Congee is a traditional, highly nourishing Chinese breakfast used for healing since the Han Dynasty (206 BCE). Made with rice, other grains and water, congee is a simple and powerful way to support digestion and overall health.
In Chinese Medicine, congee is prescribed anytime that Spleen qi – the energy that propels digestion and production of qi and blood – needs to be replenished. This is often the case with chronic illness, recovery from acute illness, digestive issues and postpartum symptoms. Or when we are over worked and over stressed.
Congee can be made in advance in large quantities for an easy breakfast every day of the week. Use these guidelines to get you started. As you become more familiar with the process, you’ll likely find that you can make adjustments in the recipe to suit your own preferences. Like a smoothie, congee can be adapted to meet many varied medicinal needs.
Any congee will strengthen Spleen qi and digestion. When choosing which ingredients to add, you can take these energetics into consideration:
- aromatic flavors like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom will strengthen digestion, clear phlegm and support the lungs
- dark colored berries and beets will build blood
- nuts and seeds will nourish yin, strengthen Kidney qi, generate fluids and soothe symptoms associated with heat and dryness like hot flashes, night sweats, dry coughs and thirst
- fruits and veggies support a healthy Liver and keep its energy flowing smoothly throughout the body
MAIN INGREDIENTS: 3/4 c. long grain white rice, 3/4 c. long grain brown rice, 10 c. water.
Combine rice and water in a crock pot. Add in additional ingredients listed below. Cook on low setting for about 6 hours. Stir occasionally. Add salt to taste. Portion it out in glass containers for easy heating in the mornings. Dilute if desired when preparing.
Grains: If you decide to use one of these grains, reduce the rice to 1/2 c each. Then add 1 c. of: barley, buckwheat, cornmeal, Job’s tears, millet, oats or quinoa
Vegetables + legumes: Pre-cook the veggies and beans: beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, adzuki beans, lentils, mung beans, mushrooms, scallions (garnish)
Nuts + seeds: almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, black sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds
Dried fruit: goji berries, Chinese red dates, raisins, figs
Seasonings: brown sugar, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, honey
Broths: vegetable stock – keep total liquid at 10 c.