About the Healing Rice Porridge (Congee)
Healing Rice Porridge (Congee)
Congee is eaten throughout China as a thin soup or thicker gruel. It is also called Jook. There are also many versions throughout Eastern Europe like Kasha.
Generally, you add 3-6 times the amount of liquid to rice, depending on the desired thickness. I use medium or long grain rice, but you can also use short grain. It takes about 1 cup rice to 6 cups to 9 cups liquid. You can always add more liquid if you need to. Use less if you prefer it thicker. Traditionally water is used, but for more flavor you can use broth. You can also use any other grain besides rice. Ideally, you would cook the congee for up to 4-6 hours on low heat; a crockpot works very well for congees. It is said that the longer a congee cooks the “more powerful” it becomes. However, you may find that 25-45 minutes is enough. You want to make sure that is mushy like oatmeal and the rice has lost it's form.
A congee is easily digested, and the nutrients are easily assimilated, thus it fortifies the blood, and Qi-energy, strengthens the Spleen-pancreas digestive-Qi, harmonizes digestion, is moistening, cooling, and nourishing.
The liquid can be strained to drink as a supplement for infants or for those with serious illness. By itself, rice cooked with water is very bland. This is best for infants, when ill or recuperating from illness or surgery.
Other desired therapeutic benefits for food therapy can be achieved by the addition of appropriate vegetables, grains, meats, or herbs. It can be made with foods for their cooling effects or more warming effects.
The addition of garnishes or toppings add color, texture and taste. Try hard boiled eggs, mussels, clams, nuts, seeds, fried shallots, fresh herbs, cilantro, basil, green onion, chive, celery, fish sauce, chili paste, a drizzle of tamari, or sesame oil. It can be seasoned with white or black pepper, sea salt, ginger slices, minced garlic, sea vegetables, pickled greens, or pickled vegetables. For breakfast, or a sweeter taste try cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, red dates, goji berries, fresh blue berries, maple syrup, barley or rice malt. You can choose to sauté garlic, ginger and mushrooms in olive, sesame, or avocado oil until mushrooms have softened before adding the rice and liquid. Stir in greens and other quick cooking vegetables in the last hour or minutes of cooking time. It can stay refrigerated for a few days. If it thickens while in the refrigerator, add an appropriate amount of broth or water when reheating.