Congee is basically a slow cooked rice porridge whose therapeutic qualities can be altered depending on what other ingredients are added.
Generally, rice congee is a digestive enhancer and improves assimilation.
The basic rice congee is easy to digest and is as much a great first food for babies (if made with organic white rice) as it is a regular breakfast.
- 1 cup short grain rice (brown or white – use white rice for the very young or very old or if recuperating from an illness as it is easier to digest)
- 4-8 cups water or stock (use more water for children or for weak digestive systems)
- pinch sea salt (I love celitc sea salt)
Cook over low heat for approximately 3-6 hours. Use a flame deflector to prevent burning on a gas stove or a slow cooker overnight – I always use a slow cooker overnight so I can wake up to a nourishing breakfast.
You can then serve it savoury with 1tsp miso paste, shallots, & tamari roasted seeds or sweet with stewed fruit.
Simply add 1-3 tablespoons of grated ginger at the beginning. This is great for morning sickness, or travel sickness if you are on a rocky cruise.
RED DATE CONGEE
Probably the most palatable of the congees, this one promotes the circulation of Qi and Blood, strengthens digestion and sedates and calms the spirit! To the basic recipe add 200g Chinese red dates chopped & 3 tablespoons fresh ginger chopped fine. Red dates can be found dried in your local oriental supermarket
Warming and tonifying; useful for chronic loose stools or diarrhoea. Add 1-2 cups sliced leeks to the basic recipe.
Carminative (relieves flatulence) and peptic (digestive tonifier), useful for indigestion. Add 2 cups sliced carrot to the basic recipe. (Fennel also eases flatulence)
Moistening so useful for constipation. Add 1 cup pine nuts to the basic recipe.
MUNG BEAN CONGEE
Cooling, especially great for hot summers. Add ¼ – ½ cup mung beans to the basic recipe.
Cooling and harmonising so useful for high blood pressure Add 1-2 cups sliced celery to the basic recipe.
AZUKI BEAN CONGEE
Useful for oedema and gout. Add ¼- ½ cup adzuki beans / Japanese red beans (soaked for 8-24hr) to the basic recipe
Tonifies your kidneys, strengthens your lower back and knees. Add ¼- ½ cup dried chestnuts to the basic recipe.
Generally tonifying, especially for your kidneys and liver. Add 1 cup diced kidney/liver to the basic recipe.
Winter meals need to be nutritious and warming. My favourite congee in the wintertime is Winter Warming Congee
WINTER WARMING CONGEE
- 30-gr Astragalus root (also called huang qi or milk vetch) buy it from your local Chinese herbalist or Chinese supermarket & tie together with cotton or string. You’ll need to throw it out after cooking as you can’t eat it
- 2.5cm fresh ginger root minced
- ½ tsp powdered ginger
- 2 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 12 Chinese Honey Dates – from the oriental supermarket
- 2 cups diced carrots
- ¾ cup millet
- 8 cups water
Place all ingredients into the slow cooker at night, cook for around 8 hours & wake up to a deliciously warming breakfast. You can sweeten it with honey, rice syrup or maple syrup on serving.
Your feedback and questions are always welcome so please leave a comment below.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Wholefood counselling). Tania is an AHPRA registered practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine located in Botany and Katoomba, NSW and is a lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Sydney campus.