Khao Dtom Moo Saap (Rice Congee with Pork Meatballs)

Chef James Syhabout flavors his meatballs simply with fish sauce and soy sauce. They’re served in his soothing congee with assorted condiments, including cilantro, garlic oil, and chile vinegar.

Rice Congee with Pork Meatballs
Photo: © Con Poulos
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
4 to 6 servings


  • 1/2 pound ground pork

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce, plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • Freshly ground white pepper

  • 8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1 cup jasmine rice

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into three 3-inch pieces and crushed

  • 5 dried Thai bird chiles, stemmed, or 1 tablespoon crushed dried Thai chile

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • Lime wedges, sliced scallions, and chopped cilantro, for serving


  1. In a bowl, combine the pork with the 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, the soy sauce and a pinch of white pepper. Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes.

  2. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, combine the chicken stock, rice and lemongrass and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the rice is soft, about 25 minutes. Discard the lemongrass.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the dried chiles over moderate heat until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a coarse powder; some seeds will remain. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

  4. Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Scrape the garlic oil into a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the serrano, vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  5. Using a small ice cream scoop, make generous 1-inch meatballs with the ground pork. Drop into the rice and broth in the casserole. Cover and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

  6. Ladle the congee into bowls. Serve with little bowls of the toasted chiles, fried garlic oil, chile vinegar, lime wedges, scallions, cilantro, white pepper and fish sauce.

Make Ahead

The uncooked meatballs can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Vibrant South African Chenin Blanc.

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