Daikon Congee with Braised Pork Belly

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
January 30, 2024 | Updated on February 17, 2024

The best congee recipe includes the subtle taste of daikon and melt-in-your-mouth red braised pork belly. This hot bowl of soul-warming Chinese rice porridge works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

If you want to try another classic congee recipe, check out my Chicken Congee. This Chinese dish also reminds me of a childhood favorite, Arroz Caldo, a Filipino chicken and rice porridge.

a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

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Congee is the Chinese cure-all. Have a bowl when you’re sick, hungover, or just want something hot and comforting. While it’s good for you, it’s also downright delicious. Daikon congee with braised pork belly is a treat for all your senses.

This rice porridge is infused with daikon, ginger, chicken stock, and shiitake mushrooms for a deep, mouthwatering savory flavor and enticing aroma. Pairing it with tender pork belly adds a lovely umami flavor and a satisfying texture contrast. Topping your bowl with scallion ginger oil adds the fresh, mild onion flavor of scallions with the warm, pungent notes of ginger.

Why This Congee Recipe Works

  • Affordable – Because it requires much more water than rice, a few grains go a long way. For this recipe, one cup of rice serves 4 people.
  • Simple – At its heart, congee is a very simple recipe. This recipe includes additional flavors, protein, and a quick homemade condiment but stripped down, the foundation is the same: rice, water, ginger, and salt.
  • Versatile – One of the many beautiful things about congee is all the possible toppings so feel free to get creative with garnishes and add-ons.
a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

What is Congee?

Congee (jook in Cantonese) is a savory Chinese rice porridge. Rice is cooked with a larger amount of water and then simmered until it thickens to an oatmeal-like consistency.

Although the recipe has many variations, mild flavor makes it a natural choice for people who are ill or experiencing nausea.

The dish is commonly served for breakfast, although you can eat it for any meal.

close up view of a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need for Congee

Congee paired with red braised pork belly and a zingy scallion ginger oil; eating it literally feels like a hug in food form.

Red Braised Pork Belly

  • Lean pork belly – Select a cut with a good amount of lean meat and just enough fat for flavor. Cut into 3-inch long, ½-inch thick slices.
  • Rock sugar – Commonly used in Chinese and other Asian cooking, this specific sugar lends the pork its beautiful caramelized color. It’s not as sweet as granulated sugar and lends a nice depth and balance of the savory elements of the dish.
  • Avocado oil – My preference of oil. Use this to sear and caramelize the pork belly with th rock sugar.
  • Chicken stock – Use a low sodium variety as a base for the pork belly to braise in.
  • Light soy sauce and dark soy sauce Soy sauce contributes a salty and umami flavor, while dark soy sauce adds depth, and a richer color. Keep in mind that “light” does not refer to the lower in sodium. See the links for the specific brands used for this recipe.
  • Water – Use this liquid to boil the pork belly. Boiling helps rid the pork belly of any impurities. The water is discarded, pork belly is rinsed, then lightly fried with rock sugar for caramelized color.
  • Scallions – Green parts only chopped, 2-inch long pieces.
  • Ginger – Adds an aromatic flavor.
  • Star anise – This adds depth to dishes, especially in savory recipes like this braise.
  • Organic orange zest – The zest adds a bright pop of citrusy flavor to complement the savory ingredients.

Diakon Congee

  • Jasmine rice – A starchy long-grain white rice is perfect for congee. The final result is a silky smooth porridge.
  • Daikon – Also known as white radish, this root vegetable has a mild, slightly sweet, peppery flavor.
  • Water and Chicken Stock – Typical ratios for rice to water ratios are 1:8 or 1:9. I use 1 cup of rice for 9 cups of liquid. Some recipes just use water but I also add chicken stock for flavor.
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms – These mushrooms add depth to the porridge.
  • Ginger – Cut into ⅛-inch thickness.
  • Kosher salt Opt for the Diamond Crystal.

