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What Is Congee and Why Should Your Kids Eat It?

What Is Congee and Why Should Your Kids Eat It?

What is congee, and why do I recommend it to my clients? Congee is a great way to ease a delicate gut and evolving biome toward diversity and improved digestion. Long revered as a salve for digestion in Traditional Chinese Medicine (earliest reference dates back to about 1000 BC), congee is a low cost, versatile, delicious food that’s easy to add your weekly recipe staples. I am a huge fan and here is why:

  • Congee starts with rice – the main ingredient – and is cooked with much more liquid than usual (such as bone broth or chicken stock). It is also simmered much longer, until the texture is like porridge. This makes it very easy to digest.
  • When the body isn’t preoccupied with digesting complex meals, it can better absorb nutrients.
  • This can be incredibly healing for children who are coping with reflux, loose stool, gas, and leaky gut – even kids who are moving off of elimination diets due to FPIES, a condition which often strictly avoids rice. Congee however is more digestible, and may work well.
  • Since the rice grains absorb a high volume of collagen-rich liquid during the cooking process, the porridge is hydrating and nourishing to the lining of the GI tract.    
  • Congee works as a savory dish or a sweet soother. Use it as a breakfast porridge: Just omit the garlic from the recipe. Stir in raisins, which you can soften as well by microwaving with water for 1 minute before adding to congee. 

Typical congee recipes use long grain rice and animal protein based broths in a slow cooked method, and need hours for the starches in the rice to break down and absorb the cooking liquid. I recently discovered an Instant Pot recipe which cuts the cooking time down considerably. Try it and share your comments below!

Instant Pot Congee
Print Recipe
You will need an Instant Pot for this version of congee. Bonus - that means it cooks in 20-30 minutes instead of 2-4 hours with traditional stove top simmering (which is also great, just slower). Use organic ingredients, and don't forget to rinse and drain the rice before cooking.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Instant Pot Congee
Print Recipe
You will need an Instant Pot for this version of congee. Bonus - that means it cooks in 20-30 minutes instead of 2-4 hours with traditional stove top simmering (which is also great, just slower). Use organic ingredients, and don't forget to rinse and drain the rice before cooking.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
For Savory Congee...
For Breakfast Congee...
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Rinse rice under cool water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot, except honey or maple syrup. Add that to taste after cooking, if you are making a breakfast congee.
  3. Close and lock the lid. S
  4. Set the pressure cook / manual setting on high for 30 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, add in any extras you like: For savory congee, try minced scallions, minced cilantro, or minced pork or chicken. For breakfast congee, try raisins (cooked with the congee or added after), berries, bananas, maple syrup, or honey.
Recipe Notes

For traditional stovetop cooking, place all ingredients with rinsed rice in a large pot on stove. Cover rice with broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to steady simmer and add liquid throughout the next two hours, whenever the liquid cooks down to expose the rice. Stir to keep from sticking to bottom of pot.

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