This Congee with Pork Meatballs transforms humble ingredients into a nourishing and comforting dish. Its mild and easily digestible nature makes the dish an excellent choice for those feeling unwell or seeking a light yet filling meal.
Congee is a type of rice porridge that is a staple in many Asian cuisines. The consistency of congee is similar to a thick soup, and the rice grains become very soft after being cooked for an extended amount of time. Congee can be made plain, but it is often flavored with a variety of proteins and toppings. In Vietnam, we call it “cháo“.
I once shared a pressure cooker ground pork congee recipe in which the meat was mixed into the congee. In today’s recipe, the meat is formed into meatballs, and the cooking method will give it a velvety, tender texture as well as retain its juiciness and flavors. The dish has been in our morning rotation for a while.
Here are what you’ll need to make this congee with pork meatballs:
Rice: I use Japanese short-grain white rice for this recipe. You can also use medium or long-grain rice such as jasmine rice. However, those kinds of rice are less starchy than Japanese or Korean short-grain rice. In that case, you can mix in a small amount of sticky rice to achieve a creamy consistency for the congee.
Ground pork: I recommend using ground pork with some fat. Using extremely lean ground pork may result in less juicy meatballs.
Seasonings and Aromatics: Adding some ginger, white parts of scallion, salt, and pepper will enhance the flavors greatly.
Toppings: Feel free to customize with your favorite congee toppings. Here are some suggestions: chopped green onions, cilantro, perilla leaves, julienned ginger, and crispy fried shallots. If you have time in advance, make some fried dough sticks (quẩy/youtiao) to accompany the congee.
Making this rice porridge with meatballs on the stovetop is very easy and straightforward. It is actually not much more labor-intensive than using a pressure cooker as you may think, and everything is cooked in just one pot.
1️⃣ First, sauté the ginger and white parts of scallion until fragrant. Briefly sauté the rice afterward, imparting a richer flavor to the congee.
2️⃣ Add water and let it come to a boil. Next, add the pork meatballs and poach until they are just cooked through. Once fully cooked, the meatballs will float to the surface, making it easy to take them out of the pot without disturbing the rice. Set the meatballs aside for now.
3️⃣ Maintain a simmer and place a lid slightly askew over the pot. Don’t cover the pot completely to prevent over-boiling.
4️⃣ Once the congee is cooked to your desired consistency, add the meatballs back to heat them through. Then it’s ready to serve!
One thing to note is you should minimize stirring the rice porridge too frequently to avoid breaking the rice grains. For me, I usually just need to stir the pot a couple of times during the entire cooking process.
You can also choose to skip sautéing the rice. Instead, poach the meatballs first, remove them, and then add the rice to the cooking liquid.
Substitutions and Variations
Grains: Instead of white rice, you can use a mix of white and brown rice like I did in my chicken congee recipe and duck congee recipe. The cooking time and water amount may vary depending on the grain you choose.
Meat Variations: Replace pork with ground chicken, turkey, or beef for the meatballs. The meatballs may be less juicy, so I recommend adding some cooking oil or keeping some ground pork in the meat mixture.
Flavor Boosters and Toppings: You can drizzle some toasted sesame oil or chili oil when eating the congee. Some people may also like having some pickled vegetables or kimchi on the side.
Please feel free to experiment and let me know how you cook and serve this congee with pork meatballs.
More Easy Rice 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.
Congee with Pork Meatballs
For the Meatballs
For the Congee
- chopped green parts of scallion
- julienned ginger
- In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients in the For the Meatballs section. Mix gently just until everything is combined. Don't over-mix or the meatballs may not turn out tender. Marinate for about 15 minutes.
- Form the ground pork mixture into meatballs, with about 2 teaspoons of meat mixture per meatball.
- Place a deep pot over medium heat. Add some oil to lightly coat the bottom. Then add the ginger slices, and sauté until fragrant. Add the white parts of scallion, and continue to sauté briefly until fragrant.
- Add the rice and stir-fry up to a minute. Then add the water and salt. Bring it to a boil. Skim off foam if needed.
- Drop the pork meatballs into the pot and poach for a couple minutes or until they are just cooked through. They should be cooked through shortly after they float to the surface.
- Take the meatballs out of the pot. Since they have floated to the surface, it will be easy to take them out without disturbing the rice. Set them aside and cover to prevent the exterior from drying out.
- Maintain a simmer and place a lid askew over the congee pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very soft and the consistency is to your liking. Give everything a gentle stir, then taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Add the meatballs back to the congee to heat them through. Transfer to serving bowls, and top with black pepper, chopped scallion, and ginger. Serve right away.
- chopped cilantro or perilla leaves
- a drizzle of sesame oil or chili oil
- roasted peanuts or some fried dough sticks (quẩy/youtiao)