6 Herbal Congee Recipes With Chinese Herbs

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Herbal congee is rice porridge cooked with Chinese herbs for the purpose of building immunity and regulating bodily functions.

The Chinese like to use rice porridge as a base and add different ingredients to create a comforting dish. These herbal congee recipes uses a few common Chinese herbs such as goji berries, ginkgo nuts and hawthorn. Pleasant to the palate yet therapeutic.

All in the name of good health.

Recipe 1. Apple and Ear Wood Fungus Herbal Congee

Do not peel the apple. The skin helps it keep its shape during the cooking process.


  • 20g wood ear fungus, rehydrated
  • 1 red apple
  • 225g lean pork
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • Pinch of cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Wash and cut the re-hydrated wood ear fungus
  2. Wash the apple with salt cut into quarters
  3. Slice the pork thinly and marinate with a little cornstarch
  4. Bring the water to a boil and add the cooked rice
  5. Add the fungus and the apple and cook for 15 minutes
  6. Add the pork and goji berries and cook for 10 minutes
  7. Add salt to taste

Recipe 2. Hawthorn slimming congee

Hawthorn is well-known as a weight loss ingredient. It aids digestion by increasing digestive enzymes. The idea is that if you are well-nourished, you will be less inclined to over-eat. Do you agree?

Dried HawthornDried Hawthorn

The glutinous rice can be replaced with plain rice white rice although it is better at countering the acidity of the hawthorn.

This is a sweet herbal congee recipe, so can be served as a light refreshing dessert or snack.


  • 1 cup short-grained glutinous rice
  • 150g hawthorn
  • 14 cups of water
  • 75g crystal sugar


  1. Soak the glutinous rice for 2 hours
  2. Wash the hawthorn
  3. Bring the water to a boil
  4. Add the hawthorn and boil for about 15 minutes
  5. Add the glutinous rice and cook for 1 hour
  6. Add the crystal sugar

Recipe 3. Beancurd ginkgo rice porridge

beancurd sheet sweet soupbeancurd sheet sweet soup

The beancurd sheets used here are the thin fragile type, not the type used for wraps. The pith of the ginkgo nuts must be removed. They are bitter and slightly poisonous. Halve the nuts and remove the green centres. If you don't have rock sugar, use plain sugar although rock sugar is nicer (^_^). 

Beancurd sheet and ginkgo nuts is a classic pair in chinese sweet desserts.


  • 1/2 cup of short-grained glutinous rice
  • 2 dried beancurd sheets
  • 225g fresh ginkgo nuts
  • 1 egg
  • 75g crystal sugar
  • 14 cups water


  1. Soak the glutinous rice for 1 hour
  2. Wash the beancurd sheet and ginkgo nuts
  3. Bring the water to a boil, add the glutinous rice, beancurd sheet, and ginkgo nuts
  4. Lower heat and simmer for 50 minutes
  5. Add the rock sugar and stir to dissolve
  6. Remove from the heat
  7. Add the egg before serving
ginkgo nuts
beancurd sheetbeancurd sheet

Recipe 4. Ginseng lamb rice porridge

This herbal congee can be made using a slow cooker or over the stove. Ginseng is hailed as the King of herbs and is a very well-known Chinese herb. There are 3 basic types: white ginseng, American ginseng and the Korean ginseng. It can be frightfully expensive so we shall use the cheaper ginseng roots. Alternatively, use a ginseng tea bag.

Lamb, rice, water and ginseng are all ingredients for a warming and comforting ginseng lamb porridge for a new mother.

This can be a good leftover lamb recipe too. Substitute the lamb fillet with the leftover lamb. Dice or shred the cooked lamb before adding to the rice porridge.


  • 200g lamb fillet
  • 40g ginseng root
  • 75g red dates
  • 20g ginger
  • 1 tsp goji berries
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 8 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Wash the ginseng root, goji berries and red dates
  2. Wash and julienne the ginger
  3. Wash the lamb and cut into small bite-sized pieces
  4. Parboil the lamb pieces
  5. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes
  6. Boil the 8 cups of water
  7. Transfer the water to a slow cooker
  8. Add the lamb, ginseng, red dates, goji berries and ginger
  9. Simmer for 1 and 1/2 hour
  10. Add the rice and bring back to a boil
  11. Use cooked rice to shorten cooking time
  12. Lower to a simmer and cook till porridge is done
  13. Add salt and pepper before serving

5. Lotus seed porridge with black fungus

This lotus seed porridge is made up of rice congee, lotus seeds and black fungus.

Lotus seed 莲子 (lian zi) is the seed of the lotus plant. You know, the plant growing in ponds with the big white flowers and round leaves. Almost every part of this plant can be eaten. It is commonly cooked and ground into a smooth paste and used as a filling for a number of Chinese pastries and desserts. A famous example is the mooncake 月饼 (yue bing).


  • 1/3 cup dried lotus seeds
  • 4-5 pieces of wood ear fungus 木耳 (mu er)
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Shell and wash the lotus seeds
  2. Wash the black fungus, soak till it is soft and cut into thin strips
  3. Wash the rice
  4. Bring water to a boil and add the rice
  5. Lower heat and simmer
  6. When the porridge is cooked, add the black fungus and lotus seeds
  7. Cook until the black fungus and lotus seeds are soft
  8. add salt and cooking wine

Recipe 6. Black Glutinous Rice Porridge

This sweet congee is easier to cook in a slow cooker. Both black glutinous rice and dried longans are good for people suffering from anaemia.


  • 1 cup black glutinous rice
  • 75g dried longans
  • 75g rock sugar
  • 12 cups water


  1. Soak the black glutinous rice for at least 1 hour
  2. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil in a big pot
  3. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the rice
  4. Simmer for 40 minutes before adding the dried longans
  5. Cook for another 20 minutes
  6. Add the rock sugar to taste 

Happy Souping, Phoebe