How do you like your congee: with everything on top or on the side?

In Asia where rice is a staple, congee is a dish found in just about every cuisine. But how congee is cooked and served differ from culture to culture and region to region. Some people cook the rice in water until the mixture is almost a paste. Others prefer a thin soup. Even the kind of rice used, whether sticky or not, varies. In short, there is no singular way to cook congee.

In terms of how congee is served, however, there seems to be only two. The congee in a bowl with an assortment of meat, seafood and vegetables on the side or everything inside the bowl — congee with meat, seafood and vegetables on top. Personally, I have no real preference whether the everything is served on the side or inside the bowl. But I want the everything to be generous, of varying textures and quite meaty.

Congee with chicken, Chinese sausage, black mushrooms and whole egg

The everything can be anything. If you think of congee as a neutral base, there really is no rule as to what can go with it. The meat or seafood can be plain boiled or grilled. Add interesting textures, colors and shapes with ingredients like fried tofu skin and mushrooms. Want contrast in flavor? Try slices of Chinese sausage. And, to make a bowl of congee really filling, a whole egg which can be cracked straight into the hot congee or pre-boiled with the yolk fully cooked or still runny.

Congee with chicken, Chinese sausage, black mushrooms and whole egg

And then there are the little extras that really perk up a bowl of congee. Toasted garlic. Crisp onion slices. Thinly sliced scallions. Cilantro. And, if that’s not enough flavor and aroma, squeeze half a kalamansi or a wedge of lime into the bowl of congee and drizzle with a little patis (fish sauce).

For Filipino style congee, or lugaw as we call it, see the following:

Foods to make you feel better
Goto (beef tripe) congee
Chicken arroz caldo with premature chicken eggs
Congee is rice porridge is arroz caldo

  • angustia

    Lugaw….or lelot (Pampango)…..with everything on top! And a big bowl. Your photo looks so inviting….but I’ll need 3 times the size of that, at least. :)

    Yum! I like your site. happy to have stumbled on it. I’d put you among my faves.

    • Connie Veneracion

      Three times that size? Whoa. :D

  • crisma

    Looking at this post is so tempting me to make one rigt now! Kahit na wala akong malagkit rice. And kahit walang typhoon. Dati kasi when my Mama was alive, a typhoon would mean congee time for us.

  • natzsm

    When I am at home, I put everything in the bowl.

    In the restaurant, I ask that they serve the toppings rather sidings on the side, simply because they occupy space in the bowl. I end up with more congee this way. After eating a few spoonfuls of the congee, I mix everything in! :)

  • Connie Veneracion

    Crisma, we associate congee with illness hahaha. I cooked the congee because Alex had indigestion the night before and congee would be easier to digest. :)

    Natzsm, there is a view that if the “everything” is served on the side, the congee is a snack. If they come as toppings, the congee is a main dish. :)

  • angustia

    Btw Connie, do you have any recipe of ginataang mais?

  • Connie Veneracion

    If you use the search bar near the top of the page, I’m sure you’ll find it. :)