What is Congee?
Congeeis a thin porridge or thick grain soup. Traditionally in China, Congeeis made with rice and it is eaten for breakfast. You can actually make Congeefrom any grain or from various combinations of grains, vegetables, legumes, animal protein and herbs. Because every grain, legume, vegetable, protein and plant has an energetic quality and specific use outline, it is possible to make a personal Congee according to medical needs.
Benefits of Congee
Congee nourishes the center of the body and raises the QI, nourishes the spleen and creates harmony in the stomach. Because the grain is eaten after long cooking, it is particularly easy to digest and absorb and is beneficial for the stomach and intestines. Cooking with plenty of water helps the body to maintain proper hydration of the stomach that is essential for proper functioning. Proper moisture is usually damaged in old age due to various chronic diseases. The moistening is done without the danger of creating pathological phlegm or mucus. Congee keeps the stomach and intestines open for passage of food and free of waste buildup, two essential conditions for quality of life and longevity.
Congeein the modern age
Congee is easy to prepare and is suitable for the busy person; place the ingredients in the pot, start cooking and forget about it till it’s done, without the need for extra hassle. The Congee can be prepared the evening before, so that in the morning it only needs light heating. You can take the Congee to work in a thermal cup or drink it “on the road”. The Congees saline quality helps balance, soothe and prevent injury to the YIN which is harmed in people who are constantly on the move, exposed to an overload of information, stimuli, electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and laptops, and long and exhausting working hours.
Who is it for?
Rice porridge is especially suitable for anyone suffering from indigestion: infants and children, people sick or recovering from illness, states of weakness and fatigue, dehydration, YIN or Blood Deficiency which are common in a number of medical conditions such as in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy and elderly people. Congee is one of the most suitable foods for babies while breastfeeding or after breastfeeding.
Cook one cup of rice with 5, 6, 7, or 8 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 2–4 hours, until thick broth is formed and the rice has broken down in the cooking water. Another way to make Congee is to use a slow cooker. Put the rice and water and add other legumes, vegetables or herbs as needed, set on low heat and cook under boiling temperature for the whole night. In the morning, pour into a bowl, season and eat.
SOFT RICE (BROWN RICE PORRIDGE)
Soft rice is traditionally eaten for breakfast in Japan, China, and other Eastern countries. It is also taken to help relieve colds, fevers, and more serious conditions.
1 cup brown rice
5 cups water
Pinch of salt
Wash the rice and pressure cook or boil as in the basic recipes. Not all the water will be absorbed. The rice should be creamy and some of the grains should still be visible after cooking. In case the water boils over while the rice is cooking, turn off the heat and allow the rice to cool off. Then turn on the heat again and continue to cook until done. Wait for the pressure to come down naturally, open the pressure cooker, and serve.
Variations: soft rice may also be made by simmering overnight over very low heat for 5 to 8 hours. for this method, use 10 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Vegetables can be added while cooking, as well as seaweed, such as a 1 inch square of Kombu. For a sweeter porridge, dried raisins and other dried fruit may be added to the cooking rice.
MISO SOFT RICE
Left over rice seasoned with miso makes another variety of delicious soft rice for breakfast.
2 cups cooked brown rice
7-8 cups spring water
1 cup celery sliced diagonal
1 6-8 inch strip of Kombu, soaked and sliced or diced
4 shitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced or diced
Pureed barley miso
Put the rice, water, celery, Kombu, and shitake in a pot
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover
Simmer for 1 hour or so, or pressure cook for about 45 to 50 minutes
Season with pureed barley miso to taste and simmer for several minutes longer
Add the sliced scallions at the very end of the cooking time and serve hot
Brown rice cream makes a delicious breakfast, but is mostly used medicinally and is especially recommended for persons who have difficulty swallowing or holding down food.
1 cup brown rice
10 cups spring water
Pinch of sea salt, or 1/3 Umeboshi plum per cup of rice
Rinse the rice before cooking
Dry roast the rice over medium low heat until it is golden brown and the grain releases a nutty fragrance
Transfer to a pot, add water and seasoning and bring to a boil
Cover, lower the heat, and place a flame deflector beneath the pot
Cook about 1.1/2 hours until half the water has evaporated
Let the rice cool and then put into medium cheesecloth or unbleached muslin
Tie the cheesecloth together to make a bag and squeeze the cream out of the pulp
Heat the cream and then serve
Add more seasoning if needed
The pulp is also very good to eat and can be made into a small ball and steamed with grated carrot or mixed with whole wheat flour and deep fried.
Variations: garnish with scallions, chopped parsley, Nuri seaweed, Gomashio, or roasted nuts/seeds
This dish may also be pressure cooked starting with 5 cups of water