Silky Brown Rice Congee

So congee is a little like marmite. (Ohh…would marmite work in congee…no, stop that thought right there!) People either love or loathe this dish. Growing up in Hong Kong, I ate a LOT of it. Mr dB, however? Found it absolutely repulsive….until I made this. The congee to end all congee-hate, she writes so humbly.

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Silky, simple, but not in the least bit BORING!

Rather than a bland, white, wallpaste-y or watery, flavourless mush, congee can actually be the ultimate bowl of comfort food. Smooth, silky, bursting with flavour and customisable to just about any savoury topping you could wish for – just, maybe not crisps please. It is also a perfect way to utilise your leftovers – bones ‘n all, by using shredded roast chicken and using the bones for a delicious, brown poultry broth .

Tips and Tricks

The one and only tricky part of this recipe is getting the texture right – it should be like a thick sauce, with rice that still has some texture.

Undercook the congee, and you’ll have crunchy, watery soup, overcook it and you’ll have goopy mush. But have no fear, you can see the thickening of that starchy goodness as it develops, you just have to keep your eyes on the prize.

To troubleshoot any dryness, add in a little more water to loosen the dish up but don’t add so much that you have to reduce the liquid again, or you will risk overcooking the rice.

Silky Brown Rice Congee

Silky, simple, and requiring just a few ingredients: this is the congee to bust all negative preconceptions of such a classic south east Asian dish. Using brown rice to make the dish more nutritious, and shiitake mushrooms to add a deep umami flavour, you can easily make this a vegan dish with just 2 substitutions. Truly a bowl of comfort food if ever there was one!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Family Meal, Leftovers, Lunch, Main Course, Poultry, Soup
Cuisine: Asian, Cantonese, Chinese
Keyword: Brown Rice, Cantonese, Chicken, Congee, Dinner, Easy Dinner, Easy Recipes, Gluten free, One Pot Meal, Rice, Roast Chicken, Simple recipe, Simple Recipes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 Large saucepan I use my 4L Dutch oven style casserole pot


  • 1 litre Stock Ideally a brown, bone broth, low-sodium chicken or deep vegetable stock. 4 cups.
  • 1 litre Water 4 cups.
  • 1 cup Brown Rice I used brown jasmine, however any longer-grain brown rice will work.
  • 2 Pieces of chicken, ideally skin-on, boneless Ideally 1 thigh and 1 breast. Substitute: leftover roast chicken.

    To make it vegan: substitute for some mixed mushrooms.

  • 2-3 tbsp Ginger, fresh Finely chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 Garlic clove Finely chopped
  • 3-4 Spring onions/scallions/green onions Finely chopped; separated into green and white.
  • 4 Shiitake mushrooms, fresh If using dried shiitake, rehydrate for 10 minutes in 1/2 cup warm water. Substitute: 1 portabello, 6 chestnut/brown mushrooms.
  • 1 tbsp Neutral oil Such as grape seed, peanut, vegetable.

Toppings – anything you fancy, really!

  • Black sesame seeds; fried shallots/garlic; chilli flakes; more fresh ginger; hot sauce…

Optional if using a less flavourful stock.

  • 1 tsp Fat such as goose, duck, butter. Or white miso to keep it vegan. This will give a sumptuousness if not using a brown or bone both.


Chicken/Mixed Mushrooms.

  • Leftovers: if using roast chicken, shred half and cube/dice the other.
  • Pressure cooker method: into a metal bowl, place both the breast and thigh. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes (20 if bone-in). Natural release for 10 minutes and, once cool enough to handle, shred the breast and dice the thigh.
  • One pot method: heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan or casserole pot over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen roll and add to your pot; brown both sides, around 5-6 minutes per side. Check it is thoroughly cooked; if not, cook another minute or so each side, take the pot off the heat and set the chicken aside for later.
  • Vegan version: chop half of your mushrooms into thin slices. Dice the remaining half. Take your sliced mushrooms and in a large saucepan or casserole dish, cook over medium heat with a tsp oil until just cooked; remove the pan from the heat and set mushrooms aside for later.


  • Prepare your veggies by slicing the ginger into matchsticks, discarding the skin. Thin slice the spring onions into little rounds, discarding any withered ends and the root. Finely slice the garlic; wash, trim and simply halve the shiitake/mushrooms.

The Cook.

  • Add the remaining oil into your pan/pot (no need to wash out any chicken/mushroom juices) and place over medium heat. Add in 2/3 of your ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Next, add to the pan the chopped white spring onion and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Increase the heat a little, and add the garlic, brown rice and 1/4 cup stock which should bubble nicely. Stir for 1-2 minutes.
  • Maintaining a higher heat, add all of the water and the remaining stock. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes to stop any rice sticking.

The Next Steps.

  • After an hour, add in the diced chicken/mushrooms and shiitake. Check the seasoning if any salt is needed (this will depend on your stock), and add the remaining ginger if you'd like more of a kick!
  • Cook for another hour over low heat, until the rice has largely absorbed the liquid and the starch has created a silky texture – it shouldn't be soupy or too 'gloppy'! Stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure the congee does not dry out or begin to stick.

Serve Up.

  • Into soup bowls, ladle 1-2 helpings of congee – if you're not a big fan of the shiitake texture, avoid serving them – keep them for your stock bag.
  • Top with the green parts of the spring onion, chicken/mushrooms, any leftover fresh ginger and whatever other toppings your heart desires! Serve piping hot…unless serving to children.

We would love to hear what you think of our dish.

Please leave a comment below, or if you’ve given this or another dish a whirl, please tag us on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest so we can see your hard work!

Copyright © 2021 The dB Kitchen Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author: thedbkitchen

Niche-free recipes, created out of a pure love of food, by home cook Carmel de Bedin (that’s me!). Genuine, accessible dishes tried and taste-tested by a couple of food nerds who truly love a good meal.

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