What is congee?
At its base, congee is a type of rice porridge that can be served with beans, meats, vegetables, herbs or fruits. In it’s traditional essence, congee is comfort food that is revered in Asian cultures for its nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Congee’s are a staple in nurturing health, especially when recovering from an illness. Congee supports the digestive fire, which in Chinese Medicine theory is the foundation of health. The body’s ability to transform and transport nutrients as well as breakdown and release waste is a crucial aspect that affects all of our body’s systems. The congee can be modified MANY ways and you can experiment with other grains and legumes like millet, barley, yi yi ren (Jobs Tears), oats, lentils etc.
LA has been cold and rainy lately so I decided to make a congee. It’s very simple and versatile for breakfast or dinner, accompanying other dishes or eaten on its own.
I made a congee based on what I had in my pantry using just 3 ingredients!
- Red Adzuki Beans (Chi Xiao Dou)
- Fresh grated ginger root
Red Adzuki bean helps to drain dampness by promoting urination and enhancing water metabolism. They can benefit edema, abdominal swelling and bloating as well as support urinary health by facilitating the resolution of dampness and heat. Think UTI, inflammation in the intestines, candida, gut dysbiosis, hemorroides etc..
Chi Xiao Dou, or Red Aduki Beans are especially indicated postpartum for its blood augmenting effect as well as lactation support.
Adzuki beans are an excellent source of fiber and also contain high amounts of folate, potassium, magnesium and iron, which are essential nutrients for the blood. Hey Ladies! Yes, we have to support our blood, simply because we shed blood and re-generate blood much more than men. In theory, its actually longevity medicine. Our ability to renew blood is one of the markers for a long life, and women typically do live longer..
More amazing benefits of Adzuki Beans include:
- Balance blood sugar levels and reduce risk for diabetes (rich in soluble fiber and resistant starch)
- Aids in weight loss (rich in protein and fiber, promote digestion and urination)
- Improves skin (high in antioxidants)
- Quinoa: 1 cup
- Chi Xiao Dou (adzuki beans): 1 cup
- Grated ginger (generous amount!)
- 4 cups of water or bone broth
Simmer in the crock pot for about 3 hours for a watery consistency like a porridge. I ate mine for dinner and left the remaining in the crockpot overnight, which absorbed all the water creating a more congealed consistency. I served this with a soft boiled egg topped with cilantro and salt and pepper. It’s also super delicious served with butternut squash. Congee is very versatile and can become a base for other veggies and protein or simply wonderful on its own.
For a more traditional Chinese Congee, I am gathering a few more ingredients this week at the Asian grocery store. Here are the ingredients and recipe that I will be trying next:
- Sweet Rice 1/4 cup
- Jasmine rice 1/4 cup
- Yi Yi Ren (Job’s tears) 1/4 cup
- Long Yan Rou (dried Longan fruit) 1/4 cup
- Chi Xiao Dou (adzuki beans) 1/4 cup
- Da Zao (Jujube) 2 pieces
This recipe is very nourishing for postpartum as well as post-menstrual cycle. It can help with fluid metabolism and excess water weight while nourishing the blood. Congee’s support our digestive fire with the warmth of the spices and easy to digest ingredients.
How do you make your congee? Comment below!