Dr. Lani Nykilchuk
Naturopathic Family Doctor
Congee (Jook) is a traditional Asian meal, often eaten for breakfast or as a snack. The basis is that the rice is cooked for a long time until it becomes a porridge. On it’s own it has amazing healing qualities since it is pre-digested and therefore easy to assimilate. You can also add various ingredients to intensify the healing properties of this dish (such as ginger, which is warming and shiitake mushrooms, which support immune system function).
Brown rice (Oryza sativa) is a very hypo-allergenic food, which means that it rarely causes an allergy or sensitivity. It is rich in fibre, trace minerals, vitamin E and B vitamins. It also contain gamma-oryzanol, which is unique to brown rice and is a potent antioxidant.
This dish is nourishing, satisfying and easy to digest. If you are noticing any symptoms of digestive upset it’s a good idea to talk to your naturopathic doctor and make yourself a bowl of congee, to give your gut a break while still providing it with essential nutrients.
Spring Vegetable Congee
Makes 6-8 servings
• 2 cups rice (dry)
• 10 cups chicken or turkey stock (Click here for my bone stock recipe)
• 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
• 2 carrots, chopped fine
• ½ cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
• 1 cup of kale/swiss chard/spinach, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp wheat-free liquid soy sauce
• 1 small bunch spring onions, roughly chopped
• bunch cilantro, to garnish
To make this a vegetarian dish- substitute vegetable stock and consider adding 1/2 cup mung beans – which can add these at the beginning with the rice.
Cook the rice in the stalk for 2-3 hours at the lowest possible heat, keeping the lid on tight. During the last hour of cooking, add the ginger, carrots, mushrooms, greens and soy. When done cooking, garnish with onions and cilantro. This will yield ~ 6 large (2 cup) servings.
You can also set up in the morning and slow cook rice throughout the day. You can choose to use white or brown rice- white rice breaks down easier than brown rice and therefore may be the one to use when you are experiencing digestive upset.
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