Winter Recipe - Black Bean Congee to Promote Kidney Health

By NourishU

Eating in Winter According to Chinese Medicine

Winter with the drop of temperature is the time to slow down on physical activities because our body's metabolic rate will be slower. It is also the time to eat nourishing food to help the body to preserve energy. Animals follow the law of nature and hibernate throughout winter. Human should also preserve energy and build up strength, preparing the body for regeneration and new growth in spring.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, tonic-taking in winter has a great bearing upon the balancing of Yin and Yang elements, the unblocking of meridians, and the harmonizing of Qi and blood. In the five elements theory of TCM, winter is when the kidneys are highly active and they have astringent and active storage functions that help in preserving energy. People should eat food with less salty taste in order to reduce the burden on the kidneys. Uncooked and frozen foods can damage the spleen and stomach and should be taken in moderation.

In winter when body's resistance is low, elderly people are especially advised to take food tonics which can improve their body constitution and promote better resistance to illness. Food tonics can have much better healthful effects than supplementation and drugs.

The tonics include superior warming herbs, fatty and meaty foods. Our body is designed to absorb the rich and nutritional foods better at this time of the year. For people who have a cold constitution with cold hands and feet, weak kidney health with frequent urination, cold and stiff body and constant pain in their backs and ankles, winter is the best time for them to correct these health problems when the body is most responsive to nutritional treatment.

The warming winter foods include chive, chicken, mutton, shrimp, ginger, garlic, walnut, mushroom, chestnut, mustard, vinegar, wine, gingko, red pepper and spring onion. For people who are cold in nature, they should also use the warming herbs such as dang shen, ginseng, astragalus, reishi mushroom, longan fruit and deer horn, etc. to promote yang energy.

For people who are hot in nature, they should use moderating foods such as spinach, eggplant, crab, white turnip, persimmon, honeydew, bitter melon and pineapple to moderate the heat.

For people who have a moderate constitution (neither too hot nor too cold), they should use moderately warm herbs such as Chinese yam, goji-berries, American ginseng, glehnia and Solomon's seal to maintain a healthy balance.

Black Bean Congee

Therapeutic Effects

Promotes kidney health.

Ingredients

  • Black beans 黑豆 – 2 spoonfuls
  • Little red bean 紅小豆 – one spoonful
  • Chinese Yam (shan yao) 山藥 – 30gm
  • Goji-berry / Chinese Wolfberry (gou ji zi) 枸杞子 – 10 to 20
  • Rice – half a cup

Directions

1.   Soak beans and yam for 2 hours and rinse.

2.   Soak goji-berry for 30 minutes and rinse.

3.   Rinse rice. Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil and put in all ingredients. Boil again, lower heat to medium and cook for about 45 minutes or until beans are soft. Add water if necessary.

Usage

No limitation. Eat in the evening with dinner for best results.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

If you would like a downloadable information sheet that will tell you all about how to live in harmony with the Winter Season in Chinese Medicine, you can find it here - The Winter Season in Chinese Medicine.

**Photo by Sandra Frey on Unsplash


Winter Congee Recipe for Colds & Flu

Congee

Traditionally known as hsi-fan or rice water, congee is eaten throughout China as a breakfast food. It is a thin porridge or gruel consisting of a handful of rice simmered in five to six times the amount of water. Although rice is the most common grain for congees, millet, spelt or other grains are sometimes used. Cook the rice and water together in a covered pot for four to six hours on warm, or use the lowest flame possible; a crockpot works very well for congees. It is better to use too much water than too little, and the longer the congee cooks, the more powerful it becomes.

Healing Properties

This simple rice soup is easily digested and assimilated, tonifies the blood and qi, harmonizes the digestion and is demulcent, and nourishing. It is also useful for increasing a nursing mother’s supply of milk. The liquid can be strained from the porridge to drink as a supplement for infants and for serious conditions.

Other therapeutic properties may be added to the congee by cooking appropriate vegetables, grains, herbs or meats in with the rice water. Since rice itself strengthens the Spleen-Pancreas digestive centre, other foods added to a rice congee become more completely assimilated, and their properties are therefore enhanced. Listed below are some of the more common rice based congees and their specific effects.

