Radish and Crab Congee

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Congee is simply slow cooked rice in much larger quantities of water than we are often used to. The rice is cooked until it breaks down and turns the liquid thick and creamy. It has a mild, sweet flavour and is incredibly easy on the digestion so is very nourishing and healing. Grains in general are rich in Qi, but our digestion can find it hard to absorb the good nutrition inside them if we don't prepare them properly. Hard grains can be too much for our digestion, especially if it is slightly weakened. With congee, the rice is softened and broken down, so that the stomach can easily digest it and Stomach Qi even increases as you eat. Congee is mild and perfect for adding other flavours to, from warm stewed fruit in the morning to fresh ginger, chicken and sesame oil as a nourishing evening meal.

You can also use other grains in the same way. Oats are sweet, slightly warming and build Blood and Qi, so slow cooked porridge for breakfast is the perfect start to the day (even better if you soften the oats in water overnight). Spelt grains are strengthening for the Spleen as well as nourishing for the Blood, and corn builds Blood and Qi while also helping to build appetite.

 

Ingredients

PLAIN CONGEE

  • 1 cup plain, polished short, medium or long grain white rice (not basmati)

  • 5-10 cups water

  • (optional) chicken or vegetable stock

    RADISH, CRAB AND TURMERIC CONGEE

  • grated fresh turmeric or a small tsp of ground turmeric

  • breakfast radishes

  • fresh crab meat

  • (optional) spring onions, finely slices

  • (optional) furikake or sesame seeds

Directions

PLAIN CONGEE

  1. The easiest way to make congee is on the hob. Rinse one cup of plain, polished short, medium or long grain white rice (not basmati) and add to a heavy bottomed saucepan along with 5-10 cups of water. 5 cups will give you more of a 'sticky rice' consistency and 10 cups will be quite soupy. If you are making savoury congee you might want to add some chicken or vegetable stock for a nice flavour.

  2. Bring the rice to an easy boil and then reduce to a low simmer for between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the consistency you prefer. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. The longer you can wait the better.

RADISH, CRAB AND TURMERIC CONGEE

  1. Prepare the congee as above with stock, adding some grated fresh turmeric if you can find or a small teaspoon of ground turmeric.

  2. Thinly slice some breakfast radishes.

  3. Serve the congee in deep bowls and drizzle a little sesame oil over. Scatter over fresh crab meat and radish slices (and if you like, finely sliced spring onion). If you can find ‘furikake’ (Japanese seasoning made with black and white sesame seeds and seaweed flakes) in your supermarket/store then sprinkle over before serving, or alternatively a few sesame seeds.