Congee: Traditional Chinese Recipe

Congee... a bowl a day keeps fatigue at bay! 


Congee is a traditional medicinal dish in many Asian cultures.  Being warm, nourishing, and easily digestible, it is commonly used to support a new mom after birth, anyone recovering from injury or illness, or struggling with chronic digestive weakness.  

From a Chinese perspective congee is prescribed for Spleen Qi ("chee") or digestive energy weakness.  Spleen Qi is responsible for supporting digestion and boosting blood and Qi production.  Chronic illness and postpartum symptoms are often associated with deficient blood and qi so nourishing Spleen Qi can help restore and replenish these vital substances.  

Not only is it easy to digest, it's easy to make; which makes it all the more appropriate for anyone feeling weak and depleted.  You can cook it on the stovetop or leave it in the slow cooker to cook overnight.  At its base, congee is simply a rice porridge. From this simple foundation you can add any number of ingredients from meats and vegetables to medicinal herbs or even fruits and cream, keeping each meal unique and appetizing.  

Here are a few simple recipes to try and enjoy!




  • 1.5 cups white jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup white sticky rice (for a more nurturing, full texture) 


  1. Rinse rice several times in water
  2. In a medium pot, bring rice with 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring often and adding water if it's been absorbed


Chicken Ginger Congee


  • 1-2 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 2in fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 5 Chinese red dates
  • 3 tbsp dried goji berries
  • sea salt 


  1. Add chicken, ginger, onion, carrots, and dates to 1 quart of water and simmer on low, uncovered for 1 hour. 
  2. In last 15 minutes add goji berries
  3. Use 1 quart of this soup as a base for the basic congee recipe 


Sweet Congee with Black Sesame Seed Paste

Black Sesame Seed Paste:


  • 1 cup black sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 7 tbsp of olive oil or melted coconut oil 


  1. Blend everything together 
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar, ground cinnamon, raisins, or dried figs onto 2 cups of basic congee 
  3. Add 2 tbsp of black sesame seed paste 


Oats & Chia Congee


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups steel-cut oats
  • 1in fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4cup of chia seeds
  • Toppings: 
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • fresh fruit or berries 
  • chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc)  


  1. Bring 4.5 cups of water to a boil
  2. Add oats, ginger, salt
  3. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 10 minutes (semi-covered) 
  4. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes; add chia seeds 
  5. Add more water as needed 
  6. After 15 minutes remove from heat and add toppings 

These delicious recipes come from The First Forty Dates: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, by Heng Ou.