Vegetarian Congee with egg

Vegetarian Rice Congee

My version of a slow-simmered vegetarian congee with stock and sauteed mushrooms. A really filling and delicious savory breakfast!

Congee, or rice porridge, is one of my favorite savory breakfasts to make. Depending on the culture, it has many names all over the world, but is essentially slow-simmered rice. For some reason, it has never really caught on in the US, which is a complete mystery to me. This vegetarian congee is an easy version of the dish.

Congee, or jook, probably is not a weekday breakfast because the rice needs to simmer for a while to get really tender, but if you have the time, Vegetarian congee is a fantastic treat and one that most Americans haven’t tried.

Vegetarian or Vegan Congee

Congee will traditionally have some meat in it, but not much. Sometimes it will have some sliced pork or shredded chicken, but it’s very easy to make vegetarian. I just use vegetarian stock while simmering it and then top it with all sorts of sauteed vegetables. 

If you wanted to make this vegan, the only switch you would need to make is to leave out the egg. Add all the vegetables, chiles, or herbs to make it your own after that!

What kind of rice to use for Congee?

The nice thing about congee is that you can use any rice for it really. But, depending on what rice you use, you’ll get different results. If you use a short-grained rice, it will almost all dissolve into a porridge. You won’t even be able to recognize it as rice. 

Meanwhile, if you use a long grain rice, like jasmine rice, like I did for this recipe, it’ll have a bit more texture to it which I prefer. 

Vegetarian Congee rice
A little rice goes a long way.

If you happen to have leftover rice, then I would absolutely just use that. It’s easiest to make congee out of leftover rice since it is already softened and by simmering it you will quickly break it down. 

Making the Congee Recipe

I normally make my congee in just a pot on the stove. The other option that’s easy is the slow cooker. You could also use a pressure cooker if you wanted, but it seems like overkill to me to bust out the big equipment for what is essentially boiled rice. 

To get this started, you’ll also need some vegetable broth and a few dried chilies if you want to add some spice to the congee.

Simmering rice for congee.
Simmer simmer.

I usually start with 6-7 cups of liquid per cup of rice when I’m making congee and most of that liquid should be water. I usually do five cups of water, one cup of stock, and one cup of rice. 

Bring the liquid to a simmer and then stir in your rice and let it simmer until it starts to breakdown. If the mixture gets too thick at any point, you need to add more water! My congee was almost done after 35-40 minutes of simmering and stirring occasionally. Once the congee gets to this point, you can start seasoning it. It’ll need a BIG pinch of salt and pepper for starters. 

Taste as you season to make sure it has good flavor.

The cooking time on congee can vary drastically depending on the kind of rice you are using and if you are using leftover rice or uncooked rice. There’s not a perfect recipe for every case, but it’s also very hard to mess up. Just simmer and stir until the rice has a porridge consistency. If it is too thick, then add more liquid!

How to make this in the Slow Cooker

Since this is a simmered recipe, it’s pretty easy to adapt. Just add your liquid and rice and aromatics to your slow cooker and cook on low for up to eight hours or on high for 3-4 hours. 

Once the congee is made, you will want to stir it well to make sure the rice is broken down and season it well, to taste, with pinches of salt, pepper, and maybe even a splash of soy sauce or sesame oil. 

Making the Toppings

Most traditional congee dishes involve some sort of meat — pork is the standard. When I wanted to make a veggie version, I headed straight for the mushroom aisle.

I sliced up a few Shiitake mushrooms and crimini mushrooms and then sautéed them over medium high heat in a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet. At the very end I hit them with a small drizzle of soy sauce just to up the savory flavors even more.

Mushrooms for congee.
Two kinds work nicely.

I also wanted to top my bowls with soft-boiled eggs, but those are optional.

Here are a few other topping ideas!

