Century Egg Congee, or Cháo Trứng Bách Thảo in Vietnamese, is a classic Chinese dim sum dish. This silky, creamy rice porridge is a comforting, warming breakfast. The version you'll find in Chinese restaurants is very simply seasoned, and I adore it. This version fuses century egg congee with classic Vietnamese pork congee. The result is the best of both worlds: richly seasoned pork congee with creamy, pungent century eggs.
Congee is traditionally a breakfast food, though you can eat this all day — I won't tell! It's made by boiling rice in water or broth until it breaks down to a porridge consistency. Some call it gruel, I call it a delicacy. It's especially delicious if you're feeling sick or you have an upset stomach.
For more Asian-inspired breakfasts, try my Spam and Scallion Biscuits, Vietnamese Coconut Pandan Waffles (Bánh Kẹp Lá Dứa) or Rice Cooker Savory Sticky Rice (Xôi Mặn)
You will need:
- pork bones
- fish sauce
- century eggs
- Chinese youtiao, or dầu cháo quẩy (optional)
See recipe card for quantities.
Century eggs can be found at most Asian grocery stores or at online stores like SayWeee! or Umami Cart. They're usually either chicken or duck eggs. These are made by preserving the egg in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and other things that change the white to a jelly-like texture and the yolk to a rich, creamy and complex.
Youtiao, or dầu cháo quẩy, are long, deep-fried dough sticks popular in parts of Asia for breakfast. I love eating these with congee because they soak up all of the porridge and get deliciously soft and chewy. You can find frozen ones at most Asian grocery stores or online.
Parboil your pork bones by adding them to a pot with cold water with a handful of salt and bring it to a boil
Once the water boils and you can see the scum rise to the surface, turn off the water and drain the bones.
Rinse the bones and add them back to a clean pot with water. Simmer until the meat is soft.
Add rice, garlic, shallot and ginger to the bones and broth.
Once the meat falls off the bone easily, remove them from the broth and rice and shred the meat.
Discard the bones and add the shredded meat back to the rice.
Cut your century eggs into 4-8 wedges each.
Once the rice has fully broken down, absorbed the pork broth and gotten creamy, season it with fish sauce, salt, pepper and MSG.
Add the chopped eggs to the congee. Serve with fresh chopped scallions and youtiao/dầu cháo quẩy.
Hint: You can use cooked rice to speed up the cooking process. Use twice as much cooked rice as uncooked rice.
- Pork bones - You can use ground pork, which will cook much faster and not require any shredding. Chicken will also cook faster but need to be shredded. Boneless or bone-in chicken both work. If you want to omit the meat, use homemade or store-bought bone broth or vegetable broth.
- Rice - you can substitute brown rice for white rice if you'd like. It won't break down as well as white rice, and you will need to adjust the amount of liquid to your taste.
I like to use my Dutch oven to make congee because the rice doesn't burn and stick to the bottom of the pot as easily. If you like crispy rice though, you can use a stainless steel pot for a crispy snack once you run out of congee!
👪 Serving size, suggestions and storage
This recipe makes about 6 big servings.
Store it in the pot you cooked it in or in an airtight container for up to a week. I find it easiest to reheat this on the stove. The flavors only get deeper every time you reheat it. If it gets a little bit thick, add some water while you're reheating.
✏️ Top tip
I like my congee to be really thick. If you prefer a thicker congee, add more water. Add water slowly while the congee is cooking. You can always thin it out, but it's much harder to thicken it again once you add too much water.
Vietnamese Century Egg Congee (Cháo Trứng Bách Thảo)
- 3 lbs pork bones
- ¾ cup rice
- 1 shallot minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch knob of ginger minced or cut into matchsticks
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 6 century eggs cut into fourths, sixths or eigths depending on their size
- 1 bunch scallions for garnish
- 2 Chinese youtiao optional
- Parboil the pork bones by adding them to a pot and covering them with cold water. Add a handful of salt and bring to a boil.
- Once the water boils and you can see the scum rise to the surface, turn off the water and drain the bones.
- Rinse the bones and add them back to a clean pot with water. Simmer until the meat is soft.
- Add rice, garlic, shallot and ginger to the bones and broth.
- Once the meat falls off the bone easily, remove them from the broth and rice and shred the meat.
- Discard the bones and add the shredded meat back to the rice.
- Once the rice has fully broken down, absorbed the pork broth and gotten creamy, season it with fish sauce, salt, pepper and MSG.
- Add the chopped eggs to the congee. Serve with fresh chopped scallions and youtiao/dầu cháo quẩy.
🦺 Food safety
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
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