Mom used to make plain congee (rice soup) for breakfast.  To make plain congee, all you need is to put the rice in a big pot of water, and cook it for an hour until it turns creamy, and it’s done.  You can imagine how no taste it is.  Mom would fry some peanuts in a wok, and then added some salt on them.  That or some chinese pickled vegetable would be our side dishes that went along with the no-taste congee.  Yup, that was my breakfast when I was a kid.  I never understood back then why we couldn’t put some meat or whatever in the congee to give it some taste. Of course, looking back I would understand that it was because we were poor.  We couldn’t afford fancy breakfast.  Every time I asked her “Plain congee again?”, she would say “it cleanses your stomach.”  Now that I’m not that broke and I could afford meat.  I never make plain congee. 

As mom said, congee is good for the digestive system.  So whenever I don’t feel like eating anything, or may be feeling sick, I would make congee.  I would also have it for a good detox.  Forget about those detox pills or tea, try having congee for 3 whole days (breakfast, lunch and dinner), it really cleanses your digestive system.

This is my very-close-to plain congee that I made this morning. If you can afford meat, feel free to add some. But if you are really trying this out for detox, skip the meat!


Chinese Congee Rice Soup for Detox
Chinese Congee Rice Soup for Detox

Ingredients (make 2 servings):

  • Uncooked rice, 1.5 cup (or cooked rice, 2 cups)
  • Dried whole shiitake mushrooms, 2 (or dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, 8 slices)
  • Oatmeal, 1 Tbsp (optional, it gives more detox function)
  • Scallion, 2 stems
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Water, 9 cup


  1. If you are using dried whole shiitake mushrooms, soak it in warm water for 30 mins.  When it gets soft, chop it finely, put it in a big pot.  If you use driced sliced shiitake mushromms, you can easily break them into small pieces by hand, put it in a big pot.
  2. Add rice and water to the pot.  Use high heat, bring it to a boil.
  3. Let it boil for couple of minutes.  Turn the heat to medium.  Add a tablespoon of fish sauce.
  4. Let it simmer for 50 mins until the rice expands and blends well with the water. The rice should look kind of creamy.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.  Add more water if it is too thick for you.
  5. This is an optional step. If you have any leftover cooked chicken, or whatever meat.  I like to add leftover steamed Chinese Chicken pieces. Cut them into small pieces.   Add them to the pot.  Cook it for 5 minutes. 
  6. Add chopped scallion to the pot.
  7. Add a pinch of salt according to your liking.

MUST serve while it is hot.

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