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How to Cook Porridge/Congee (Stove-top Method)

Cooking porridge is one of the easiest things ever. Even easier than cooking rice to me, because there is hardly any risk of using the wrong amount of water – you can easily add more water during cooking if the water dries out, or you if add too much water, the cooked porridge will soak it up after some time (or you can also ladle away a top layer of water). So forgive me for posting such a simple tutorial. But easy as this may be, I was completely clueless when I wanted to cook porridge for the first time. So this little step-by-step pictorial tutorial is for those who have not cooked porridge before :)

Step-by-Step Photos

How to cook porridge

Wash rice grains, use your hand to give the water a few swirls and then discard water. You may want to repeat this more than once – some people like to rinse until the water is completely clear, while others like to rinse once while the water is still a bit opaque.

Tip: the amount of rice used for cooking porridge will be slightly less than the amount for cooking rice, at least for me. For example, I usually cook 1 cup of rice for 2-3 persons, but when I’m cooking porridge, I cook 3/4 cup of rice instead.

How to cook porridge
Fill pot halfway with water. It is not really necessary to measure the water because it is very forgiving. It is better to add too much water than too little, as the cooked porridge will soak up the excess liquid. Anytime the water runs dry (you will hear ‘popping’ sounds), just add hot water to keep the porridge watery and simmering.

How to cook porridge
Cover with lid and bring the pot to a boil.

How to cook porridge
When the pot comes to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Leave the lid partially opened. This step is VERY important. Otherwise, the water may bubble out of the lid and create a terrible mess and also pose a potential hazard.

How to cook porridge
Every 10 minutes or so, use a soup ladle to gently scrap the bottom of the pan to loosen and dislodge the rice grains that stick to the bottom.

How to cook porridge
Cook the porridge according to the consistency you like. If you still want to see the rice grain, it usually takes about 20 minutes.


How to cook porridge
Another 10 minutes and the grains separates. This is the consistency I like. You can simmer even longer for a more watery, finer and more congee-like consistency.

54 comments on “How to Cook Porridge/Congee (Stove-top Method)”

  1. Great pics, clear step by step instructions!
    If you want slightly gooey porridge, can consider adding a little glutinous rice.

  2. now i can learn to cook porridge from this post.. haha :D nice post~

  3. I like to cook my congee with chicken stock (normally from 1 whole chicken). I love the addition of 1000 year egg too, but I haven’t got the chance to buy it. Your chicken bowl looks beautifully rustical!

  4. This is great to see since I’ve never made congee but want to! Can’t wait to see your condiments to go with it.

  5. Congee is one of my favorite comfort foods. I will drag my butt out of bed when I am sick just to make some to slurp down with pickled vegetables (za cai). Love your detailed tutorial. I do have a bad habit of walking away and letting it boil over or get stuck to the bottom O:).

  6. Yes, I agree, porridge is easier to cook than rice!

  7. Hey Noob, great post! I always crave congee whenever I see it on blogs. Can one use whole grain rice though? I’m trying to cut my refined flours/rices and such.
    p.s. Your instructional photos are great. I always wish I had someone to help me take those-no such luck though (smile)…

    • whole grain like brown rice? Yes you can totally do whole that for a healthier version :)

      Thanks for your kind words… haha I have no “assistant” for photo taking too. Sometimes I’ll be at a weird angle posing the pot with one hand and holding the camera on the other hand :p

  8. I love love love plain porridge, so good, so so good. Now I only eat such plain porridge when I visit Teochew porridge stalls. I have not bought white (refined) rice for some time already.

  9. I love jook too, but haven’t figured out how to make it taste right… Am anxiously waiting for your post on the flavorings!

  10. I have the same thermal pot which I use for soups. Prefer to cook porridge using the rice cooker as I am too lazy to stir constantly and watch the fire. My previous attempts to cook porridge using the pot and stove is disastrous. The rice got stuck to the bottom of the pot and water spilled out. Had a hard time wiping the mess. This tutorial is so useful for beginners as recipe books always assumed that everyone knows the basic. Thanks for the effort.

    • I have not tried cooking porridge in the rice cooker though my sis does that all the time … I must find out how one day. Yours is the tiger thermal pot right? yes it’s really good for making soups hehe … Thanks for your encouragement :)

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