Love porridge for breakfast? We've got a delicious recipe for you: tropical congee, an exotic spin on the classic Asian rice porridge. It's sweet, fruity, creamy — and fully vegan! Let us show you how to make it!
First time hearing of congee?
Congee is a staple Asian white rice soup made by slow-cooking rice in broth until the grains break down into a creamy porridge. It's often prepared for breakfast but can also be enjoyed at lunch or dinner instead of plain rice.
While congee is most often savoury, you can also have it sweet.
Sweet rice porridge can be made with dried fruit, nuts, sugar, milk, or coconut milk. And sometimes it's even topped with sweet fried dough for dunking!
Our breakfast porridge is based on the sweet congee recipe, and it comes with a deliciously tropical and fully plant-based twist!
So, what did we do?
We simmered the rice in water and added a blend of coconut milk and silken tofu for extra flavour and creaminess. Tofu also boosts this breakfast congee with vegan proteins, which is a nice plus!
Once the rice porridge base is ready, all you have to do is top it with tropical fruits and crunchy nuts. We used mango and peanuts, but you can choose your favourite combo!
In the recipe below, we'll also give you a handy tip on how to make congee fast. If it's your first time preparing rice porridge, you should know it takes much longer than making porridge with oats.
That's because you have to cook the rice grains long enough that they'll practically fall apart, releasing starch and thickening the porridge. This can take almost one hour — but it's worth waiting for that silky mouthfeel!
Still, if you want a quick way to make this sweet congee for breakfast, we'll tell you how to get it done in just 20 minutes. Find out how in our tips section!
- Ripe Mango (or bananas)
- Nuts (peanuts, cashews or almonds)
- Cinnamon (or cardamom or star anise)
- Maple Syrup (or raw honey)
- Long-Grain White Rice
- Coconut Milk
- Silken Tofu (optional)
To make congee, use raw long-grain rice.
Jasmine rice would be ideal, but a basic long-grain white rice will work too — even basmati rice if you already have it at home.
If you want to increase the fibres, you can also use brown rice, but keep in mind it will take longer to cook. To speed up the cooking time, we recommend pre-soaking the rice in water for at least 1 hour.
You can also make congee from already cooked rice, perfect when you have leftovers from the day before. And it's much faster! You can read how to do it in the tips section.
Ok now, rinse the raw rice once to wash away any impurities and drain it well.
At this point, you can optionally soak the washed rice in a bowl of water for 30 minutes.
This step will help rehydrate the grains, so they'll cook faster and more evenly. But if you want to jump right into cooking, you can.
Add the rice to a pot and pour in the given water.
The rice-to-water ratio in congee is about 1 to 9 — so 9 cups of water for every cup of rice.
We recommend using a deep pot for cooking the congee, like a large soup pot, as the starchy liquid from the cooking rice will bubble up and sputter.
Alternatively, you can also use a rice cooker or instant pot to make congee, as some brands also come with a congee cooking mode.
Tip in the salt, give all a good stir and bring to a boil over medium heat.
As soon as the water boils, set the heat to low, and if you can, use the smallest burner on your stove to cook the congee.
Simmer the rice, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom and burning.
You can cover the pot, placing the lid at an angle to allow the steam to escape. But watch out: the boiling water can easily overflow if the pot is not tall enough.
For congee, you want to cook the rice long enough that the grains start to break into smaller pieces.
The rice porridge should be creamy, glossy, and a little sticky.
This can take 45 minutes to 1 hour, or even longer — up to 1.5 hours.
That depends on how much rice you're cooking at once, the quality of the rice, and the heat of your stovetop.
It's also a matter of personal preference. Some folks like congee runnier with bits of rice, while others like rice porridge thicker and almost smooth.
We simmered the congee for about 50 minutes until we had very small bits of broken rice, and the porridge was thick enough that it sputtered.
Keep in mind the congee will thicken more as it cools down.
And if you feel it's too thick for your taste, you can always loosen it up with a splash of water later on.
Now, blitz canned coconut milk with silken tofu into a blender until smooth and creamy.
If you want to keep the fats low, you can swap tinned coconut milk with coconut drink — you should find it at the fresh free-from counter at your supermarket.
Silken tofu is optional. We used it to add extra creaminess and balance this carb-rich dish with proteins, turning this rice porridge into a healthier breakfast.
You can omit silken tofu if you don't like it or can't eat soy.
To still get some proteins, you can serve the congee with yogurt (regular, Greek, coconut or soy yogurt) or add split mung beans, as we did in this daal oatmeal recipe.
Now, add the coconut-tofu mix to the cooked rice porridge and stir until it's incorporated well.
You can tip in the spices now to let them infuse in the congee, or reserve them for topping. You can use ground cardamom, star anise, cloves, or cinnamon — either on their own or combined.
Simmer all for one more minute and remove from the hob.
Then, let the congee cool down slightly to thicken.
Finally, divide the vegan congee among serving bowls and get ready for topping!
Add chopped or pureed tropical fruits like mango, bananas or papaya, plus crunchy nuts like cashews, peanuts, or almonds.
Then, tip in the spices if you haven't already added them in the step before. You can even top it all off with dark chocolate shavings if you like!
And before serving, taste the congee for sweetness, adding more fruit or a drizzle of maple syrup/raw honey if you need to.
Quick Congee Option: add 200g (7 oz) of cooked rice to a pot, followed by 800ml (1.4 pints) of water. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring to help break the rice and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.