What is congee?
Comforting, delicious, savory or sweet, what’s not to love about congee? Essentially, congee is a porridge made from grain and water. It can be made from nearly any grain and is infinitely versatile with the addition of toppings such as fresh and dried herbs, beans, nuts, seeds and protein. The texture can be thick or thin reminiscent of western dishes, like grits, oatmeal, risotto and even gravy. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and made savory or sweet. In China, it is sort of the equivalent of chicken soup made by grandma, but with a lot more variations. It fixes everything.
Congees have a history of use in many Asian countries for over 2,500 years (some say 4,500.) They are traditionally a poor man’s food meant to stretch small amounts of rice into a larger, more filling porridge. Over the years, they gained a important role in Chinese medicine and food therapy as a functional food.
In Chinese medicine, the spleen and stomach are the organs of digestion. They are often represented as a fire under a cooking pot. Good digestion is thought to be crucial for optimal health. Foods should always be taken warm and digestible. Raw foods, ice cream, ice water and foods straight form the refrigerator should be avoided.
Congee is thought to be the perfect food to support digestive function and overall health. It’s a vehicle for easily absorbable nutrients, hydrating water, and warmth to the belly. Herbs and medicinal foods can be easily absorbed.
It is often used as a medical prescription and also as:
- A comfort food meal
- A sweet dessert
- Baby’s first food
- A way for women to recover from birth and promote lactation
- The food one eats to recover from colds or flu
- An aid in weight loss and to boost metabolism
- Food for the elderly
- A hangover cure
This is one of the aspects to our Roots and Bloom line that we are most excited about. Congee can be adapted to treat almost any condition at any time of the year.
- It’s the perfect vehicle to infuse your body with nutrients
- It is easily digestible and promotes gut health
- It’s anti-inflammatory and hydrating
- It warms and moistens, supporting the Spleen and Stomach
- It is seasonal. It can be modified to support seasonal eating to encourage good health