Thai congee, known as Jok (and pronounced joke) in Thailand, is a rice porridge breakfast dish that is commonly served with pork meatballs and a variety of Thai condiments and topping such as fried onions, garlic, chiles, fish sauce, sliced ginger, green onions, and cilantro.
I absolutely fell in love with it when I was in Thailand and I’ve been making it somewhat obsessively since I returned. As I’ve just started putting together my new book on Thai broths and soups I can tell you that this one will DEFINITELY be included. [UPDATE: The Thai Soup Secret is Now Available!]
Now in this recipe you can substitute two poached eggs for the pork meatballs because let’s face it, if you’ve grown up on Cheerios and Pop Tarts, a breakfast of rice porridge with meatballs may not sound exactly, well, normal.
BUT, if you’re one of the thousands waking up to the fact that American breakfast cereals aren’t exactly health foods, and if you’re looking for an absolutely killer, nourishing, delicious, hearty alternative, this Thai congee recipe isn’t nearly as strange as it may seem on the surface.
And it’s not even spicy. In fact, there’s no chiles in it at all.
For those of you that may be unfamiliar with congee, it is basically the oatmeal of Asia. But it differs in two big ways. First, congee is made with rice instead of oats. The rice is cooked for an extended period in water or broth until is breaks down and forms a porridge-like consistency.
And second, unlike oatmeal, which in America is usually sweetened to death, congees are usually savory.
And if you make the rice ahead of time (highly recommended), this Thai congee will come together in the same amount of time it will take you to make a bowl of boring ol’ oatmeal.
Because it takes about 60-90 minutes to cook the rice into a porridge-like consistency, you’re obviously not going to cook this from scratch every time you have it, especially if you have that annoying thing you have to get to every morning called a “job.”
Here’s what I do. At the beginning of the week I’ll make a big portion of congee that will last me all week. It’ll get pretty thick and congealed in the fridge but no big deal. Every morning, I’ll scoop out a cup or two, add some broth to get the consistency I want, warm it up in on the stove and then add everything else. It all comes together in ten minutes tops.
Second tip. When making the rice, make sure to frequently stir it! It can easily stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. I’ve done this on so many occasions that a lot of my cookware bares some form of blackened rice scars.
Thai congee is a rice porridge breakfast dish, often served with pork meatballs and a variety of Thai condiments and topping such as fried onions, garlic, chiles, fish sauce, sliced ginger, green onions, and cilantro.
My new book, The Thai Soup Secret, includes an entire chapter devoted to Thai-style congees! It also includes chapters on bone broths, Thai drinking broths, classic Thai soups and fun and creative Thai fusion soup recipes.
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.