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Congee: a healing comfort food

Rice is a staple grain in China, and except for some regional variations, is the base of most meals.  Congee is rice cooked with 3-5 times more water than usual. But this simple variation transforms rice into a healing culinary jewel. Likely first cooked just to extend a meager supply of rice in times of famine, congee has since become a jewel of rice cuisine.  It’s a common breakfast food and also an important healing food.  Many of China’s cancer hospitals serve congee to their patients.  It is soothing to the gut mucosa, provides easily digested nutrition and can be a enhanced with herbs or other foods to increase its medicinal effect.  I like it for breakfast, lunch or dinner with ginger, scallions and chicken or seafood.  Add a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil and you are in heaven.  I use a pressure cooker, but it can be made on the stovetop.

For a more medicinal congee, use more water, at least 10 parts water to 1 part rice.  Cook until the rice grains are disintegrated. Don’t forget the ginger!

Here is an easy to follow recipe for the pressure cooker.  https://iamafoodblog.com/make-instant-pot-chicken-congee/

 

 

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