We’ve all read or heard of the “chicken soup for the soul” book series, and most of us know that chicken soup is reputed to be good for you when you are sick, but many in the west have yet to try one of the best Asian medicinal porridges around, which is called “zhou” 粥 in Chinese, or “kayu” in Japanese. However, you may have heard the word “congee”, which comes from Tamil language. Congee is a medicinal rice gruel that is given to those whom are recovering from sickness in Asia, and is a staple of Traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine as it is gentle on the stomach, easy to absorb and acts as a matrix for other foods which eases their absorption. It is also very simple to make. Just add ½ a cup of rice (or any other grain such as millet or spelt) to 3 or 4 cups of water in the crock pot and put on low heat for 6-8 hours. In China, congee is a typical breakfast food.
This simple porridge is gentle on the stomach, and can be given to almost anyone whom is recovering from a wide variety of maladies. It is also versatile, as broth can be added instead of just water, and a wide variety of either vegetables, meats, eggs or herbs in small amounts can also be tossed in. In Japan, congee is one of the first solid foods that are given to infants. A typical medicinal congee that would be given for a cold would be salted onion with chicken broth instead of water (which will make one sweat the cold out). For anemia, or “blood deficiency” as it is called in Chinese medicine, small pieces of liver, chestnut and sesame oil would be added. Basically, your imagination is the only limit as far as this versatile, medicinal dish goes.
Be Well and Be Zen