Vegan Congee (Cháo Chay)

Vegan Congee Chao

Vegan Congee (Cháo Chay) is an easy-to-make meal using simple, affordable ingredients. It is my ultimate comfort meal to warm you up on cold days or days when you are feeling under the weather.

Vegan Congee

This weekend I caught the flu, thankfully feeling better now and I was craving Congee (Cháo in Vietnamese). I instantly felt better after eating it! Hope this recipe will help warm you up if you are feeling cold or under the weather or just crave something warm and comforting.

Congee (Cháo in Vietnamese) is a type of rice porridge that is my ultimate remedy for sick or cold days. It is a simple and easy-to-make dish using rice and water. In this recipe, I flavor it with aromatics like lemongrass, garlic, ginger, scallions, seasonings, and savory and delicious toppings! This version of Congee is plant-based but is full of flavors and super comforting.

Why you’ll love this recipe

This Vegan Congee is:

  • Full of flavors: many Vietnamese Congee recipes are flavored from bone broth. While this recipe is vegan, the flavors come from the aromatics like lemongrass, garlic, ginger and the shiitake mushroom base!
  • Not only are they flavorful, but the aromatics are full of antioxidants that help boost your immune system and relieve your cold symptoms.
  • Versatile and customizable: You can add any toppings that you have and play around with the seasonings. Some suggestions for plant-based toppings for the congee are mentioned below!
  • You can meal prep or make it in batches ahead of time. The recipe becomes more flavorful over time
  • Easy to make: While the recipe takes time to cook, the preparation stages and ingredients are minimal.
  • Affordable: 1 cup of rice makes 4 servings of vegan congee, making this recipe super budget-friendly.
Vegan Congee

Ingredients and substitutions for Vegan Congee

  • Rice: I use jasmine rice, but short-grained rice would work.
  • Water: For every cup of rice, I use 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 30-45 minutes until the rice breaks down and the texture turns more porridge-like!
  • Lemongrass: I use fresh lemongrass stalk, chopped into chunks, and smashed to release the flavors. If you cannot access fresh lemongrass, you can use 2 tbsp lemongrass paste or frozen lemongrass!
  • Garlic & ginger: Peel and thinly slice.
  • Dried shiitake mushroom: adds a lot of deep, umami flavors to the congee, and the mushroom after cooking are thinly sliced to add as toppings.

The toppings: keep it simple with thinly sliced scallions or go wild with the toppings, such as:

  • Fried tofu pieces: the fried tofu adds more crunch and texture to the congee.
  • Thinly sliced scallions and cilantro that add vibrance to the recipe.
  • Chili oil: drizzle on top of the congee with the optional chili oil

Some other topping suggestions could be:

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you have a chance to try it, please give me a review and/or tag me on Instagram (@veggieanh). That would support me greatly!

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Vegan Congee closeup

Vegan Congee (Cháo Chay)

  • Author: Veggie Anh
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Vegan Congee (Cháo Chay) is an easy-to-make meal using simple, affordable ingredients. It is my ultimate remedy for cold or sick days!


Units Scale
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 piece thumb-sized ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 cup of rice (jasmine or short-grain rice work best!)
  • 10 cups of water
  • 2 stalks scallion
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper


  • 400g firm tofu
  • Scallion slices
  • Cilantro
  • Chili oil


  1. Rehydrate the dried shiitake mushroom by pouring hot water on top and letting it sit for 30 minutes. 
  2. Peel and thinly slice the ginger and garlic.
  3. Cut the lemongrass into chunks and smash them to release their flavors.
  4. Wash the rice 3 times and rinse until the water runs clear. After rinsing the last time, pour 10 cups of water, together with the lemongrass, ginger, and garlic, and bring to a boil. 
  5. After coming to a boil, add the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and the mushroom water and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare your toppings: remove the mushroom from the congee and thinly slice. Pat dry, slice the tofu into bite-sized pieces and fry until golden brown.
  7. After this, the rice has broken down and forms a porridge texture. Add extra water if you want a thinner consistency. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper, and add in the sliced scallions. Mix together.
  8. Serve the Congee in a bowl and top with fried tofu, more scallion, cilantro and chili oil.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

Keywords: congee, rice porridge, chao, vietnamese food, vegan, comfort food

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