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Easy and Nourishing Congee

Congee  (also known as jook) is a term that means “rice water.” It is a simple method of overcooking grains into a creamy rice porridge. Congee is a powerful therapeutic food for strengthening digestion, improving overall metabolism, removing excess fluids and warming the digestive organs. Other ingredients can be added to create delicious and nutritious meals. 

Easy and Nourishing Congee

In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is often eaten for breakfast since it is warm and easy to digest – a perfect meal for nourishing the body (see breakfast recipe at the bottom of page). 

Simpler bland congee recipes can be fed to infants. It is also eaten during illness or recovery because it’s so easy to digest.

It is gluten free by default, can be made either vegan or vegetarian, and keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 3-4 hours

Total time: 3-4 hours 5 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

List of Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 8 cups of water

Steps:

  • Put the ingredients into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • After it reaches boil, reduce to lowest temperature to bring to a simmer.
  • Cook covered, stirring every 30-45 minutes, for 2-3 hours or until rice takes on a consistency of porridge. If rice becomes dry, you may need to add more water. 
  • Note: Using a slow cooker is an ideal and easy way to cook congee

Variations:

When the congee is cooked you may add most anything you want to give it flavor and a higher nutrient content. Some common additions that are especially good for fertility, pregnancy and postpartum health:

  • Bone broth: Use chicken, beef, pork bone broth in place of the water
  • Grains: Use millet, quinoa, amaranth, or any combination of the grains
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Eggs are very beneficial for building blood. They moisten dryness in the body, and regulate the GI tract. Very good post-partum food.  (Add the hard boiled eggs post-cooking)
  • Meat: Beef or chicken (always use organic, grass-fed)
  • Ginger:  Add slices as a great additive for pregnant women with mild morning sickness. For fertility, use after ovulation
  • Black sesame seeds: Grind 2 tablespoons to the uncooked rice. Black sesame seeds nourish the reproductive system for fertility and build blood for postpartum. 
  • Dark Leafy Greens: Bok choy, chard, kale and any other greens
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms are nutrient dense, contain amino acid and antioxidants, and stimulate the immune response
  • Kimchee – Fermented Korean vegetables. High in Vitamins A, C and probiotics
  • Aduki Beans: Increase urination to treat fluid retention
  • Carrots: Carrots contain beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A and which helps to produce the female sex hormones important for ovulation. During pregnancy and throughout the breastfeeding period, vitamin A has an important role in the healthy development of the fetus and the newborn, with lung development and maturation being particularly important. 

Breakfast option: Add cinnamon, honey, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, and fruits and nuts (place all ingredients in pot with rice and cook for the 3-4 hours instructed above). Once cooked, serve with shredded coconut, nuts and seeds, chia seeds, and/or fruit and berries.

Robin Sheared

Blue Ova Health, 1414 Castro St, San Francisco, CA, 94114, United States