Winter Congee Recipe : Chinese Medicine Living

  • Aduki Bean - Diuretic, curative for edema and gout
  • Carrot - Digestive aid, eliminates flatulence
  • Celery - Cooling in summer, benefits the large intestine
  • Water Chestnut - Cooling to viscera, benefits digestive organs
  • Duck or Carp Broth - Reduces edema and swelling
  • Fennel - harmonizes the stomach, expels gas, cures hernia
  • Ginger - warming and antiseptic to viscera, used for deficient COLD digestive weakness: diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting and indigestion
  • Leek - warming to viscera, good for chronic diarrhea
  • Mustard - Expels phlegm, clears stomach congestion
  • Black Pepper - expels gas, recommended for pain in bowels
  • Poppy Seed - relieves vomiting and benefits the large intestine
  • Purslane - detoxifies, recommended for rheumatism and swellings (phlegm)
  • Radish - Digestant, benefits the diaphragm
  • Pickled Radish - benefits digestion and blood
  • Taro Root - nutritious, aids the stomach, builds blood

Congee Recipe

Use 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice, unless you already have some cooked rice in your fridge. You’ll have to extend the cooking time to 1-1/2 to 2 hours with uncooked rice, but you will be rewarded with a bowl of yummy goodness that is soothing both spiritually and physically. There are so many things that you can add to congee that add both flavour and texture to the final dish. You can refer to the list above or see what you have in the fridge and be creative!

Time: About 1 hour

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

Winter Congee Recipe : Chinese Medicine Living

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 pound chicken bones or 2 chicken thighs
  • 3, 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger
  • 1 plump clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 green onion, tied into a knot
  • 1/4 of a whole yellow or red onion
  • Soy sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste
  • Sesame oil and/or kecap manis for drizzling (optional)

Garnishes:

  • Shredded chicken (from the thighs above or leftovers)
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Fried garlic
  • Fried shallots

Winter Congee Recipe : Chinese Medicine Living

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, combine the rice, water, chicken bones, ginger, garlic, green onion, onion and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any scum or foam that rises to the surface.
  2. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of pot and burn.
  3. If using chicken thighs, remove them after 20 minutes and scrape off the meat and shred or chop. Set the meat aside and return the bones to the pot. Continue cooking for another 40 minutes or so.
  4. When the rice grains are swollen and the mixture is as thick as oatmeal, the congee is ready. If it gets too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin, cook it until it reaches the desired smoothness and thickness.
  5. Remove the bones, ginger, garlic, green onion and onion. Add soy sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste.
  6. Ladle into individual bowls, drizzle with sesame oil, and garnish as desired.

Winter Congee Recipe : Chinese Medicine Living

Winter Congee Recipe for Colds & Flu : Chinese Medicine Living

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

If you would like a downloadable information sheet that will tell you all about how to live in harmony with the Winter Season in Chinese Medicine, you can find it here - The Winter Season in Chinese Medicine.

 


Chicken and Corn Congee

Congee is known by a few names -  hsi-fan (translated to rice water), or jook. It is traditionally eaten in China, and is especially nourishing to the spleen and stomach, so is often recommended in situations where there is spleen deficiency. Congee is especially good for us in fall and winter as it is warming and you may add many different ingredients to the congee depending on healing properties and your personal taste. Congees are also recommended for when there is cold or flu, as they are very nourishing to the body and easy to digest.

Congee consists of rice with between six to ten times the amount of water cooked very slowly until it becomes a sort of porridge. The cooking time should be between four and six hours. It is thought that the longer the congee cooks, the more powerful it is. Congee is used as the base and the other ingredients are added at the end. There are a multitude of choices when it comes to congee, so it is good to experiment and see what delicious flavours you can come up with.

Although rice is the most common grain used, other grains may also be used, such as millet or spelt.

Chicken and Corn Congee

Ingredients

2 Chicken Legs (or breasts if you like)
1 cup white rice
8 cups water
1 can corn (fresh corn is always better if you can manage it)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 small leeks, chopped (only the whites)
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

Put rice in a bowl, cover with water and let soak for 1 hour, then rinse until the water runs clear. Drain.

In a large soup pot combine chicken, green onions, leeks, garlic, cilantro and 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is fall-from-the-bone-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.

Add rice to pot along with 2 cups of water (you want approx. 8 cups total). Bring to a boil and simmer stirring often until a porridge consistency. Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar during cooking to taste. Shred chicken into bite sized pieces and discard skin and bones. Add 1 can corn and chicken to pot after 1 hour and simmer on low heat for another 30 mins, stirring constantly so the rice doesn't burn. Serve and garnish with some chopped green onions & cilantro. Add a few drops of soy sauce to taste.

chicken and corn congee