RECIPE: Fish Congee from the new book, Chinese-ish!

by |July 25, 2022
Chinese-ish by Rosheen Kaul, Joanna Hu

Chinese-ish celebrates the confident blending of culture and identity through food: take what you love and reject what doesn’t work for you. In these pages, you’ll find a bounty of inauthentic Chinese-influenced dishes from all over Southeast Asia, including the best rice and noodle dishes, wontons and dumplings, classic Chinese mains, and even a Sichuan Sausage Sanga that would sit proudly at any backyard barbecue. There are also plenty of tips and shortcuts to demystify any tricky-sounding techniques, and reassuring advice on unfamiliar ingredients and where to find them.

Chinese-ish is modern, unconventional, innovative, vibrant, tasty, colourful, and incredibly delicious food.

Fish Congee

Serves: 4

Source the freshest fish you can find for this dish. With a recipe as simple as this one, the quality of your fish will be glaringly obvious. I also recommend avoiding freshwater fish, as the sometimes- muddy flavour can often be detected. Ling, cod, or grouper, with their clean oceanic flavour, make lovely choices.

My sister used to order this dish from a Cantonese restaurant we would visit in Glen
Waverley in Melbourne after Saturday-morning Chinese school. I’d watch her stir in big helpings of
chilli oil and soy sauce, transforming the milky-white surface into a very appetising golden-brown,
dotted with pools of chilli oil. Her congee ended up being the most perfect combination of silky rice,
perfectly cooked white fish, zingy fresh ginger and chilli oil. Not one for the purists maybe, but
definitely very delicious.


500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain congee (see page 85)
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) white fish fillets such as ling, cod or grouper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 spring onion (scallion), sliced
1 teaspoon julienned ginger
Soy sauce and chilli oil (see page 94, or use Lao Gan Ma chilli oil), to serve


Place the congee in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the sliced fish, cover and turn off the
heat. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Turn the heat back on to medium–low, add the salt and simmer for 3–4 minutes. The fish should be
perfectly cooked. Divide the congee between four bowls and garnish with spring onion and ginger.
Serve with soy sauce and chilli oil.

Plain Congee

I had never heard the term ‘congee’ until we moved to Australia. In Singapore, we called it ‘porridge’ and ate it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. Every family has their own version of this two- ingredient dish.

Some like it soft and silky, others prefer it more like a wet rice. Some eat it plain, others pile it high with toppings. This is one of those lovely dishes where you can do no wrong.


250 g (9 oz) white short-grain or medium-grain rice
Sprinkle each of salt, ground white pepper and julienned ginger, to serve (optional)


Wash the rice vigorously and rinse it until the water runs clear.
Bring 8 cups (2 litres) of water to the boil in a large saucepan, then add the rice. Stir and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking for 45 minutes, until the rice grains burst open and melt into the water. Stir the congee during the last few minutes of cooking to further break up the grains. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Enjoy congee hot – either just as it is – or with a sprinkle of salt, white pepper and julienned ginger. Congee can also be served as an accompaniment to any other dishes, or with toppings of your choice
– you are limited only by your imagination.

Chinese-ish by Rosheen Kaul and Joanna Hu (Murdoch Books) is out now.

Chinese-ishby Rosheen Kaul and Joanna Hu


by Rosheen Kaul and Joanna Hu

From the new cookbook, Chinese-ish!

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