This is a traditional dish found in almost all cultures. Think porridge! In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the stomach holds the food, while the spleen transports and transforms the food. Their ability to work properly is considered so important that the qi, or energy, of the human body rests on the proper function of the spleen and stomach. We can assist the stomach by making foods easy to digest.
Congee is simple and easy to make. A small amount of grain, I like brown rice, with 5-6 times more water and a pinch of sea salt. You can also add a little beans or root vegetable. When you incorporate this as a regular dish, you’ll see improvement in digestive functions and the consistent level of energy throughout the morning. Congee is easy for most people to digest. Cooking it for a longer time with more water makes the grains breakdown.
How to prepare congee: Congee is most easily prepared in a dutch oven such as a Le Crueset. I usually take grains I have already cooked for another dish, add more water, and cook for an additional 20 minutes with the lid on on medium low. The grain to liquid ratio is 1:5 or 1:6. It is better to use too much water than too little. Try using a little broth or non dairy milk to give it a little more flavor. However, learning to enjoy it in a very simple form is of importance.
This week, for the immunity program, we are adding a simple brown rice congee with lightly steamed local kale and organic kabocha squash that has been cooked "nishimi" style, which is water-less cooking technique. Observe the simple, yet sweet flavors of the dish. I would enjoy a little miso broth poured over the top to make this dish a little more hearty. Chew well. Drink hot herbal tea afterwards.