Scallion Ginger Oil

  • Avocado oil – This is the oil base of the sauce.
  • Scallions – Thinly sliced.
  • Ginger – Mince fresh garlic instead of the jarred or tube kind.
  • Kosher salt – To taste.

How To Make Congee

The braised pork belly should be nearly done before starting the congee. Congee will take about 30-40 minutes from start to finish.

Red Braised Pork Belly

  1. Bring a medium pot of hot water to a boil. Once boiling, add pork belly and cook for 3 minutes. Drain pork belly and pat meat well with a paper towel. Set aside.
  2. Heat a wok or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add avocado oil and 2 tablespoons of rock sugar. After 1 min, using wok spatula to break the sugar into smaller pieces. Once sugar is completely melted and begins to lightly brown, carefully add the pork belly. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your wok/pan.
  3. Fry pork belly until caramelized on both sides. Transfer pork to a plate and set aside.
seared pork belly in a pan

4. In a medium-size dutch oven, add chicken stock, water, light and dark soy sauces, scallions, ginger, star anise, orange zest and remaining rock sugar. Add pork belly along with juices. Belly should be about ¾ of the way submerged. Add more chicken stock, if needed.

pork belly braising in a pot

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1½ – 1 hour and 45 minutes or until fork tender, stirring every 10-15 minutes to keep the bottom from burning. Add more water if the braising liquid begins to dry out. The sauce should be nice and thick by the end of cooking. Meanwhile, make the scallion ginger sauce. About 40 minutes before pork belly is fully cooked, start making the congee.

Daikon Congee

  1. In a dutch oven add chicken stock, water, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, and bring to a boil.
mushooms boiling in a pot of water

Add rinsed rice and leave undisturbed for 1 minute then stir with a wooden spoon making sure rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

2. Lower heat to a simmer, partially cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Add daikon and cook for another 10 minutes.

4. After cooking for 25 minutes add salt and whisk for 3-4 minutes to break up the grains of rice into smaller pieces. Keep covered until ready to eat. Keep in mind the congee will thicken as it cools. You can always add water or chicken stock to thin it out, if needed.

a bowl of daikon infused congee

Scallion Ginger Oil

  1. Add chopped scallions, ginger, and kosher salt to a medium-sized mixing bowl.Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. If you have a kitchen thermometer handy, you want the temperature of the oil to reach 350ºF. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll want to achieve a noticeably thin, shimmery oil.
  2. Carefully pour the oil into the bowl containing the ingredients. You’ll notice a good amount of sizzling as the oil comes into contact with the ginger-scallion ingredients, that’s expected. Set aside to cool until ready to use.

Serve

Plate desired amount of congee then top with pork belly, sauce, and finish with ginger-scallion sauce. Enjoy!

close up view of a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

Tips and Tricks

  • Cut the pork belly into evenly sized pieces. This promotes even cooking.
  • Remember to boil the pork belly initially. This removes impurities and helps to ensure a cleaner and more refined taste in the final dish.
  • There’s no hard and fast rule for the rice-to-water ratio. Add more or less water depending on how thick or thin your desired consistency is. Just keep in mind the congee will thicken as it cools. You can always add water or chicken stock to thin it out if needed.
  • For a super creamy congee, whisk for 3-4 minutes towards the end of the cooking process. This breaks up the grains of rice into smaller pieces and also released the starches.
  • Whisk congee to break up the rice. Agitating the rice towards the end of cooking not only breaks it up into smaller pieces, but helps with the release of starch for better consistency.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it by adding a bit of water or broth until you reach your desired consistency. Then heat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking.
overhead view of a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

Variations

  • Rice Cooker – To make congee in a rice cooker, start by rinsing 1 cup of rice and placing it in the rice cooker with 8-9 cups of liquid (water, broth, or both). Add dried shiitake mushrooms, ginger, salt, and eventually the daikon. Cook the mixture on the regular setting until the rice has broken down, creating a creamy consistency.
  • Instant Pot – Add 1 cup of rinsed rice with 8-9 cups of liquid (water, broth, or both) and desired seasonings. Set the Instant Pot to the porridge setting and cook for about 20 minutes, then let it naturally release pressure.

