Congee is a popular menu item in Asia and great way to start your day with a warm breakfast. Translated as ‘rice water’, it’s a slow cooked rice porridge that, when added to the diet, offers easily digestible nutrition to boost metabolism and build blood. Slow cooking breaks down rice kernel into a state that the body can easily absorb, and in Chinese medicine, warm foods are more digestive friendly than cold foods like cereal and yogurt. The great thing is that you can make a batch on Sunday that will last you all week long, and all you have to do is reheat it and add some flavor depending on your taste.
To make congee, add 1 cup of rinsed organic brown rice and 10 cups of water to a crock pot, and slow cook for 8 hours until the consistency is that of porridge. If you don’t have a crock pot, you can use the stovetop, cooking low and slow for 4-6 hours. You can also use an Instant Pot – set on porridge for 15 minutes, let the pot release naturally, and do a second cycle for 15 minutes on porridge setting, release naturally.
Save the remaining congee in the fridge for up to a week, and reheat it adding a little water or bone broth to reconstitute.
A 1 cup of brown rice will yield approximately 6-8 cup sized servings, so those concerned with carbs can rest assured that the carb load is low. One can also use a more protein heavy starch like quinoa in substitute of brown rice.
Although great for breakfast, it’s just as handy as a base for any protein/veggie combo as well.
Add-Ins (because it’s a little bland):
- Adding a little healthy fat helps slow the delivery of sugar to the pancreas – try coconut oil, olive oil, or butter (no margarine or anything with partially hydrogenated oil!)
- One egg stirred in while warming on the stove plus a little salt and pepper and pinch of parmesan cheese
- Fruit/Berries and a little honey or molasses
- Cinnamon or nutmeg and/or chopped apple
- Dried fruit or goji berries/raisins
- Slivered almonds, pecans, cashews or walnuts
- Cut up grilled chicken, scallions, and edamame with a dash of tamari and Sriracha
- Grilled and chopped portobello mushrooms and shrimp
Really, there’s an endless combination of flavors that one can use, and you can also experiment with oats, quinoa, millet, or kiwicha.