This healthy fusion of Chinese herbs and good old fashioned porridge has been adapted from a wonderful cook book called Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen. It is a wonderful way to introduce warmer breakfasts into your diet when the weather cools down. Autumn is the ideal time to start supporting your immunity before the winter cold and flu season hits and astragalus is a great way to do that.
Ingredients for 1 serve
15g Astragalus root (Huang Qi)
2 cups water
1/2 cup rolled oats
A small handful of coarsely chopped walnut pieces
30g Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi)
A pinch of Celtic sea salt
Honey or maple syrup to sweeten
- Place the astragalus root and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for about 20 minutes. You should end up with about 1 cup of astragalus ‘tea’.
- Remove the astragalus root from the liquid with a slotted spoon.
- Add the rolled oats, walnuts, goji berries, and salt to the liquid and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked to the desired consistency.
- Serve warm, drizzled with a small amount of honey, if desired.
You can prepare the astragalus tea the night before if you prefer and then soak your oats, salt and goji berries over night in it. Add the walnuts in the morning and then briefly cook your porridge.
Astragalus Root (also known as astragali radix, milk-vetch root or huang qi) looks a little like a tongue depressor and is easily found in most oriental supermarkets. It has been tested extensively for its healing properties. Some studies support the view that the herb stimulates the immune system, as well as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Astragalus root, which is considered sweet and slightly warm, is classified as a qi tonic (supports good energy levels) and is seen a acting on the Lung and Spleen channels to strengthen the immune system and improve digestion. As it is a tonic it is best not to consume it if you are in the acute phase of a cold or flu but to use it preventatively or recuperatively.
As a root it works best for making teas, soups (chicken soup, fish soup, or shiitake mushroom soup for just a few ideas) or porridge (here is my winter warming congee recipe). Generally you can simmer the astragalus in water until the water is reduced by about 1/3 then add your other ingredients. Remove the astragalus after cooking as it is not really edible. There are many recipes available on line if you go looking.
If you would like to find out more about using food as medicine have a look at these great workshops