Congee with Pork-Cilantro Meatballs

Nom nom nommmmm. Via NYT Recipes.



  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantroroots or stems
  • ½ teaspoon white peppercorns [I just used black peppercorns.]
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce


  • 1 cup jasmine or long-grain rice
  • 6 cups light chicken stock (see note)


  • 6 to 8 eggs, optional
  • Red chile powder (preferably Thai, but ancho or Aleppo will do)
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • Fish sauce and sriracha, for garnish


  1. Pound or grind the garlic, cilantro and white pepper together into a coarse paste. [I ground them in my spice grinder.] Transfer to a bowl and add the pork, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Mix well, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.


  1. In a large heavy pot, combine the rice and stock and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping up any starch from the bottom to prevent scorching. Add 2 cups hot water and simmer 30 minutes more. Add another 2 cups hot water and simmer 20 to 30 minutes more, until the rice begins to fall apart in the soup. [You might think this is a lot of water and would seriously dilute the chicken stock flavor, but I was surprised at how flavorful it still was.]
  2. From the refrigerator, remove the dumpling mixture and the eggs, if using. Heat your serving bowls. Adjust the heat under the soup so that it bubbles gently. Pinch off pieces of the meat mixture to make bite-size balls, dropping them one at a time into the soup. When all of the meatballs have firmed up and turned opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes after adding the last one, the soup is ready. [I was nervous about undercooked pork, so I probably cooked my meatballs in my congee for about 5-7 minutes.]
  3. To serve, scoop a ladleful of soup into a bowl. Crack one egg, if using, into the bowl. Gently ladle more hot soup over the raw egg, covering it completely. After about 4 minutes, the eggs will be softly cooked. [Recipe comments noted that this method didn’t cook their eggs quite enough, so just to be safe, I separately soft boiled my eggs–one for each serving– for about 5 minutes, which gave me a mostly set white but completely runny yolk, which was nice.]
  4. Dust each bowl with chile powder and sprinkle with ginger, scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately, passing fish sauce and sriracha at the table. Each diner breaks the egg yolk and scoops up the egg with the soup.

Note: Use a very light-bodied chicken stock. If using prepared or canned broth or bouillon cubes, dilute with water until the salt and chicken flavors are very mild. [For the 6 cups of light broth, I used six cups of water and 4 tsp of better than bouillon chicken base. (Usually you use 1 tsp for every 8 oz water.) I probably could have used even less bouillon.]


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