  • Sauteed peppers and onions. Cook the peppers and onions slowly in a skillet until they are caramelized, almost like in a cheesesteak. Then add those to the congeebowls. 
  • Ginger and Garlic. You can add lots of aromatics to the broth while cooking to infuse your congee with flavors. Ginger and garlic are easy ones, but also dried chiles are nice.
  • Cheese Congee. This is very not traditional, but if you stir in a little hard cheese (like parmesan) right at the end of cooking, it’s very good.
  • Dessert Version. While I prefer a savory congee, it’s not too hard to swing this into the sweet category. Think about topping it with strawberry jams, peanut butter, and maybe a splash of cream or nutella.
Sauteed mushrooms for congee.
Don’t forget a dash of soy sauce!

Finishing the Vegetarian Congee

Topping options are infinite for this Vegetarian congee. Beyond the egg, I also added some fresh cilantro and chives and a few spoonfuls of chili garlic sauce. Green onions, fried shallots, or basically any herb would go great with these bowls. 

You can get crazy with the toppings though. Any crunchy veggie works great. Anything pickled is a good idea. Anything spicy will find its way into my bowl.

Note on using leftover rice

If you want to use leftover rice for this, which is what I do in the cookbook, just decrease the liquid by about half since the rice is already cooked. It’ll take less time but the rice should still almost dissolve into a thick porridge. This is one of my new favorite breakfasts to serve people because it’s not on the standard American breakfast menu, but it should be.

Vegetarian Congee Video – How To

Vegetarian Congee or Jook.

My Vegetarian Congee Recipe with Soft-boiled Eggs

Vegetarian Rice Congee

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Serves 3-4
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Vegetarian Congee with egg
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My version of a slow-simmered rice congee with vegetable stock and sauteed mushrooms. A really filling and delicious meal!

Ingredients

1 cup long-grain rice
5 cups water
1 cup vegetable stock
2-3 dried arbol chilis (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Soft-boiled eggs
Chili Garlic Sauce
Fresh chives
Fresh cilantro

Instructions

1) Bring the water and stock to a simmer in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium and stir in rice. Let simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until rice thickens, about 30-40 minutes. If at any point the rice looks too thick, add more water.

2) When the rice is a porridge consistency season it well with salt and pepper. Keep the porridge warm over low heat until you’re ready to serve.

3) For mushrooms, slice thin. Add a drizzle of oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrooms and cook until the mushrooms lose their liquid and soften, about five minutes. At the end of cooking, hit the shrooms with a small drizzle of soy sauce.

4) Spoon congee into a bowl and top with mushrooms, soft-boiled egg, herbs, chili sauce and mushrooms.

Nutrition Info

Here are a few other recipe ideas to try!

208 Responses to “Vegetarian Rice Congee” Leave a comment

  1. I put an egg on top of a lot of meals to spice them up. or throw on some za’atar which is delicious on so many dishes!

  2. I do not do so well with hot/spicy. I tend to use different types/flavors of vinegar to brighten up food. As with spices a little splash of the right vinegar can make a big difference.

  3. I like a little paprika on things… corn on the cob, baked avocado, garlic bread. I like the color it gives…. color makes everything taste better!!

  4. Shakin’ up breakfast again, I see. Looks delicious. I like anything spicy any time. Hot peppers and breakfast go together like peas and carrots.

  5. This sounds very straightforward and delicious, but honestly, my rice cooker’s spoiled me — despite it taking longer to cook with, usually, I pretty much never cook rice outside of it now. I wonder if it would be possible to even do this in my 3-cup rice cooker, given how much liquid is necessary…?

    anyways, answering the question: scallions are a must, and I know everyone goes “sriracha, sriracha” like it were a buddhist sutra, but I prefer mae ploy for topping my rice dishes. It’s sweeter, got more body, but still has just a little bit of kick. It’s awesome. As for veggies, I’ve been on a CRAZY radish bender recently, so I’d probably quick-pickle some sliced radishes and throw those on top.

    1. Hey Zach, you definitely don’t want or need to use a rice cooker for this. The whole idea is to overcook the rice until it starts to breakdown so you just need a big pot with a lot of liquid. I don’t think a rice cooker could hold the required amount of liquid for it…

  6. Fresh herbs are my go to. I can keep rosemary going thru the winter, but really am looking forward to fresh basil, oregano, and mint that we will have this summer. There is nothing like fresh basil!

