February is more than half way over and we’re (pretty much) in the homestretch of winter, folks! However, cold and flu “season” seems to still be in full effect. Enter a simple, cost effective, and delicious food that has been used for centuries in East Asian and Chinese cultures: Congee (pronounced con-jee). It’s a grain based (usually white rice) porridge that is a nourishing blank canvas for the addition of therapeutic foods, herbs, and spices. Easily digested and assimilated, congee is a great thing to incorporate into your diet when feeling under the weather so to speak. Here is one of my favorite recipes to specifically help boost the immune system and keep you feeling great all winter long.
Cooking time: About an hour
- 2 cups of cooked white rice
- 5 cups of water
- ½ pound chicken bones or 2 chicken thighs
- 3, ¼ inch-thick slices fresh ginger (or more if desired)
- 1 large clove of garlic crushed or mashed
- 1 green onion
- ¼ yellow onion
- Tamari or coconut aminos and/or salt and pepper to taste
- Sesame oil to drizzle (optional)
- Garnishes (optional): shredded chicken, chopped green onion or chives, fried, soft boiled, or poached egg
- Combine rice, water, chicken bones/thighs, ginger, garlic, green onion, yellow onion in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low, and cover pot. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- If using chicken thighs, remove them after about 20 minutes and shred up/chop meat to use as garnish for later if desired.
- Continue cooking for 40-45 minutes.
- When the rice grains thicken and the consistency is that similar to oatmeal, it’s done/ready. Add more water if too thick, continue cooking down for a bit if too thin/runny.
- Remove bones, ginger, and green onion.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (optional).
- Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired.
- Eat, enjoy and feel better!