Fish Congee

We had a family ritual when I was a kid.  Every Saturday evening after dad’s game of tennis, he’d treat us to congee at a local hawker stall.  I always opted for fish or chicken porridge.  A big bowl was always too much for me, but I would do my best to make a dent.

Congee (or bubur) is essentially a rice porridge, cooked with lots of water/stock, and typically served with slivers of ginger, a pinch of ground white pepper, fried shallots, soy, sesame oil, chopped spring onions and many other condiments of one’s choice.

I recently made a big pot of fish congee – it was a Sunday night and the congee lasted until Wednesday.  As the days passed, the flavours deepened and I was genuinely sad when I scooped out the last of the congee.


  • 1 cup uncooked rice, washed (I used basmati)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1inch ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (Shao Xing)
  • 300g cod, boneless and skinless cut into chunks (marinated in 1 tbsp soy, 1/4 grated ginger, a pinch of salt, white pepper, 1 tbsp rice wine)
  • salt

To serve

  • dark soy
  • ground white pepper
  • sesame oil
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and julienned
  • fried shallots
  • spring onions, finely sliced


  1. Use a big, deep pot.  Add the rice, water, ginger and rice wine.  Leave to simmer for 40 to 50 minutes over a low heat until 3/4 of the water has evaporated.  The rice should resemble mush
  2. Drain the marinade from the fish.  Add the fish to the pot and leave the congee to cook for a further 15 minutes
  3. Once cooked, remove the pot from the stove
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with the condiments


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