Congee Rice Porridge With Shrimp

Shrimp congee

Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
165 Calories
2g Fat
22g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 3028mg 132%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 9mg 47%
Calcium 112mg 9%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 347mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In most Southeast-Asian countries, breakfast often takes the form of soup, noodles, or "congee" (porridge), which is actually a kind of thick rice soup. This rice porridge recipe is a good example, although I am more apt to make it for dinner. It's a soothing, comfort food, and excellent during cold weather. Whether cooked in a slow cooker, or on the stove, it's extremely easy to make, low in fat and calories, and healthy too (see my substitutions for whole grains).


  • 7 cups chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice

  • 1/2 to 1 cup small fresh or frozen prawns, or shrimp, thawed if frozen

  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal, or ginger, peeled and finely grated

  • Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

  • 3 medium spring onions, finely sliced

  • 1 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste

  • Fresh red chilies, sliced, or Thai red chili sauce, optional for serving

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, optional for serving

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, optional for serving

  • 1 dash white pepper, or black pepper, optional for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Although you can make this recipe on the stove, it's easier to use a slow cooker (this way you won't have to keep checking on it, as it needs to cook quite a long time). Place broth and rice in a slow cooker on "high" (or "low" if cooking all day or overnight). Cover and allow to cook for at least 2 hours, or until rice is very soft. Tip: The rice should lose a lot of its form so that it looks almost like cream of wheat, or very soft, watery rice.

  2. Add prawns to the slow cooker for the last 5 to 10 minutes - just long enough to cook them.

  3. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little more broth or water.

  4. Add 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce plus the ginger, and stir. Do a taste test for saltiness, adding up to 2 tablespoons more fish sauce if not salty enough. (If too salty, add 1-2 tablespoons lime juice). Note: Keep in mind that you'll be adding a little soy sauce to the soup before eating, which will also add to the saltiness.

  5. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh coriander, basil, and spring onion.

  6. Serve with pepper and the sauces mentioned above (red chili sauce or fresh cut red chili, soy sauce, and sesame oil), allowing your family or guests to add their own according to taste. (I usually add 1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sesame oil, plus a little pepper to mine, for example.)


  • If you choose whole grains, they may have to cook a little longer than regular white rice. However, the taste is just as good. In fact, these days I always make this recipe with a mixture of brown and white rice plus whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, etc...- it's delicious!
  • This soup always thickens with time. When preparing the leftovers, simply heat them up in a pot on the stove, adding as much broth as necessary to thin it out.

Recipe Variation

  • Make the congee vegetarian by switching from chicken to vegetable broth, using 1/2 cup of cubed tofu instead of prawns, and look for a vegan version of fish sauce.