Porridge is a great warming way to start the day but sometime you need a break from oats. Did you know that you can make porridge out of any grain you like – you can make Kasha (buckwheat porridge), rice porridge, millet porridge, quinoa porridge, teff porridge etc. Job’s tears also makes a delicious porridge.

Job’s tears is often called Chinese pearl barley but it is not actually a barley even though it looks a bit like a fat cousin of barley, similarly to how buckwheat is not a wheat. Since it is not a barley it is gluten free and it also happens to be high in protein.

Job’s tears is also known as croix seeds, or yi yi ren in Chinese medicine and it is used to drain dampness which essentially means it can help with diarrhoea, oedema, foggy head, and joint pains. It is considered to be cooling so be sure to add some cinnamon and/or ginger when eating it in winter. You will find it easily in the Asian supermarkets. You can use it to make soups or if you cook it as you would rice (it takes a little longer than rice to cook so be sure to add enough water) then don’t throw out the cooking water as it makes a great tea – add lemon juice and honey and you have a gluten free lemon barley water.

Pears are considered cooling, sweet and sour, and nourish your lungs and digestion. They can transform phlegm and as part of this lovely porridge they can nourish the yin of the body.

Cinnamon (Rou Gui) is very warming and so a great addition to your winter cooking. It is considered to warm and nourish not only your digestion but also your Heart, Kidney, and Liver. By warming the body it can improve circulation and relieve pain. You can leave this out if you struggle with heat or you are making this porridge in summer.

Ginger (Sheng jiang) is also wonderfully warming and another great addition to winter cooking. It is considered to warm and nourish your lungs and digestion which can help improve digestion and ease coughing. You can also leave this out if you struggle with heat or you are making this porridge in summer.

Job’s tears Porridge 


  • 1 cup job’s tears (sweet, cooling, drain damp)
  • 750 ml boiling water
  • 2 large organic pears or apples or 1 of each, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (warming for winter, leave out in summer)
  • a small knob of ginger finely chopped or grated (warming for winter, leave out in summer)
  • pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • pinch sea salt
  • zest of 1 large organic orange (I used a tangelo) – zest help with digestion
  • 3 tsp sweetener (1 for each cup of water or to taste) (I use maple syrup or organic honey)
  • Mylk to serve (I used coco quench – a delicious combination of coconut mylk and rice mylk)
  • A sprinkle of crushed nuts to serve (walnuts are a great winter nut as they nourish your kidneys, pine nuts are great if you feel a little constipated)


  • Add the job’s tears and water to a slow cooker
  • Place the pears or apples on top
  • Mix the spices and orange zest and sprinkle over the fruit
  • Cook on high over night (6-8 hours)
  • Serve up in the morning with a little mylk and honey and a sprinkle of  dry roasted nuts

Bon appetit!

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, Qigong and Wholefood counselling). Tania is an AHPRA registered practitioner of Chinese Medicine located in Katoomba, NSW and has spent 6 years lecturing at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Sydney campus.

The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Remember that you are responsible for your own health and safety at all times.