Rice Porridge

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Chinese Rice Porridge (Congee) Recipe
With Side Dishes

Rice porridge (zhou) with side dishes

Rice congee is often the Chinese baby’s first solid food. It is also fodder for the convalescing when bland food is called for. But it is best enjoyed as a foil for savoury side dishes, most commonly for breakfast.

Serves 3–4


1 cup rice (long, medium or short grain) 

6 cups water

Side Dishes: 

There is no fixed list of side dishes, but in Taiwan, most accompaniments are pre-prepared, preserved dishes, many quite salty. These can be found at your Chinese grocery store. A typical range of side dishes is pictured in the photo: from the left, clockwise: Chinese sausage, fermented tofu in chilli, dried oriental radish (daikon), bamboo shoots in chilli oil, stewed peanuts, pickled young ginger, pickled celtuce stem, and in the centre, salty duck eggs. Try also Anchovies with Peanuts and Pickled Cucumber Salad.


  1. Wash rice until water is reasonable clear, drain
  2. Boil water, add rice
  3. Stir as you bring rice to boil again
  4. Simmer on a very low heat for 20 minutes, (do not cover). Last 5 minutes may need an occasional stir to prevent sticking
  5. Turn heat off. Stir to equalise heat
  6. Put lid on pot and let rest for 10 minutes
  7. Serve with accompaniments

For a variation add a teaspoon of finely diced ginger. You can substitute the cucumber with another vegetable such as radish, kohlrabi, cabbage or Chinese cabbage.

qīng zhōu xiǎocài

The rice dish itself is also known as 稀飯 xīfàn.


Fish fry with peanuts

Spicy Fish Fry with Peanuts
A classic Chinese savoury appetiser. This dry fried dish is served daily by thousands of small noodle and dumpling shops across Taiwan. As a salty/spicy snack, it also goes well with an ice-cold beer or two.