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.

Basic preparation

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 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.


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

Sliced scallions

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


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