  7. I spice things up with chiles we grow ourselves. We focused on tabasco peppers and Malaylasian green hot peppers last year and preserved them in a few ways so depending on the type of dish I add the preferred spice!

  8. On a regular basis I’ll buy a can of chipotle peppers and dump them all + adobo into the food processor. I pulse it really good then keep it in a jar in the fridge. I add a generous spoonful to almost every dish I make, including my eggs. I’ve yet to find a hot sauce that lives up to this simple technique. It’s especially good in chili or asian dishes. (Your sesame noodles recipe really rocks with it!)

  9. I actually miss congee. When I was in China, we had it daily for breakfast. It was an acquired taste (particularly since their version involved dried fish on top!). At home, I spice things up with fresh herbs from my garden and either Siracha or Chalula.

  10. Hmmm — to spice up a dish, we tend to add sriracha, or smokes paprika, or chili flakes. To brighten a dish, we add lemon, champagne vinegar, or umeboshi vinegar!

    1. Hey Elena!

      Congrats! You won the sweepstakes on Macheesmo. Someone will contact you shortly for contact information. :) Cheers! Nick

  11. I use a lot of fresh seasonings and vegetables from the farmer’s market to add flavor to everything.

  12. I like to change it up once and a while and have something hot and spicy like chili and rice.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  13. Being deathly allergic to chilis and peppers, I find it difficult to add much heat to a dish. I use horseradish, ginger, and several other things for heat. Mostly I use herbs (cilantro, chives, basil, thyme, garlic, onion), vinegars, and citrus to flavor up my dishes.

  14. I spice up my meals by trying veggies I haven’t had before or preparing them in a way that is new to me. I also like a little bit of garlic & onions & pepper.

  15. Your recipe sounds delicious. I would use this to make a chicken dish along with the rice. My family loves chicken.
    Thanks so much.

  16. I use seasonings to spice my meals up! I would use this to spice up my chicken and rice stirfry.

  17. haven’t tried but

    ENGLAND

    LAYERED RICE PUDDING sounds lovely!

    currently spice up our meals with ethnic spices and ethnic meals in addition to our staples

  18. Rice is a great side dish for spicy foods, keeping the heat a little lower! It’s great for indian and southern fare. Tonight I had rice with jambalaya.

  19. When it comes to spicing up my meals, it usually involves hot sauce, like Tapatio, Sriracha or my favorite chipotle salsa. Yum!

  20. I love to add rosemary to meals. It is good for you and it is delicious. With the rice though I would add in some spinach for a rice Florentine.

  21. I love big bowl dishes like these where you almost have to be interactive while eating it, instead of just cutting it with a knife and eating it. This take some mixing and each bite can be different. Awesome..

  22. I grow herbs in my garden, and use them extensively to keep my homemade food interesting. For desserts in particular, I am a huge fan of substituting cardamom for cinnamon in many places. It makes the BEST rice pudding in particular.

  23. hmmm…as far as spicing up my meals…i usually follow recipes and do as i am told in the kitchen – i need to branch out more! maybe i might toss in a bit of extra seasoning?

  24. Ooh this looks awesome. I think a little charshu and siracha with maybe toasted garlic would be awesome in this!

  25. Awesome recipe! I am vegetarian and love congee but rarely find it without chicken stock or meat- definatly making this soon.
    I like to spice up my meals by making dishes from different cuisines- indian, japanese, lebanese, greek etc. i made a great persian lentil rice pilaf the other night!

  26. I usually add peppers, whether jalapeno or habanero to my dish. Just enough to ad a kick but not overpowering.

  27. I’ve been experimenting with and growing for myself all kinds of new peppers! It’s been a great experience.

  28. we are pretty bland. If anything we use minced garlic, sometimes diced tomatoes to meals:)

    jmatek AT wi DOT rr DOT com

  29. I would use it to make fried rice. I used to make that all the time with stir-fried veggies, but I haven’t tried it in ages. It’s so delicious I should dig that recipe out and try it again.

