About a month ago, my husband came down with a bad cold. Although, his first reaction was to try to grab his over-the-counter medicine he decided to give my suggestion a try and ate a huge comforting bowl of warm congee.
The wonderful congee has different recipes and is available all of Asia under different names. In Japan, it is called okayu, jok in Thailand, and lugao in the Philippines. Each has their own unique way of making it with a variation of flavors.
Below is the basic congee recipe with some suggestions that I encourage you to try including how to make a great cold remedy with it. 😉
So what exactly is congee? It’s overboiled, watery white rice. Here is one simple recipe from the book “The Healing Cuisine of China” by Zhuo Zhao and George Ellis. To prepare a basic congee add 1 cup of white rice to 5 cups of water. Bring the water to boil over a high heat. After it boils, bring the heat down to about medium, cover it, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Make sure you stir the rice frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Boil the rice until it is mushy and soft. You can also add water to make it a consistency of watery gruel.
For a common cold remedy I added about 5 cloves of garlic and 4 teaspoons of chopped scallions (white heads only). Afterwards, cook it for 5 additional minutes. It should be consumed hot, once a day. There are many other things you can add to have a fine congee. You can add chicken, eggs, vegetables, fish, or beef. You add specific Chinese Herbs if you’re looking to enhance certain medicinal properties. You can even add fruits to make it sweet. You can even use chicken broth in place of water (though I prefer homemade stock). There are so many varieties for this dish.
So I encourage you to give it try and have fun! 🙂
How do you like to eat your congee?