Growing up in a Vietnamese household, the only time you ever really ate cháo or Vietnamese rice porridge, was when you were sick. I was never the biggest fan of it because it was always so plain, but now that I’m older & more adventurous with my cooking, I’m revisiting the dish. Borrowing some ingredients from other Asian countries, it’s easy to create a perfectly seasoned rice porridge/cháo/congee that’s great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Use this recipe as a base for whatever delightful protein you choose to add to it whether it’s tofu, fish, an assortment of vegetables & mushrooms, or meat.
How to Reheat: It’s best to reheat rice porridge in a small sauce pan with about half a cup of broth or water & part of bouillon cube or paste. I use about a teaspoon of Hon Dashi (bonito fish stock), but you can use whatever you’d like. Reheating on the stove top allows me to add uncooked ingredients like mushrooms, egg, or tofu. You can also do the same thing in the microwave.
- Preserved Duck Egg aka Century Egg
- Fried onions
- Soy sauce or tamari or ponzu sauce
- Tofu or any other protein
- Mushrooms (I love using shiitake & enoki!)
- 1. Rinse rice in a strainer until the water runs slightly milky. Don't worry if it's still murky looking, it's normal!
- 2. In a dutch oven or a large nonstick pot, add rice & water, Hon Dashi, soy sauce, wakame, ginger, carrots, & cabbage. Stir to mix. Place a lid over the pot & bring it to a boil on medium heat.
- 3. When the broth comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. Lift the lid, leaving it slightly ajar so that the pot is not covered completely. Cook for an hour & 15 minutes or until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally & add more water when needed.
- 4. Remove from heat & ladle the porridge in a bowl, topping it with your favorite ingredients.
- Whether you have short grain, long grain, jasmine, or brown rice it doesn't matter. You can use any rice you have on hand!
- Hon Dashi can be found at an Asian grocery store. It can be expensive (well worth it though, highly recommend), so a great alternative is any sort of vegetable bouillon whether it's a paste or in little cubes.
- If you're not a fan of wakame, try using a few 7-10 cm pieces of dried kombu. That way you can remove the kombu when you're ready to eat the soup.