black rice congee (over charcoal)

 A thicky rice porridge soup, originally from China, called jook (โจ๊ก) here in Thailand. This soup is available at every morning market while some family-owned neighborhood restaurants only serve congee while your hostel undoubtedly will have it on the menu for breakfast.


Congee traditionally comes with white rice and pork meatballs. However, if you substitute with brown, red or black rice, this soup turns into a delicious, healthy whole grain recipe, a true power dish to start the day ( whether you leave out meatballs and eggs, is up to you).


Maybe the best part, you can flavour your bowl of congee with condiments and toppings like fried onion, sliced ginger, cilantro and soy sauce.

I love to slow-cook this rice porridge a day ahead, have it simmered over an outdoors charcoal fire just behind our kitchen.  Today cooking over charcoal is less common in Chiang Mai and those who still do, are our favorite places to go and eat. For a pad Thai slow cooked over charcoal, we don't mind driving to the other side.

Congee keeps good in the fridge for  3-4 days. 

We love to stew over charcoal (at the back of our house).


1 and 1/2 cup black rice

2.5l water (vegetable or chicken broth if available)

3 thumb-sized gingers, julienned

1 carrot, julienned and steamed

1/2 cup green onion, sliced

1 tsp salt

1 tbs pepper

1 soft boiled egg per serving (optional)

soy sauce (condiment)


Cook the soup first.

Bring 2water to a boil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Reduce to low heat.

Add rice, salt and pepper. Stir vigourously. 

Maintain a gentle simmer for 45-50 minutes (closed lid; about 1 hr if over charcoal), so the grains absorb lots of water. You sort of overcook until the rice bursts open, to get that characteristic, juicy, thick, fat texture.

Turn off the heat.

Then make congee.

Place the soup in a blender, add the rest of the water. Blend until the rice is smooth. This is the  moment when the soup becomes congee with an overall thick texture.

Pour more water if you want the congee more liquid.

Add the mixture into a pot, heat up for a few minutes while stirring. Again, you can play and see where you want to go with texture. The more water, the less thick the rice texture will be.

Cool down the soup.

Add congee in a Cafe au Lait bowl, add soy sauce, perhaps an egg and top with ginger, carrot and green onion