One of the basic foods mentioned in my daylong workshop Clinical Level Selfcare for Preventing and Treating Digestive Problems, is Congee, or rice porridge. Here is a wonderful example of Chinese congee, known as Jook, that is both tasty and healing.
by Karen Wang, author of Happy Foods - 100 Mood-Boosting Recipes
Jook (Congee) with Jujube, Burdock & Shiitake Mushrooms
Yield: 3 – 4 servings
½ cup long-grain rice
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
1-1/2 cups filtered water
6 – 8 dried shiitake mushrooms + warm water
4 – 5 cups filtered water (you can also use part bone broth and part water)
2 – 3 slices fresh ginger
5 – 6 dried jujube dates
1/3 cup fresh burdock root, peeled and chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Toasted sesame oil (optional)
Chopped green onions as garnish (option)
- Place rice in a bowl and cover it with 1-1/2 cups filtered water. Add in the lemon juice if using. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.*
- Drain the rice, and discard the soaking water.
- Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water for about 15 minutes.
After soaking, cut off the stems and cut each mushroom in half.
- Place the rice into a medium pot and top it with 4 cups of filtered water.
- Bring to a boil and immediately lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
Stir, add in the ginger slices, and then cover the pot loosely.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes and add in the mushroom slices, jujube dates,
and burdock. Stir again, and then cover.
Simmer for another 20 minutes.
If the jook is getting too thick, add a bit more water, then season with salt.
- Stir again, cover, and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and chopped green onion.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Re-heat to serve. You may need to add more water if the jook is too thick.
This can also be made using a slow cooker. The cooking time will depend on the type of slow cooker you have—generally, 8 to 10 hours on the LOW setting or 5 hours on the HIGH setting.
*When grains are soaked in water overnight, the enzyme phytase is activated. Phytase goes to work to break down phytic acid, which then releases minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. The action of phytase makes it easier for us to absorb the minerals. Soaking grains also releases amylase, another enzyme that helps with the digestion of starches.
Why is this recipe therapeutic?
This classic nourishing porridge from China has been popular since the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907). During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), it received high praise from Li Shi-zhen, one of the most prominent physicians in the history of Chinese Medicine. In his comprehensive herbal compendium called Ben Cao Gan Mu, or The Great Outline of Materia Medica, Li listed 62 medicinal congee recipes.
It is prized for supporting Yin, because it is moistening, hydrating and easy to digest.
Jook is especially good to counterbalance a diet that is heavy in processed or fast foods, which are drying, overheating, and overstimulating for the body and mind.
In this recipe, three delicious and therapeutic ingredients are used:
Burdock (Arctium lappa): blood purifier, contains inulin ( a prebiotic) which feeds good gut bacteria and thus aids in digestion and gut health, contains antioxidants that help to calm inflammation
Jujube dates (Ziziphus jujuba): High in fiber and antioxidants, relieve anxiety, helps with constipation, good for digestion
Shiitake (Lentinla edodes):They are high in polysaccharides such as lentinan and other beta-glucans which protects against cellular damage and strengthens immunity. They are also a good source of minerals.
I hope that you enjoyed this recipe. Stay tuned to my blog for more recipes and other informative posts in the near future.
If you missed my daylong, in-depth workshop on digestion Clinical Level Selfcare for Preventing and Treating Digestive Problems, it's not too late to take the class. You can purchase the replay here, and bundle a discounted consultation with me at the same time.