Congee is eaten in China for breakfast or as an all day snack. Plain congee is served with lots of different condiments to sprinkle over it and often a fried dough stick. Fried dough sticks are available in Chinese shops and are sold as long thin sticks, best eaten fresh on the day they are made, or grilled until crisp again.


  • 200 g (7 oz) short-grain rice
  • 2.25 litres (9 cups) chicken stock or water
  • light soy sauce, to taste
  • sesame oil, to taste
  • white pepper, to taste


  • 3 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 handful coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 30 g (1 oz) sliced pickled ginger
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped preserved turnip
  • 4 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 2 one-thousand-year-old eggs, cut into slivers
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 fried dough sticks, diagonally sliced


  1. Put the rice in a bowl and, using your fingers as a rake, rinse under cold running water to remove any dust. Drain the rice in a colander. Place in a clay pot, casserole or saucepan and stir in the stock or water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for 1¾–2 hours, or until it has a porridge-like texture and the rice is breaking up.
  2. Add a sprinkling of soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper to season the congee. The congee can be served plain, or choose a selection from the toppings listed and serve in bowls alongside the congee for guests to help themselves.