  30. I like to spice up my meals by adding interesting ingredients and fresh herbs to make them more interesting.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  31. I spice up my meals with variety – I try at least one new recipe for a main dish and/or side dish each week as well as a new dessert each weekend. Thanks for the chance to win!

  32. I spice meals up by making favorite dishes with different ingredients! I try to switch up the spices to see what the result will taste like!

  33. my kids love spicy foods so I love to incorporate spices and hot sauce to meals! I even carry hot sauce in my purse at all times!

  34. I put soy sauce on Chinese dishes and garam masala in Indian dishes and serve them over rice
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  35. we use diced tomatoes, garlic and cilantro to spice things up a little.

    jmatek AT wi DOT rr DOT com

  36. I use basmati rice (but now will use jasmati as well). I like using cloves, turmeric (love indian flavors), kung pao sauce and cayenne.

    ky2here at msn dot com

  37. I like to spice things up by trying new recipes. There’s an orange chicken crock pot recipe I really want to try. I would love to try it with RiceSelect!

  38. I SPICE UP MY RECIPES BY ADDING “NOT-YOUR-EVERYDAY” INGREDIENTS & SAUCY TOPPINGS!!

  39. I try to add in at least one new recipe per week to our family’s meals. It really helps to keep the family from getting bored with the same foods.

  40. I would use the Jasmati Rice to make my cilantro-lime rice for my Pork Carnitas Burritos!

  41. My stomach doesn’t like food that’s very spicy so I rely on a variety of herbs to liven up meals.

  42. I would love to make a delicious stir-fry.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  43. When I can’t use fresh herbs I tend to add in either dry mustard or cayenne pepper to spice my dishes up.

  44. We have a wide variation in tolerance to spicy dishes in the family, so I tend to stick to those that are moderate, and keep some more intense flavorings to be added by those who want them. Rice is good because it can be adjusted to any taste.

  45. I love experimenting with new ingredients and spices. One recent discovery I love is dukkah

  46. I would use it with some chicken and veggies or make a pork free jambalaya

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  47. I spice up recipes, depending on if its sweet/savory with some of the following.
    Cumin (burgers, meats), Sriracha sauce (anything that needs spice), hoisen sauce (when you want a sweet kick in a savory dish)

  48. I like to use fresh herbs (just got mine planted yesterday) and barring that, I love cinnamon and cumin.

  49. I normally don’t use a lot of spices, besides pepper flakes, but this rice would be awesome with stir fry

  50. I like to spice up my meals with spice. Sounds lame I know, but I like to try new seasoning salts and seasoning spice mixes etc. added to dishes I already make to give them a new twist! Rice is a great dish to do this with, because every spice makes the rice new!

  51. I haven’t tried congee before– I really would like to! We just never HAVE any leftover rice– my kids are carb addicts and scrape everything out of the rice cooker whenever I make rice. Since we cook a combination of Southern and Tex-Mex most of the time, rice is on the table several times a week, and we buy it in 25lb bags. I’d like to try rice pudding sometime, too . . . I haven’t had any since I was 11!

  52. We eat a lot of stir fry dishes with rice and I want to try some of these varieties instead of our plain white rice.

  53. This recipe looks great. We eat rice a lot in my household and I have made something similar to this. Rice porridge with chicken and topped with some stir fried veggies like snap peas, broccoli, or even boiled corn. I’m looking into making new rice dishes and will probably try to bake rice with lemon chicken spiced up with herbs.

  54. I haven’t used a lot of different spices so to make my cooking more interesting I keep recipes that have new spices and try to make them at least once to add variety and spice to our dinner meals.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  55. To spice things up we add fresh peppers and different types of veggies. :) Yum now I am starting to get hungry !!

  56. I spice up my meals by adding veggies and seasonings like garlic, cayenne, curry powder and sometimes hot sauce

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