Congee: Traditional Chinese Healing Food

Congee: Traditional Chinese Healing Food

28 August 2018 by Caitlin Armit

What is congee?

Congee is a traditional Asian meal, typically eaten as a breakfast or as a simple meal when recovering from illness. It is a versatile rice porridge which is gentle on the stomach and a great way to rehydrate your body. It’s healing reputation dates back thousands of years as recorded in the traditional texts of Chinese Medicine.

How is it prepared?

The modern approach is to cook 1 part rice to 6-8 parts water in a slow cooker. Just add a dash of sea salt and cook on low overnight so that it’s ready for the morning. You can add any ingredients to wish to make it nourishing. I like to add chicken and ginger with mung beans or perhaps goji berries with dates and shisandra berry. Some people like to add black strap molasses to nourish the blood and enjoy a sweet dish, and some people prefer soy sauce for a salty savoury breakfast. The point is that you can pick and choose to make your own creation.

Chicken Congee Recipe

The following delicious recipe is from Poh’s Kitchen and it will give you a head start if you want to try congee for the first time. I would encourage you to experiment with a few different recipes using seasonally available ingredients for different flavours and textures and healing properties.


Serves 4-6

  • 5-2 litres of chicken stock infused with a smashed small knob of ginger and 2 spring onions scrunched up and tied into a loose knot
  • 1 cup jasmine rice, washed and drained
  • 1 organic chicken breast
  • 1 organic chicken leg
  • 1 organic chicken thigh
  • 1cm knob smashed ginger
  • 3 spring onions, green part only, finely chopped
  • 3-4 coriander sprigs chopped
  • 1/3 cup fried shallots
  • Light soy sauce
  • White pepper
  • A few drops of sesame oil


  1. Place chicken stock, rice, both chicken pieces and ginger into a medium pot and bring to the boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until the rice has broken down to a thick soup. Congee may be cooked to several different stages and textures depending on what your preference is. Sometimes broken rice is cooked for long periods of time, so the rice grains completely break down but some like the grains still very evident and the surrounding starch to be of a looser runnier consistency. In the case of the later, the congee must be eaten immediately or the rice will begin to break down from resting or being warmed for too long.
  2. To serve, remove chicken and shred finely. Return the shredded meat to the congee. Spoon one to two ladles of congee into a bowl and you may either serve with a sprinkle of spring onions, coriander, shallots, a drizzle of soy, pinch of white pepper and sesame oil or just have the garnishes and seasonings in the middle of the table for your guests to help themselves.

Categories: Brisbane Chinese Dietetics Blog | Digestive Health Brisbane

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