Chinese congee prepared with black rice

a thicky rice porridge soup, originally from China, called joke (โจ๊ก) here in Thailand

to do

Available at every morning market, some family-owned neighborhood restaurants only serve congee, and your hostel undoubtedly has it on the menu for breakfast.

Traditionally congee comes with white rice and pork meatballs. However, if you substitute with brown, red or black rice, this soup turns into a delicious, healthy whole grain recipe and a true power dish to start the day (whether you leave out meatballs and eggs, is up to you). Maybe the best part, you can flavour your bowl of congee with condiments and toppings like fried onion, sliced ginger,cilantro and soy sauce.

I love to slow-cook this rice porridge a day ahead, have it simmered over an outdoors charcoal fire just behind our kitchen. Today cooking over charcoal is less common in Chiang Mai and those who still do, that's where we eat. For a pad Thai slow cooked over charcoal, we don't mind driving to the other side in town.

Congee keeps good in the fridge for 3-4 days.


1.5 cup black rice
2.5l water (vegetable or chicken broth if available)
3 thumb-sized gingers, julienned
1 carrot, julienned and steamed
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tbs pepper
1 soft boiled egg per serving (optional)
soy sauce condiment


Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Reduce to low heat.
Add rice, salt and pepper. Stir vigourously.
Maintain a gentle simmer for 45-50 minutes (closed lid; about 1 hr if over charcoal),
so the grains absorb lots of water.
You sort of overcook until the rice bursts open, to get that characteristic, juicy,thick,fat texture.
Turn off the heat.

Place the soup in a blender, add the rest of the water. Blend until the rice is smooth. This is the moment when the soup becomes congee with a thick texture overall.
If you prefer the congee more liquid, pour more water.
Add the mixture into a pot, heat up for a few minutes while stirring. Again, you can play and see where you want to go with the texture. The more water, the less thick the rice texture will be.
Cool down the soup.

Add congee in a Cafe au Lait bowl, add soy sauce, perhaps an egg too.
Top with ginger, carrot and green onion.