Congee is a meal that is widespread in Asia and is increasingly finding its friends in our latitudes. And that’s a good thing because the rice soup is digestible and healthy and serves as the basis for a variety of dishes. Congee can be prepared in all flavors, from sweet to spicy, and is just as popular as breakfast as a main meal. Reis Congee – Article Overview:
- Congee – an Asian staple food
- TCM and Ayurveda
- Which rice to use
Congee is nothing more than rice porridge, whereby the grain is boiled in up to 10 times the amount of water until it has almost completely dissolved. The result is a thick soup that can be refined to the limit of your imagination. In principle, it is a simple power soup that can be eaten both sweet and savory. Due to its wholesomeness and the richness of energy, rice porridge plays an important role in Chinese dietetics.
Congee – an Asian staple food
Because of its excellent digestibility, congee (pronounced ‘Kondschi’) has played an important role in the Far Eastern food tradition for centuries. Rice soup is very popular as a warm breakfast porridge – in Asia, warm, viscous meals are very popular as a way to start the day – but congee is also an integral part of the menu as a base or side dish for main meals.
Ancient scriptures show that the Buddha himself recommended eating congee every day. Due to its consistency, it is just as suitable for small children as it is for old or debilitated people who have difficulty chewing or swallowing.
In some areas of Asia, congee is also used as a breast milk substitute. For this purpose, the rice porridge is pressed through a cloth after preparation to filter the very last residues. What remains is a nutritious liquid that is also suitable for babies.
TCM and Ayurveda
The health benefits of Congee are easy to explain: since the rice is literally ‘overcooked’ for hours with up to ten times the amount of water (depending on the type of rice), Congee is on the one hand easy to digest and hardly burdens the digestive system. Most of the valuable nutrients in rice are retained.
‘Water rice,’ as Conchee is also called, is considered the healthiest food of Ayurvedic teaching. It is said that rice soup gives ten things, namely “life and beauty, lightness and strength, it drives away hunger, thirst, and wind, it cleanses the bladder and kidneys and promotes digestion.”
According to TCM teachings, congee serves as the most valuable source of Qi and supplies life force while it hardly stresses the digestive tract. This in turn leads to a balance of Yin and Yang and to physical and mental well-being.
In the 5 element kitchen, rice is assigned to the metal element; the organ equivalents of metal are the colon and lungs, which are fortified by eating congee.
Incidentally, the longer the rice cooks, the stronger the effect of the rice.
Which rice to use
The most widespread is the congee preparation with white rice, as it is basically the easiest to digest. The disadvantage is that the peeling process naturally means that the nutrients that are located in the shell can no longer develop their effect.
Round grain rice is said to ‘support the center and harmonize the stomach’. It also strengthens the spleen, helps with loss of appetite, and is particularly good for diarrhea.
Long grain rice is more warming than short-grain rice and has a particularly good effect on qi and the stomach and transforms phlegm. Basmati rice is considered particularly digestible.
Sweet rice also strengthens the qi and the lungs and strengthens the stool. If you have a tendency to constipation or sluggish digestion, you should rather choose other rice varieties for congee.
The ratio is 1: 8 to 10, so there is up to one liter of water for every 100 g of rice. Since the rice foams and swells a lot during preparation, use a sufficiently large saucepan!
- Bring water to a boil
- Add the rice
- Cook on low heat for 4 to 5 hours until a soupy or even mushy consistency is achieved, depending on your requirements.
Remember that Congee is extremely productive. Several servings of congee are made from a handful of rice.
Tip: If you have produced too much, fill the congee in screw-top jars. The porridge can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days.
There are many ways of using it in culinary art. Pure and unseasoned, Congee is ideal as a fasting companion or on build-up days after a fast.
Due to its neutral taste, congees can be seasoned for sweet and savory main meals or side dishes. Some of the water can also be replaced with milk; the sweetness is best achieved by adding honey.
With spicy rice porridge, the addition of certain herbs and spices not only refines the taste but also enhances the desired healing effect.
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