Rice is a staple Asian food. Congee is especially good for breakfast or when someone is not feeling well. The Book of Jook by Bob Flaws provides so many recipes for congee for so many conditions.
Congee is an ancient remedy in Chinese culture and in Islamic tradition we know the Prophet (SAW) loved foods that were easy on the digestive function and healing. Congee has the ability to heal the gut issues, it is known as a healing porridge. This rice stew is extremely easy on the digestive system and offers the body a sustainable and accessible energy source, perfect for a troubled digestive system.
With just a few ingredients simmered low and slow on the cooker, you can make a delicious and warming meal. Below are some of the valuable benefits of congee.
Hydration: The starchy mixture can stay in the body longer than other types of food and allow the system to absorb liquid at a slower pace. Most Chinese people do not drink water or beverages with their meals but consume a cup of broth or congee. This is a more satisfying level of hydration for your organs. (Women- if you do not want to experience menopausal symptoms, starchy foods in moderation as it clogs up the tubes).
Improves Spleen Qi: Harmonises Stomach and Spleen meridians. Often low spleen Qi manifests into the following symptoms: bloating, sinus trouble, sinus congestion, water retention, frontal headaches, gas, loose stools or irregular bowel movements, lethargy, grogginess upon rising, brain fog, and easy bruising.
Tonifies energy and Blood: For those feeling weak and fatigued, congee can give strength and energy by promoting circulation and warming the body.
Lactation: Enhances milk production in breastfeeding mothers
Here is a recipe for basic white rice congee.
Collagen boost: Chicken stock or bone broth (organic only) which is the second key ingredient for congee, has the added benefit of collagen which can aid in intestinal lining restoration, cartilage health, skin health, and gut bacteria. For vegetarians, a mushroom broth with seaweed is beneficial, nutritious and delicious.
Gut healing: Able to repair intestinal permeability, leaky gut and reduce inflammation.
Removes cold and dampness: Warms the digestion which warms the entire body. Adding Ginger Powder and scallions is a triple threat to push out excess cold and dampness.
Relieves constipation: Improves bowel regularity and creates an ideal temperature to push out toxins and waste.
You can make it as simple or complex as you prefer with the Book of Jook.
-Short grain white rice
-Chicken stock, bone broth, vegetable stock or filtered water (please make your own broths do not purchase off the shelf. it is easy to make and will put up the recipe)
The ratio will be about 1:5, rice to liquid. Play around with it to see which consistency you prefer. The Stomach is like a child so prefers watery consistency, Stomach loves fluids. But not too much water as the Spleen does not like too much fluid and you may end up with fluid retention. Moderation is key like everything in Islam.
Add the rice into the liquid and have the mixture come up to a boil. When boiling, reduce to low heat for 20-30 minutes until soft and soupy. In a slow cooker, you can cook it on low for hours.
Quick method: freeze raw rice in ice cube trays and add a little water. When you want to make congee add one rice cube to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. If you are using congee for healing illness, keep the recipe simple and skip the toppings.
Make congee into a meal by adding the following:
- Protein: meat, tofu, egg (take it easy with soy products as too much could end up damaging thyroid which is like the engine of the body. I have two sisters who overdid it when they were young as they could not tolerate dairy, ended up with thyroid dysfunction which is now affecting their Kidneys and Kidneys are the foundation of our body)
-Vegetables: bok choy, cabbage, onions, leeks, mushrooms, radish greens, dandelion greens, scallions, seaweed, pickles, sauerkraut, lemon.
-Spices: Ginger Power, garlic, turmeric, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, cinnamon, oregano.
-Fat: Ghee, coconut oil/ milk, olive oil, avocado, sesame oil, sesame seeds, black seed oil, black seeds.
-Sweet congee is great, too. Add walnuts, goji berries, dried cherries, cinnamon, maple syrup or honey for a delicious and extremely beneficial meal.