This turkey congee is so easy and so delicious. Let the savory rice porridge aroma fill your home and the deep rich flavors fill your bellies.Jump to Recipe
“We all continue to congregate around the congee”-Nietzsche
What is Congee?
Congee is a type of rice porridge that is popular in many parts of Asia. It is made by simmering rice in water or broth for an extended period of time until it breaks down and becomes a thick, creamy consistency.
Congee is often eaten as a breakfast food, but it can also be enjoyed as a light meal or snack at any time of day. It is considered to be a comfort food in many cultures and is often given to those who are feeling a bit under the weather. Soul food baby!
One of our favorite things about turkey congee, or any kind of congee, is that it is very easy to make. All you need is rice, water, broth, and a little bit of time. It’s a humble dish, but you can get super creative with the ingredients and flavors.
For this turkey congee recipe, we like to use the broth and breasts from our leftover Mexican Turkey Recipe. It makes a super unique and flavorful congee. However, using ground turkey and store bought stock will work great too.
Tim Carman of the Washington post wrote an interesting article about congee. Click here for to read it.
Congee Health Benefits
Okay, so I’m hesitant to say anything about this, but I think its super interesting. Congee is often eaten as a “remedy” or comfort food when someone is feeling sick.
All over different regions in Asia, congee and its many variations are used to feed infants and the elderly. When the rice breaks down during the long cook time, it becomes super easy to digest.
Also, its creamy texture makes it ideal for folks without teeth that can’t easily chew, i.e. babies and grandparents. Its essentially the best tasting baby food in the world, but don’t run away! It’s a super freaking delicious dish that everyone can enjoy.
Folks also claim that congee is good for digestive support and the immune system. For this turkey congee, and making other congee’s, ingredients like garlic and ginger are often used. These ingredients do have anti–inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
So, some of the “remedy” qualities may be exaggerated. No judgement though, us southerners race to the liquor store to make a hot toddy every time we feel a slight cough coming on. Half of feeling good is enjoying what you’re eating anyway, right? #science
It is worth nothing that congee is also a really low calorie and low fat dish.
Turkey Congee Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this turkey congee recipe.
- Turkey: Surprise, you need turkey to make turkey congee. We love using leftover turkey after cooking a big holiday bird, but ground turkey works fine here. If you need a fun new way to cook a whole bird, try our Poached & Roasted Mexican Turkey Recipe! The leftovers make the best turkey congee!
- Rice: The best rice for congee is a long grain variety such as jasmine or basmati. You could use brown rice, it just required a big longer cook time.
- Broth: Turkey broth or stock doubles down on the turkey flavor here. But chicken stock or broth work fine as well. Use all broth or half broth/half water, depending on how intense you want the flavor.
- Garnishes: Frankie thinks the garnishes are the best part of turkey congee, so we load it up! We like a lot of fresh lime, cilantro, avocado, and flaky sea salt. She’s not a fan of the ginger, but I like to julienne some fresh ginger for my turkey congee.
Best Rice for Turkey Congee
The best rice for turkey congee is a long grain variety such as jasmine or basmati. These types of rice have a delicate, fragrant flavor and a dry, fluffy texture that is perfect for turkey congee. They also hold their shape well during the long cooking process, which helps to prevent the turkey congee from becoming too mushy.
That being said, you can use any type of rice to make turkey congee. Short grain rice, such as glutinous or sticky rice, will produce a softer, stickier consistency, which may be more to your liking. Brown rice can also be used to make turkey congee, although it will take longer to cook and may result in a more chewy texture.
Ultimately, the best rice for turkey congee is a matter of personal preference. Experiment with different types of rice to find the one that you like best.
How to Make Turkey Congee
Follow these steps to make this turkey congee recipe.
Step 1: Simmer the Rice
Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer and add it to a large pot with the water and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, half covered.
Step 2: Cook your Turkey
If you have leftover turkey from a previously cooked bird, simply cut it up into small cubes or pull it apart into shreds.
If you are using ground turkey, heat a tbsp of oil in a nonstick skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as you go. 4-5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
Don’t overcook it. You just want to brown it, as you will be adding it into the pot along with the rice, where it will continue to cook.
Step 3: Combine
Stir in the turkey and give it a good stir periodically so the bottom doesn’t burn. After an hour and a half to two hours, the rice should be very soft and broken down into a porridge-like consistency. Season with more salt and pepper.
Cut your garnishes while you wait.
Step 4: Garnish & Serve
Ladle the congee into bowls and serve with any desired toppings.
Turkey Congee Garnishes
One of the great things about turkey congee is that it can be garnished with all sorts of toppings to add extra flavor and texture. Here are some ideas for garnishes to try with your turkey congee:
Soft-boiled eggs: A soft-boiled egg adds a creamy, rich flavor to the dish. Salted duck eggs would be more traditional and carry a more rich flavor, but chicken eggs are just fine.
Fruits, Roots, & Vegetables: Fresh ingredients such as sliced scallions, avocado, ginger, and sliced tomatoes add a bright, fresh flavor to turkey congee.
Herbs: Fresh herbs such as basil, mint, and cilantro add a pop of flavor to congee. You can add them as a garnish or stir them into the congee itself for an extra layer of flavor.
Sauces: A drizzle of soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, or chili oil can add depth and complexity to the flavor of congee. Experiment with different sauces to find the combination that you like best.
There are endless possibilities for garnishes with turkey congee, so don’t be afraid to get creative and try new combinations.
Turkey Congee Leftovers
We always make enough turkey congee to have the leftovers for lunch the next day. It heats up super easy with a little bit of water in a non stick skillet. Just heat it up slowly over medium heat and stir in a couple tablespoons of water, stir frequently.
You can also microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until it is heated through.
To store turkey congee properly and ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you’re planning on storing the turkey congee in the freezer, it’s a good idea to portion it out into smaller containers or bags so that you can thaw only what you need at a given time.
Congee by Region
All over Asia you can find congee or some variation of congee, and every culture has its own name and take on it. Here are a few examples.
In Thailand, it is known as Chok or Jok and was referenced in the movie the Hangover II. In Cambodia, it is known as babor.
The Japanese refer to congee as okayu. Okayu is often served with a variety of toppings such as roe, ginger, and eggs. Beyond being a staple for infants and the elderly, there is a version known as nanakusa-gayu, that is eaten on the new year to help ward off bad spirtis!
In Indonesia it is known most commonly as bubur, but even within the country there are a ton of variations and a names. Like the spicy Bali version called, mengguh.