Congee - healing sweet rice virginia compton

Congee – healing sweet rice


Congee. I first encountered this simple healing food when I was assisting at the macrobiotic school many years ago. There it was served just as plain rice. The rice is cooked by patiently simmering for many hours until it becomes porridge like. It’s incredibly grounding and easy to digest. I added Indian spices to it myself (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric) along with some black raisins. Then I was chatting to the lovely Shibu, my retreat partner in Kerala, about it and he told me that in Kerala they call this congee too, with the spices added. It’s great if you’re feeling that you just need something sweet and nurturing or if your digestion feels disturbed.

Heres the recipe…. Choose a bowl for a per person portion. Measure the rice, cooked or uncooked, in this bowl. One bowl makes 6 portions minimum of the porridge.
Take one bowlful of rice for 6 people and place in in a large pan with 4 bowlfuls of water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Now keep adding water little by little.
The rice will continue to cook, expand and grow. Keep adding water to keep it simmering at a consistency that is desirable for you.
You can do this in 2 parts. You can simmer for 1 or 2 hours the evening before, then another hour on the morning you are serving it, otherwise get up early and begin in the morning or have it for supper. You can wander around and do other things whilst this is simmering away but do keep checking water and expansion levels as it will need more water adding than you think.
You are aiming to simmer it for about 3 hours in total.

Please continue to patiently simmer your rice. Don’t rush it. It will disintegrate into a porridge constancy. You do not need to add any milk, it will create its own sweet milky liquid as it cooks.
One hour before you are ready to eat add one bowlful of black raisins.
SLOW COOKER OPTION! If you have a slow cooker you can easily prepare this on a medium heat for 4-5 hours.

30 minutes before you are ready to eat add:
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
half a grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
a twist of black pepper.

Lovingly stir in these spices and then continue to allow it to gently simmer. You can continue to add more liquid if you need to.
Serve hot, as it is, and with some pistachio nuts sprinkled over the top.
Provide maple syrup or honey (do not heat the honey, just stir it in) in case people feel they need more sweetness, and extra pistachios for sprinkling.