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
Wash and cut the re-hydrated wood ear fungus
Wash the apple with salt cut into quarters
Slice the pork thinly and marinate with a little cornstarch
Bring the water to a boil and add the cooked rice
Add the fungus and the apple and cook for 15 minutes
Add the pork and goji berries and cook for 10 minutes
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?
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
14 cups of water
75g crystal sugar
Soak the glutinous rice for 2 hours
Wash the hawthorn
Bring the water to a boil
Add the hawthorn and boil for about 15 minutes
Add the glutinous rice and cook for 1 hour
Add the crystal sugar
Recipe 3. Beancurd ginkgo rice porridge
beancurd 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
75g crystal sugar
14 cups water
Soak the glutinous rice for 1 hour
Wash the beancurd sheet and ginkgo nuts
Bring the water to a boil, add the glutinous rice, beancurd sheet, and ginkgo nuts
Lower heat and simmer for 50 minutes
Add the rock sugar and stir to dissolve
Remove from the heat
Add the egg before serving
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
1 tsp goji berries
1 cup of rice
8 cups of water
Salt and pepper
Wash the ginseng root, goji berries and red dates
Wash and julienne the ginger
Wash the lamb and cut into small bite-sized pieces
Parboil the lamb pieces
Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes
Boil the 8 cups of water
Transfer the water to a slow cooker
Add the lamb, ginseng, red dates, goji berries and ginger
Simmer for 1 and 1/2 hour
Add the rice and bring back to a boil
Use cooked rice to shorten cooking time
Lower to a simmer and cook till porridge is done
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
Shell and wash the lotus seeds
Wash the black fungus, soak till it is soft and cut into thin strips
Wash the rice
Bring water to a boil and add the rice
Lower heat and simmer
When the porridge is cooked, add the black fungus and lotus seeds
Cook until the black fungus and lotus seeds are soft
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
Soak the black glutinous rice for at least 1 hour
Bring 12 cups of water to a boil in a big pot
Lower the heat to a simmer and add the rice
Simmer for 40 minutes before adding the dried longans
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