Skip to Content

Basic Congee Recipe

Sharing is caring!

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.

Beef Congee

This basic beef congee is really easy to make and tastes amazing.

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…

Ingredients for beef congee

Get all your ingredients together before starting. It’s easier that way.

Marinating meat.

Place the beef in a bowl and add the fish sauce and soy sauce. Mix well. This can be done a day ahead of cooking, when you soak your rice if more convenient.


Mixing water with beef.

Stir in water until the beef has the same consistency as porridge. This is done so that the beef doesn’t lump up when cooking.

Beef congee cooking

Add the rice and water to the pan and simmer for at least 90 minutes or until creamy smooth.

Rice and beef cooking in congee

As the rice cooks, it will expand and the congee will take on a lighter colour.


Although the congee can be eaten after a couple of hours of cooking, you could cook it longer and it will become creamier as the rice breaks down.

basic beef congee

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with fresh herbs, chillies, spring onions (scallions) and soy sauce.

If you like this recipe, you might like to try some of these Vietnamese favourites too!

Shaking Beef
Vietnamese Rotisserie Chicken
Vietnamese Tofu with Pork Stuffing
Vietnamese Grilled Scallops
Cha Ca – Fried fish with Dill
Bo Kho – Spicy beef soup
Vietnamese Chicken Wings
Bun Cha – Grilled Pork Patties in Sauce
Chicken Pho
Beef Pho
Duck Pho
Pork on Lemongrass Skewers
Ban Xeo – Crispy Vietnamese Pancakes

Yield: 8 - 10

Basic Congee Recipe

Beef congee
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 500g (1 ¼ lbs) minced beef
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 500ml (2 cups) water
  • 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)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • 4 green chillies, thinly sliced
  • Soy Sauce to serve


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Be sure to top up with water if the congee is getting too thick but is not yet creamy smooth.
  6. Serve hot at the table with salt and pepper, coriander (cilantro), soy sauce and chillies that can be added to taste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 692mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g

Did you like this recipe?

Please join me on Facebook where I share all my latest recipes and videos. Just click that Facebook icon on the left and let's get to know each other!

I hope you enjoy this basic beef congee recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 


Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!