Cháo Cá Recipe – Vietnamese Fish Congee

Vietnamese fish congee (also known as “Chao ca”) is delicious and warm. Making it in a pressure cooker extremely simple and reduces cooking time by a significant amount.

Fish Congee (Chao Ca Recipe)

Today, I’ll discuss my favorite method to cook congee from fish.

It’s very popular in Vietnam to cook rice porridge using seafood. Some of the most well-known ones include clam porridge, fish porridge razor clam porridge, as well as lobster porridge. I am awestruck by the fact that each kind of seafood imparts to the rice porridge a distinctive taste.

Truth is, I didn’t really like congee made of fish when I was an infant. It wasn’t because of the flavor. It was more likely that my family was eating it frequently, and I was tired of eating it over and over. Since I’m living in the inland where seafood isn’t as plentiful as it was in my home town, I truly enjoy the delicious and comforting the taste of fish congee tastes.

Cooking Vietnamese fish Congee (Chao ca)


The principal ingredients include rice and water, as well as fish fillets and leftover fish (like head or tail bones). To flavor the rice porridge with the flavor of the ocean it is necessary to use more than just fillets of fish. You can make use of whole fish (and split it into tail, head as well as fillet) or the bones of fish and fillet.

In my situation I’m using a one 2 lb to 1.5 pounds of red snapper bone. If you are unable to purchase scraps of fish, you are able to make use of chicken or pork stock. However, the congee may be less flavorful with fish.

Update, I made this congee again with groupser fish meats, instead the combination of fish scraps as well as a fish fillet. It was delicious, and I even made use of frozen fish steaks. I also added notes to the recipe card about making use of fish steaks. Below is a photograph of the congee with fish I prepared this morning.

My Chao Ca recipe – I love big fissh topping size

For fillets of fish Our favorite choice is the grouper. It is lean, with an incredibly firm texture, and is damp when cooked. Its flesh cooked in the oven is white and, although it’s not a strong flavor but the flavor is distinctive with a slight sweetness. The flavor is somewhat similar to an amalgamation of halibut and sea bass. The whole selection of grouper available at my local supermarket is much larger than one sold in Vietnam however, they taste identical.

I’m not sure of how readily available grouper is in cities of the U.S. and other countries. My grocery store is always carrying it on sale. If you aren’t able to find it, other good kinds of fish include bass, halibut, barramundi and halibut. I would also like to point out that grouper is a great choice for Vietnamese fry fish noodle soup and, in actual fact, it’s the fish that my mom uses to make this recipe.

Let’s get onto the following ingredient (sorry I’m always overly excited when discussing fish). I make use of Japanese short-grain rice to achieve a creamy porridge texture however this isn’t the only way to go about it. Check out my previous blog post to learn how to experiment with various rice varieties to make congee.

I also include a couple of tablespoons of mung beans to give it some healthy flavor. Restaurants in my area typically include a small amount mung beans to lobster and fish porridge. However, it’s totally optional.

Congeeing with fish using the Instant Pot (pressure cooker)

Instant Pot is one of the most commonly used kitchen appliances. It’s a multi-cooker that can be used as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and many more. When you cook rice porridge in the pressure cooker, you do not need to soak the rice in water, and you don’t have to prepare broth ahead of time.

All the ingredients (rice Mung bean, rice seafood bones, aromatics, fish bones and seasoning) go directly to the cooker. It cooks at high pressure for around 15 minutes. If you are using an Instant Pot and it is not working, change the cooker to Saute and add thin slices of fillets of fish to cook for a few additional minutes, and then alter the consistency and the seasoning of the congee, and then serve.

If you have a traditional pressure cooker, you can transfer the entire recipe to a pan and perform the last steps over the stove. Whatever you choose the steamy and delicious congee of fish can be prepared in only 30 minutes.

A Famous Vietnamese Mung Bean Cake: Bánh Cam – Sesame Balls Recipe

Other toppings and herbs

My review of rice porridge includes a brief section on different kinds of congee toppings, herbs and toppings. For congee made with fish I would suggest fry shallots, Chinese crullers as well as scallion, cilantro, and Vietnamese perilla (tia to).

Tía Tô

Vietnamese perilla, also known as perilla in Vietnamese is an plant that has leaves of green on one side and a purple color on the opposite side. Its robust and strong flavor is a perfect match for seafood, particularly fish beautifully.

Original Vietnamese fish congee recipe

Vietnamese perilla for fish congee

The fall season is here and winter is coming very soon, so you’ll see more hearty and steamy meals like noodle soups, and various kinds of congee here on the blog:). I also love the following congee recipe ideas:

I’d love to know what you think of the dish, so be sure to leave a message.

Cháo Cá Recipe – Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Fish Congee

Vietnamese fish congee (rice porridge) is delicious and warm. Making it with pressure cookers is extremely simple and reduces the cooking time considerably. A steamy , delicious bowl of congee made from fish can be prepared in only 30 minutes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine vietnamese
Servings 4 SERVINGS
Calories 267 kcal


For the congee of fish.

  • 3/4 cup rice (see recipe notes for more details)
  • 1 – 1.5 lbs bones from fish (see the recipe notes below for the instructions on how to use fish steaks in place of)
  • 2 tablespoons split mung bean (optional)
  • A small piece of ginger that is the size of a thumb
  • 6 cups of water (boiling water to cook faster)
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (plus more salt to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus many more things to taste)
  • 1 2 lb fish fillet (grouper is best)

Ideas for toppings and herbs

  • Fried shallot
  • Chinese crullers
  • Scallion, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, chopped roughly
  • Vietnamese perillas, thinly cut
  • black pepper


  • Rinse rice and mung beans (if you are using) and drain. Add in the pressure cooker.
  • Rub the bones of fish with salt, then rinse them with cold water. In the pressure cooker, add salt.
  • Peel and cut the ginger thinly. Peel and cut shallots in half. Put in the cooker under pressure. Add 1 teaspoon of water and salt, too. Cook at the pressure cooker at high for about 12 mins (you may also choose porridge mode when using an Instant Pressure Cooker).
  • When the congee is cooking inside the pressure cooker cut fish fillets diagonally into pieces that are 1/2 inch thick. Add a pinch salt and pepper, then set aside.
  • After the cooking process has finished and the pressure is naturally released, you can remove and discard the bones of the fish. If you are using an Instant Pot then switch to Saute mode and add the fish fillets in slices. Cook for a few minutes or until the fish is completely cooked.
  • If the consistency is excessively thick, you can add additional water. If it's not thick enough then simmer it a bit more. Include 1 teaspoon of the fish sauce, and alter the seasoning according to your taste.
  • Transfer the congee into a serving bowl, and then add garnishes and the herbs you prefer.


If you are unable to purchase fish scraps, then you can utilize 1.5 to 2 lbs of steaks from fish instead. an amalgamation of fish scraps as well as fish fillet. Grouper fish steaks work best.
  • If you are using fresh fish steaks, cook them with high pressure for about 10 minutes, then let the pressure release completely naturally for at least 15 minutes before releasing slowly.
  • If you are using frozen fish steaks heat them up with the pressure at high for about 12 mins. Then let the pressure release naturally.
After that, you can remove the bones of the fish, then chop the fish in smaller pieces. Adjust the seasoning to your preference, spoon to serving plates and enjoy.
It’s recommended to use white short grain rice like Japanese rice to get a smooth as well as silky consistency. It is also possible to mix jasmine and sticky rice.
Besides the grouper, you could make use of other meaty and firm white fish, such as Halibut or barramundi.
Fried shallots, Chinese crullers and Vietnamese perilla are available in Asian supermarkets.
Keyword chao ca recipe, vietnamese fish congee

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