Congee is a beautiful healing dish, often used in traditional Chinese medicine as a nourishing, easy to digest meal, plus, it's really tasty! This version switches high salicylate and histamine ingredients like soy sauce and ginger for lower chemical ingredients like garlic and shallots.
Congee has been used as a medicinal food in China since the Han Dynasty in 206 BCE. This method used rice with large amounts of water or broth and cooked over a longer period of time. This is said to be beneficial for the stomach and intestines, people suffering from chronic conditions and babies. Congee is thought to be highly digestible when used to treat the ‘depleted patient’. 1
See below for the many (low- moderate salicylate and amine) variations to choose from. This congee is all about making it your own, we have made this dish FID friendly, however, see below for various options to make this a congee that suits you.
Grain options - Low GI rice, basmati rice, sushi rice, quinoa, oat groats or even buckwheat groats are all great options to make your congee. Cooking time, taste and consistency will vary depending on your grain of choice. The following recipe is used with low gi rice.
Protein options- chicken, tofu, adzuki bean or eggs if tolerated would suit this dish best for a protein option, top the congee with your favourite protein of choice.
Vegetables - depending on your salicylate and amines tolerance, some suitable vegetables which may go best with a congee could include… shallots, carrots, asparagus, Chinese cabbage red or green cabbage, water chestnuts, bean shoots, pumpkin, green peas, zucchini, bok choy, and brussels,
Additional flavours - congee can also be cooked in bone broth or alkaline vegetable broth to give additional flavour and benefits, or you can use half water, half broth. If you tolerate medium levels of amines you can throw some skinless chicken legs in with your congee to cook and add flavour, then discard bones and shred the meat in with the congee at the end. We have added garlic to cook with the congee in the recipe below, however, you can also throw in some additional vegetable such as sliced carrots, pumpkin or sliced shallots.
Serves: 2 very large bowls (for big appetites), or 3-4 smaller bowls
Prep time; 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1- 1 ½ hrs
For the rice
1 cup of low GI rice (or other grain of choice, see above for details)
6-8 cups of water (or other liquid of choice, see above for details)
½ teaspoon of good quality salt (or more depending on state)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1-2 cloves or garlic crushed, depending on taste- less may be needed if you are already using bone broth or vegetable broth.
For the toppings (for other topping ideas see above for details)
More or less of the below may be needed, depending on appetite, adjust servings accordingly.
1 heaped cup of diced tofu
1 cup of finely grated red cabbage
1 cup of finely sliced brussels
½ cup of sprouted mung beans
½ cup of sliced shallots (raw)
1 garlic clove finely sliced (optional, for additional flavour)
Garlic powder and good quality salt for additional flavour
Optional - poppy seeds
Rinse rice well until water runs clear, then place in a cooking pot with the crushed garlic. Stir together, then add 6 cups of water or your other liquid of choice. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil then remove the lid or partially cover the pot and reduce to a simmer.
The congee will need about 1 hour, or up to 1.2 hours to turn into a porridge like consistency. Be sure to stir the congee about every 15 minutes, and more regularly towards the end to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom.
More water can be added during the cooking process if the congee is looking too thick. How thin or thick you like your congee is a personal preference, we added 1 extra cup of water at the 30 minute mark, and another cup at the 45 minute mark, however you can add more or less, depending on how your congee is looking, and depending on the consistency you prefer.
At the 1 hour mark, check you congee, you can now turn it off if it has turned into a porridge mixture, or continue cooking. Once ready, stir through salt and garlic powder, cover the pot with a lid and leave to sit for 5- 10 minutes.
When your congee is close to being ready you can prepare the other toppings.
Using a clean medium sized cooking pan, cook your grated cabbage with a little water until it is cooked but still crunchy, set aside.
Next cook the brussels with a little water until slightly soft, set aside
Rinse the pan out if needed, then add a drizzle of oil and cook the tofu until lightly browned on all sides. Set aside (for additional flavour you can sprinkle a little garlic powder and salt on the tofu once it has finished cooking).
Rinse the pan if needed, then add another drizzle of oil and lightly cook the sliced garlic (if using) and mung bean sprouts, until lightly brown and slightly crispy. Set aside.
Spoon the congee into the bowls and top with the tofu, cabbage, brussels, mung bean sprouts, garlic and shallots.
Flaws, B., 1995. The Book of Jook: Chinese Medicinal Porridges: a Healthy Alternative to the Typical Western Breakfast. Blue Poppy Enterprises, Inc..