Congee Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups of plain long grain rice or Haiga rice (or you may combine them in any proportion.)
  • 3 thin slices of fresh ginger root.
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 tea spoon of salt or 5 thick slices of preserved turnip (if available)

Direction:

  1. Rinse the rice with water in a big bowl 3 to 4 times until the water become clear.
  2. Put the rice and 9 cups of water in to a large pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Add fresh ginger root to the pot and turn it down to medium to low heat. (Preserved turnip can
    be added at this point instead of salt at the end.)
  4. Place the lid on and slide it over to allow the steam to escape. You may place a pair of
    chopsticks in parallel between the lid and the pot.
  5. Stir it occasionally to prevent the congee from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Cook for about 1 – 1 ½ hours until the congee has the thick, creamy texture of porridge. (You
    may have to add extra water during the cooking depending on how fast the water evaporates.)
  7. Season with salt. (Do not add salt if you use preserved turnip.)

Variation:

  • As mentioned above, preserved turnip can be used in place of salt for much better taste and
    flavor.
  • You may also add 1- 2 oz of salted pork or chicken (salt the meat lightly and let it sit overnight in
    the refrigerator) at the beginning of the cooking. Please note that you may be instructed not to
    consume the meat depending on your health conditions.
  • You can also add nappa cabbage, carrot and potatoes for better nutrition and the texture.

Healing Properties of Congee

Traditionally known as "hsi-fan " or rice water, congee is eaten throughout China as a breakfast food. It is thin porridge or gruel consisting of a handful of rice simmered in five to six times the amount of water. Although rice is the most common grain for congee, millet, spelt, or other grains are sometimes used. It is better to use too much water than too little, and it is said the longer congee cooks, the more powerful it becomes.

The healing properties of this simple rice soup are that they can easily be digested and assimilated, tonifies the blood and the Qi energy, harmonizes the digestion, and is demulcent, cooling, and nourishing. Since the chronically ill person often has weak blood and low energy, and easily develops inflammations and other heat symptoms from deficiency of yin fluids, the cooling, demulcent and tonifying properties of congee are particularly welcome. it is useful for increasing a nursing mother's supply of milk. The liquid can be strained from the porridge to drink as a supplement for infants and for serious conditions.

Other therapeutic properties may be added to the congee by cooking appropriate vegetables, grains, herbs, or meats in with the rice water. Since the rice itself strengthens the spleen-pancreas digestive center, other foods added to a rice congee become more completely assimilated, and their properties are therefore enhanced.

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