Be sure to top up with water if the congee is getting too thick but is not yet creamy smooth.
- Serve hot at the table with salt and pepper, coriander (cilantro), soy sauce and chillies that can be added to taste.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 692mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g