Conference takeaway: Why you should have Rice Porridge on your menu. 

During Tina Varughese’s Keynote, she spoke about a number of different opportunities that would help attract New Canadians to the ski slopes.  One simple way to make other cultures feel more at home, is provide appealing menu items to them…that may also help ensure they buy food from your cafeteria and not bring it in their own crockpot!

Rice Porridge is a common everyday food in many cultures.  Congee, Kanji, Okayu, Juk, Jok – are all rice porridge dishes, largely disintegrated after prolonged cooking in liquid.  Each are from different cultures (Chinese, South Indian, Japanese, Korean, Thai), and Tina advised it was easy and inexpensive to make, so definitely seems like a no brainer.

When we returned from the conference I was eager to pass along this intel, so I turned to google to find out more!  Here’s what I found:

  • It’s easy to make, apparently!
  • Plain rice porridge could be served as a side dish, but add in meat, fish or other flavorings to make it a meal of its own!
  • It’s gluten-free – a huge opportunity for today’s menus.
  • You can cook rice porridge in just about anything – from stove top, to slow cookers to pressure cookers, there are recipes for them all. Based on what you are cooking it in the time can vary from 30 mins in a pressure cooker, to 4 or 5 hours in a slow cooker.    But whatever you cook it in needs to be big!
  • Ratios: based on the desired thickness it could be made anywhere between 1:8 (rice to water) for a thick porridge, to 1:13 for a thin soupy texture!

We’d love to hear your what you offer to make New Canadians feel more comfortable hitting the slopes.  Please share any of your recipes, programs and other tips that can help “wintegrate” new Canadians!


Here’s a Plain Congee Side Dish Recipe

½ cup rice, rinsed
3-4 cups water
1 Tbsp Ginger (minced)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
Dash of salt (to taste)


  • Put everything in a rice cooker and cook until no longer grainy, stirring occasionally!
  • Can be garnished with chopped scallions, pepper and sesame oil

Ginger Chicken Congee

1 cup raw long-grain white rice, rinsed
7 cups chicken stock
½ tsp sea salt
1inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
¼ tsp sesame seed oil
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Sliced green onion, for garnish


  • Combine stock, rice, salt & ginger together in a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  • Stirring occasionally, simmer for 1 hour until thick and creamy.
  • Add chicken and sesame seed oil.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with green onions.


Some great links to more about Congee and some different recipes:

Photo credit: Mary’s Test Kitchen