Recipe for Health
Congee is an Asian comfort food that is also deeply nourishing and tasty. There are many ways to prepare congee but the base recipe is the same- 1 cup of rice to 10 cups of liquid. From there you can decide if you are feeling savory or sweet and can add things like meats, veg or fruits to your liking!
Here is one of my favorite savory congee recipes…
-1 cup rice
-10 cups chicken, beef, bone or veg broth
-Handful of astragalus roots (this will be discarded after use not eaten)
-Handful of jujube dates (Da Zao)
-1-2 slices of reishi mushroom (this will be discarded after use not eaten)
-2 TBSP. minced garlic
-2 TBSP. minced ginger
-1 TBSP. fresh ground black pepper
-3 Lbs. cooked chicken cut up
-Salt to taste
-scallions for garnish
Place the rice, herbs and broth into a large pot. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chicken and simmer for about 30 minutes longer. Stir frequently now as the soup is getting thicker. The consistency should resemble porridge. You can add more broth is you need.
- Garnish with scallions.
You can omit the chicken, add more veg and use a vegetable stock base if you don’t eat meat!
Common Congee Combinations
This list features common rice-based congee combinations and desired effects, adapted from Chinese Medicinal Herbs*
Aduki Bean: Diuretic, Curative for edema and Gout
Apricot Kernel: Recommended for coughs, asthma, expels sputum, and intestinal gas
Carrot: Digestive Aid, calms flatulence
Celery: Cooling, Benefits the Large Intestine
Chestnut: Tonfifes kidneys, strengthens knees, helps treat anal hemorrhages
Fennel- Harmonies stomach, exiles gas, improves hernias
Ginger- Warming and antiseptic, great for deficient cold digestive weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and indigestion
Leek- Warming, good from chronic diarrhea
Liver from chicken or sheep- benefits diseases of the liver, very powerful healing tonic
Mung Bean- Cooling, reduces fever, relieves thirst
Mustard- expels phlegm, clears stomach congestion
Poppy Seed- Relieves vomiting, benefits Large intestine
Radish- Improves digestion, benefits the diaphragm
Brown Rice- (A favorite) Diuretic, thirst quenching, Nourishing and great for nursing moms
Sesame Seed- Moisturizing to digestive tract
Taro root- Aids the stomach, builds blood
Yogurt and Honey- delicious and beneficial to Heart and Lungs
Pitchford, P. (2009). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
*F.Porter Smith and G.A. Stuart. (1973) Chinese Medicinal Herbs, San Francisco: Georgetown Press.