Congee Toppings

Looking for ways to customize individual servings? Consider adding one or more of the following ingredients to your bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is congee healthy?

Absolutely, yes! Congee is a nourishing rice dish. It’s also hydrating, which can help soothe you when you’re sick and helps with digestion.

What does congee taste like?

Traditional congee has a mild, savory taste. You can enhance the flavor by adding herbs, spices, seasoning, sauces, and protein.

What is the difference between congee and porridge?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, congee is made with rice while porridge is a more broad term that encompasses a variety of grains.

Looking for More Chinese-inspired Recipes?

a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

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a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

Daikon Congee with Braised Pork Belly

The best congee recipe includes the subtle crunch of sweet daikon and melt-in-your-mouth red braised pork belly. This hot bowl of soul-warming Chinese rice porridge works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese

Equipment

  • Medium Pot
  • Wok or sauté pan
  • Dutch Oven
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl

Ingredients

Red Braised Pork Belly

  • 1 pound lean pork belly, cut into 3-inch long, ½-inch thick slices
  • 4 tablespoons rock sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • cup chicken stock, plus more low sodium
  • cup light soy sauce
  • tablespoons water
  • 4 scallions, green parts only chopped, 2-inch long pieces
  • 3 coins ginger
  • 1 whole star anise
  • teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • teaspoons organic orange zest

Diakon Congee

  • 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed and well drained
  • 10 ounces daikon, cut into small wedges, ½-inch thick
  • 5 cups chicken stock, low sodium
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 coins ginger, ⅛-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste Diamond Crystal

Scallion Ginger Oil

  • cup avocado oil
  • packed cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced, do not used bottled
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Red Braised Pork Belly

  • Bring a medium pot of hot water to a boil. Once boiling, add pork belly and cook for 3 minutes. Drain pork belly, rinse, and pat meat well with a paper towel. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add avocado oil and 2 tablespoons of rock sugar. After 1 min, using wok spatula to break the sugar into smaller pieces. Once sugar is completely melted and begins to lightly brown, carefully add the pork belly. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your wok/pan.
  • Fry pork belly until caramelized on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • In a medium-size dutch oven, add chicken stock, water, light and dark soy sauces, scallions, ginger, star anise, orange zest and remaining rock sugar. Add pork belly along with juices. Belly should be about ¾ of the way submerged. Add more chicken stock, if needed.
    Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1½- 1 hour and 45 minutes or until fork tender, stirring every 10-15 minutes to keep the bottom from burning. Add more water if the braising liquid begins to dry out. The sauce should be nice and thick by the end of cooking.
    Meanwhile, make the scallion ginger sauce. About 40 minutes before pork belly is fully cooked, start making the congee.

Daikon Congee

  • In a dutch oven add chicken stock, water, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, and bring to a boil. Add rinsed rice and leave undisturbed for 1 minute then stir with a wooden spoon making sure rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Lower heat to a simmer, partially cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add daikon and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • After cooking for 25 minutes add salt and whisk for 3-4 minutes to break up the grains of rice into smaller pieces. Keep covered until ready to eat. Keep in mind the congee will thicken as it cools. You can always add water or chicken stock to thin it out, if needed.

Scallion Ginger Oil

  • Add chopped scallions, ginger, and kosher salt to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. If you have a kitchen thermometer handy, you want the temperature of the oil to reach 350ºF. If you don't have a thermometer, you'll want to achieve a noticeably thin, shimmery oil.
  • Carefully pour the oil into the bowl containing the ingredients. You’ll notice a good amount of sizzling as the oil comes into contact with the ginger-scallion ingredients, that’s expected. Set aside to cool until ready to use.

Serve

  • Plate desired amount of congee then top with pork belly, sauce, and finish with ginger-scallion sauce. Enjoy!
Keywords best congee recipe, congee, congee recipe, congee recipe for sick, congee toppings, how to make congee, is congee healthy, rice congee, what is congee
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a bowl of congee topped with braised pork belly

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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