‘Tis the season…for stuffy noses and coughs. For moms, there is nothing worse than seeing your little ones suffer through the seasonal sniffles, especially when you refuse to give them anything made from chemicals to soothe their symptoms. A bit tired of creating my typical chicken and rice soup recipe, I asked my sister (Chef Abby, of course) for a recipe for another soothing, health-supportive soup to make (and re-make, and re-make) this time of year. She came up with one that will stay in my recipe box for years. Congee is very kid-friendly, and a little rice goes a looong way, so it is easy on the ever-pinching family budget, as well. As usual, I love to test the recipes and delight in the fact that I’m eating food my body loves – but Abby provided some more detailed insight into why congee is health-supportive:
Congee (“KON gee”) is a rice porridge commonly served for breakfast or a warming meal in China. On it’s own, it is simple in taste and serves as a perfect base for the addition of many flavorful ingredients. Common additions include ginger, scallions, green peas, salmon, chicken, dates, warming spices, and seaweed. Made with one part rice to about 10 parts liquid, congee is easy to digest and tonifies the body, so it is often given to weak or frail people.
The following congee is prepared with ginger, chicken and astragalus root (optional). Astragalus is an herb that is native to China and is thought to relieve weakness and fatigue while enhancing stamina and immunity. A natural immune booster for winter cold and flu prevention! Enjoy, and here’s to your health (and a happy belly).
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 10-12 cups of water or chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 chicken thigh or breast, cooked and shredded
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine or mirin
- 2-3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 3 scallions, sliced on the bias
- For extra immune building stir in during the last 15 minutes of cooking:
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. cardamom seed
- 1 oz. astragalus* root (optional)
- 10 dates, pitted and chopped (optional)
- Rinse rice well and drain off rinsing water.
- Bring rice and water or stock to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 and ½- 2 hours, until the congee is the consistency of thin oatmeal.
- Season congee with salt and stir in all remaining ingredients, cooking 10 minutes more, stirring more frequently toward the end to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot.
- Top with extra scallions, some coarse black pepper or a dash of tamari (wheat free soy sauce) for seasoning, if you like!