Super easy to make, this beef and vegetable rice porridge for babies is easy-to-digest, nutritious, and suitable for 6 months and up. It’s also a great meal to serve when your child is feeling sick or teething.
While I’m calling it baby porridge, this dish is for all ages! Rice porridge is commonly enjoyed in Asian cultures as a hearty savory breakfast. It’s also our “chicken soup.” Warm and comforting, it’s the perfect meal during an illness.
If your child is running a fever, teething, having diarrhea, etc., make this porridge ASAP!
Porridge is such a great way to invite variety into your baby’s diet! It can be made with any types meat, seafood, vegetables, and other flavorful toppings.
Here I’m sharing a veggie-loaded version with beef!
Is rice safe for babies?
Being Korean, we eat a lot of rice. That’s why when the report about rice containing about 10 times as much inorganic arsenic as other cereal crop came out, my anxiety initially skyrocketed. Perhaps you can relate.
Why so much in rice? It's due to the way they're grown and rice tend to absorb more heavy metals from the soil in which they are grown.
Arsenic is especially concerning for babies and young children as their bodies are so small and therefore getting much higher exposure than the adults. Arsenic is also a neurotoxic compound and thus can lead to impaired brain development. I know. Scary.
BUT! don't let fear get the best of you. I share this information because knowledge is important. It helps us to learn and make informed decisions.
What this knowledge further motivated me to do, and I hope it does for you, is to focus on offering a wide variety of grains instead of relying heavily on rice.
Related post: Instant Pot Multigrain rice with lentils
How to cook rice for baby 6 months and up
Here's a simple way you can significantly reduce arsenic from rice while preserving its nutrients.
According to the research, parboiling rice removes about 54 percent of arsenic in brown rice and about 73 percent in white rice, while retaining the most amount of the nutrients potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, and manganese.
For this recipe, not only will this extra step remove the arsenic content considerably, it also shortens the cooking time.
Rice - Sushi or jasmine rice will work best. I don’t recommend basmati as it doesn’t break down into a creamy, “gluey” consistency.
Feel free to use whatever vegetables you wish - bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus, spinach...endless possibilities!
You can finely chop using a knife or a food processor. I like to prep a lot while the baby is napping so this manual food chopper is my go-to (affiliate link). It’s super quiet, lightweight, and powerful.
- cook beef in sesame oil
- add onion and garlic
3. add parboiled rice
4. add the rest of the vegetables
5. Add water and cook for 15-20 minutes
6. Add a drizzle of sesame oil before serving
It's important that you stir frequently. The more you do so, the more the rice will break down and become silky.
While water is used in this recipe, you can use stock for more depth of flavor. Just be sure to use low-sodium or no-salt-added variety.
Leftover porridge can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Stir in a little water, breastmilk, or formula to loosen it up, if necessary.
How to freeze baby porridge
If intending to freeze, be sure to cool first. Do NOT leave the porridge in the large pot at room temperature to cool. Instead, transfer to shallow containers (I like to divide into single-serving portions) in the fridge before transferring to the freezer. Here's an in-depth post on how to store leftovers safely and effectively.
This baby porridge can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Do you want to minimize picky eating and set a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits?
Check out this 3 month mastering self-feeding program! It’s the closest thing to me being in your kitchen
rice porridge for babies
- 1 cup (220g) sushi or jasmine rice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- ½ cup (70g) finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ½ cup (70g) finely chopped zucchini
- ½ cup (70g) finely chopped carrots
- ½ cup (15g) finely chopped kale
- 4 cups water or low-sodium broth of choice
First, parboil rice
- Rinse rice in a strainer. Add 4 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add rice and boil for 5 minutes. Strain the rice. Discard the water.
For the porridge
- In a large pot add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add beef and cook over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, breaking up large clumps, until no longer pink.
- Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add strained rice and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the rest of the vegetables and stir for about a minute or so.
- Pour 4 cups of water into pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes. Be sure to keep scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent rice from sticking.
- At this point, you can add more water if thinner consistency is desired. Before serving, add a drizzle of sesame oil. For older child and adults, can season to taste with salt and pepper, or add a splash of soy sauce.