My mom has always been the ultimate cook. Growing up in a house with three other siblings she would create specialized meals to cater to each of our likes and dietary restrictions. I used to think she could read my mind because every time I would crave a dish, without telling her, she would make it. When I transitioned to a vegetarian diet my mom immediately started to alter classic Vietnamese dishes to plant based versions. One of my favourite dishes was her famous Cháo Ga. Traditionally this dish is a hearty rice congee simmered in a chicken bone broth, topped with shredded chicken, bean sprouts, fried onions, and fresh herbs. My dad would also top his with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper, a little hoisin sauce, and sriracha. I’ve inherited this style from him and is how I love to eat my congee.

My partner was sick with a cold recently, so I decided to recreate this comfort dish from my childhood. He was a little skeptical while I was cooking but ultimately shocked at how delicious it was. My take on Cháo Chay (vegetarian congee) is far from traditional but is quick, easy and satisfies any congee craving. There’s nothing like a nice warm bowl of cháo on a cold day! Chúc ngon miệng (enjoy)!


  • ½ cup of jasmine rice
  • 3 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ package of Yves Original Ground Round
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ chopped cilantro (garnish)
  • Sriracha and Hoisin Sauce (optional)


  1. Rinse rice thoroughly and drain all liquid. On Medium heat pour rice in a pan/skillet. Stir constantly for approximately 15 mins. Once rice has turned a golden brown immediately remove from heat.
  2. In a medium sized pot combine rice, broth, and water. On high heat bring everything to a boil. Once boiling reduce to medium heat, cover and allow congee to simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
  3. While congee is simmering. Chop carrots. In a pan/skillet on medium-high heat saute carrots with grape seed oil. Once carrots have softened add ground round and black pepper. Stirring often until mixture is golden and slightly crispy.
  4. Roughly chop cilantro for garnish.
  5. In a bowl place congee, top with ground round mix, bean sprouts and cilantro. Optionally you may add sriracha and hoisin sauce for extra flavour. Enjoy!