Congee is a creamy rice porridge that is often served for breakfast but is cozy and satisfying at any time of day. The toppings make the dish – this one is finished with crisp fried shallots and soft boiled eggs.
Even though congee originates from China, it’s popular all over Asia and was a staple for Frank and I when we lived in Thailand. When I walked to work on warm Bangkok mornings I would pass vendors ladling steaming hot congee into bowls at stalls along the street. It smelled starchy and strangely familiar and turned fragrant when handfuls of fresh herbs were piled on top. Morning, noon, or night, if I felt a cold coming on, or needed something warm and comforting, congee was my go-to. The best was to find congee at breakfast buffets in hotels where there would be elaborate toppings set out to pile on top. Crispy fried shallots were always my favorite. (Like tiny little onion rings!) Now, when I make congee at home, I like it with a soft-boiled egg, herbs, and of course, crispy fried shallots. I have a fail-proof method for making them – see below!
What is Congee?
Congee is rice porridge that is made by simmering a small amount of rice in a large amount of water until the rice breaks down and turns silky and smooth. The congee is sometimes simmered with stock or chicken to add flavor.
For making congee in the Instant Pot, the ratio should be 1:8 rice to water.
Toppings for Congee
The best part of congee is the toppings! The sky is the limit, but here are some favorites:
- Fresh herbs (cilantro, green onions)
- Roasted peanuts
- Toasted coconut
- Fish sauce or soy sauce
- Crispy bacon
- Soft or hard boiled eggs
- Crispy fried shallots or garlic
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Shredded chicken or pork
- Sliced chili peppers
How to Make Crispy Fried Shallots
I love mixing up my congee toppings, but there always has to be something with crunch. Crispy fried shallots have the tiniest bit of natural sweetness and awesome crunch. They’re like tiny little onion rings, and disappear crazy fast.
To make crispy fried shallots:
- Slice the shallots evenly (so they finish cooking at the same time)
- Add the shallots to room temperature oil and bring the heat up slowly
- Fry the shallots slowly, stirring often, until golden brown, ~10 minutes
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate
- Sprinkle with some salt
- Serve within 2-3 days!
Congee can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove to serve. The congee may thicken as it sits, so stir in some water if needed.
More Easy Thai Recipes
- Instant Pot Thai Panang Curry
- Thai Crispy Rice
- Thai Chicken Satay
- Mango Sticky Rice
- How to Make Thai Fried Rice
Instant Pot Congee
- 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker
- 1 cup Jasmine Rice, uncooked
- 8 cups Water
- 2 inches Fresh Ginger, peeled (optional)
- ¼ tsp Salt
- Rinse rice under cool water.
- Combine rice, water, ginger, and salt in the bowl of an Instant Pot / pressure. (Note: If using ginger, add the piece of grated ginger whole so that it will infuse the congee with flavor but can be removed at the end of cooking. If you like a more intense ginger flavor, you can grate the ginger into the congee, but use half as much as listed.)
- Close and lock the lid.
- Set the pressure cook / manual setting on high for 22 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally. (Note: This is important. Congee is very starchy and, if the pressure is manually released, it may foam and clog the pressure release valve.)
- If you added a whole piece of ginger to the congee, remove and discard the ginger.
- Unlock the lid. Serve congee warm.
I can always tell when I’ve left my phone somewhere in reach of the girls because I later discover quality 4-year-old twin selfies like this one…
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