Duck Congee (Cháo Vịt) is hearty with tender shredded meat and creamy texture. It can easily be cooked on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.
Besides using duck to cook noodle soups (such as mi vit tiem and bun mang vit), Vietnamese people also like to cook congee with it. Congee, also called rice porridge, is particularly great when the weather is cold or when you are not feeling well.
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The main ingredients for duck congee are:
- duck: I like to use duck legs which have a combination of meat and bones. Bones will provide flavors to the congee. If you choose to use a whole duck, I recommend removing most of the skin; otherwise, it will be very fatty.
- rice: you can use all white rice or a blend of white rice and brown rice. With white rice, Japanese short-grain one will yield a creamier texture than long-grain jasmine rice.
- aromatics: garlic, ginger and scallion white.
- fresh herbs to serve: cilantro, scallion, and Vietnamese coriander (rau răm) are what I often use. Vietnamese coriander pairs really well with duck. In case you cannot find it, Thai basil and saw-tooth leaves also pair with duck. When we visited my sister in Denmark last year, she used her leftover Christmas roast duck to cook the congee and serve it with fresh tarragon, which turned out really good.
Related: duck legs are also great for roasting. You may also want to try this roasted duck legs with black pepper sauce recipe.
It is possible to cook this duck porridge either on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot). The congee will turn out creamy either way.
Using a pressure cooker saves a bit of time, and you don’t have to tend to the pot regularly as with the stovetop method. However, cooking it on the stovetop allows you to control the texture of the meat to taste and remove excess fat if needed.
Regardless of which method you choose, you will still need to prepare the duck to remove any unwanted strong odor or gaminess. There are two ways to do this:
- parboil in boiling water briefly
- rub the duck with salt, crushed ginger and a bit of rice wine (or sake, white wine), then rinse
I like to serve chao vit with thinly sliced fresh herbs, julienned ginger, black pepper, and fried dough sticks (quẩy/youtiao – homemade youtiao recipe here) on the side. Some people like to sprinkle fried shallots on top.
Other Congee Recipes
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Duck Congee (Chao Vit)
- 2 duck legs
- 6 cups water
- 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 3 scallion stalks, seperate the white and green parts
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white rice, washed and drained
- 2 tablespoons brown rice, washed and drained (or just white rice)
- fish sauce (to serve and to taste)
- cilantro, thinly sliced
- Vietnamese coriander, thinly sliced (or Thai basil, tarragon)
- julienned ginger (to serve)
- black pepper
- Bring plenty of water to a boil in a pot, then add duck legs and parboil for 2 minutes. Remove the duck and discard the liquid.
- In a clean pot, add 6 cups of water, garlic cloves, ginger slices, scallion whites and salt. When the water starts to simmer, add duck legs. Let the water simmer again and add all the rice.
- Bring everything to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer. Skim off foam, then cover the pot with the lid askew. Simmer for about 30-35 minutes.
- Check the congee pot every 10 minutes or so, give it a stir or skim off foam if needed. After 30-35 minutes, take the duck legs out of the pot. Seperate the meat from the bones. Shred the meat and put the bones back into the pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the bones from the congee. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt or fish sauce. Also check the consistency and adjust it to your liking by adding a bit more water to thin it out or simmer it a little longer to thicken it.
- Add shredded duck meat to the congee and stir to distribute evenly in the congee. Transfer congee to serving bowls and top with thinly sliced scallions, cilantro, Vietnamese coriander, julienned ginger and black pepper.
- Parboil the duck legs as in Step 1. You can trim off some of the skin to reduce the amount of fat in the congee later.
- Turn on the pressure cooker with Sauté mode. Once it is hot, add a little bit of oil and then add ginger, garlic and scallion whites, stir and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add rice, stir and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, then add about 4 cups of water, duck legs and salt. Cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes and let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes.