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Let’s face it – most of us have had enough food inspiration on Western-style porridges. As much we all do enjoy a warm bowl of sweet oatmeal topped with fruit and maple syrup, sometimes, we just crave something different but just as satisfying. Enter savoury porridges – it’s a staple for many in Asia and every regional cuisine has its own take, using different spices, ingredients and grains for the base of the gruel. Here is a quick guide to all the delicious savoury porridges you’ll find across the continent and the recipe for a 100% plant-based version for each!
1. Filipino Arroz Caldo
Arroz caldo or aroskaldo is a classic Filipino rice porridge. The gingery porridge is made with chicken and topped with fried garlic, scallions and black pepper, and is typically enjoyed with calamansi and fish sauce.
For the vegan version, you can substitute chicken with seitan or wheat gluten and shiitake mushrooms, and use soy sauce and vegetable stock.
Get the vegan recipe: The Fat Kid Inside
2. Cantonese Congee
Cantonese-style congee – jook – is made with rice and water. It is sometimes enjoyed just plain, but usually enjoyed along with toppings or side dishes such as scallions, minced pork or pork floss and preserved egg.
On its own, plain jook is 100% vegan-friendly. But you can also add veganised toppings to go with it, such as shiitake mushrooms.
Get the vegan recipe: Healthy Nibbles & Bits
3. Nepali Dhindo
Dhindo, pronounced “dee-dough”, is a staple in Nepal cuisine and is prepared by slowly adding flour to boiling water while stirring. Ground millet, buckwheat or cornmeal flour is usually used as the base for the porridge, and is served with side dishes such as curry and vegetables.
Again, dhindo itself is vegan, but it is not always served with vegan dishes. You can make your own plant-based dishes to go with dhindo, like dal bhat, a lentil soup or tarkari, a spicy vegetable curry.
Get the vegan recipe: Magazine 177
4. Indian Daliya
Daliya or dalia is a porridge from India made using cracked or broken wheat, and can be served sweet or savoury. The savoury version usually calls for various vegetables and is already traditionally vegan-friendly.
Get the recipe: Veg Recipes Of India
5. Malaysian Bubur Lemak
Bubur lemak, sometimes called bubur lambuk, is a creamy Malaysian rice porridge that is lightly spiced and cooked in thick coconut milk. The traditional recipe sometimes adds chicken broth to the coconut milk, and uses spices such as lemongrass and star anise. It is then topped with meat, such as beef or chicken, or seafood like prawns.
To veganise this dish, you can make the burbur lemak without chicken broth and with plain coconut milk alongside spices, then top the dish with soya mince, fried chilli peppers, garlic and scallions.
Get the recipe: Cookpad
6. Indonesian Bubur Ayam
Bubur ayam is an Indonesian chicken congee dish, made with rice, shredded chicken and served with condiments such as scallion, fried shallots, celery, fried prawn crackers and fried tofu.
Even Indonesia’s beloved savoury porridge can be made vegan-friendly by subbing out chicken for a plant-based mock meat and avoiding oyster sauce.
Get the recipe: I Want The World To Stop
7. Vietnamese Chao Ga
Chao Ga is a chicken soup rice porridge from Vietnam, made with chicken, chicken broth, meat floss, vegetables and sometimes added with pasta, noodles, dumplings or other grains such as barley.
Try making chao ga vegan by using jasmine rice, chopped scallions, soy protein or soy-based floss that can be found in many local Asian supermarkets, soya sauce and black pepper.
Get the recipe: The Viet Vegan
8. Korean Dak Juk
Korea’s famous savoury porridge is called dak juk, and unlike many other dishes in Korean cuisine, this is not a spicy dish. It is mild tasting, made with chicken pieces and sometimes chicken broth, and various add-ins such as pumpkin, jujube and nuts.
For the vegan version, use rice, onion, carrots, squash, mushrooms and top it with roasted sesame seeds, sesame oil and dried seaweed. Instead of chicken broth, use a vegetable-based one.
Get the recipe: Chopsticks & Flour
9. Japanese Okayu
Okayu is a plain rice porridge made with short-grain white Japanese rice and water, and is often served with green onions, sesame seeds and umeboshi, which are pickled apricots or plums. While sometimes eaten with fish, it is typically a vegan-friendly dish served with only the condiments above – so herbivores can make the traditional version.
Get the recipe: The Spruce Eats
10. Taiwanese Teochew Congee
Taiwan’s version of savoury porridge is a Teochew-style savoury rice congee that is also common in Singaporean cuisine, and originally came from the Chaozhou region of China. It is more watery than the Cantonese version, and served with lots of meats, fish eggs and vegetables.
To veganise this dish, try making it with a vegetable broth to give it saltiness, and add loads of vegetables!
Get the recipe: The Worktop
Lead image courtesy of The Worktop.