Congee is a type of rice porridge popular in Eastern Asia. Often it is served plain as a side dish, and sometimes meats, seafood, and seasonal vegetables are added to make it a whole meal. It’s thought to be a very healing food in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is often served to those who are ill. In this version of congee, we’re using pastured chicken, ginger, garlic, and brown rice. This is fantastic maintenance recipe, or simply omit the peppers while on the 21-Day Program.
The importance of fiber
Although white rice is traditionally used for congee, we’ve chosen brown rice in order to increase the nutritional value of the dish. The main reason brown rice is healthier than white is that it is less processed. White rice (and many other refined grains) are processed by removing two out of three parts of the grain kernel. In white rice, the bran and the germ have been removed, leaving just the endosperm. In brown rice, the bran (this is where the fiber lives), the germ (where the nutrients live), and the starchy middle layer called the endosperm all remain. Since the grain is left whole and intact, brown rice retains far more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than refined versions.
Fiber travels through our digestive system without being broken down, pushing other waste with it. This is important for keeping digestion regular and effectively cleansing the body. If digestion is sluggish due to dehydration or a low-fiber diet, waste and toxins will sit in the digestive system and toxins will eventually be reabsorbed by the body. In addition to its high-fiber content, brown rice is naturally gluten-free, high in B vitamins, iron, folate, magnesium, and selenium. Brown rice is also a low-glycemic carbohydrate meaning that it will not rapidly spike your blood sugar as many refined carbohydrates will.
Both the chicken broth and the meat add warming, grounding nutrients into this dish. The protein will help round this dish into a full meal. Chicken is a complete protein, meaning it gives our body every amino acid that it cannot produce on its own. We’ve paired the chicken with ginger and garlic to not only add flavor but also important nutrients. Ginger is commonly used to help ease nausea and other digestion issues, to treat the common cold, and to fight inflammation. Garlic is also a commonly used substance for boosting immunity.
1 cup long-grain brown rice
8 cups chicken broth
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2-4 cloves garlic
1 lb. shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon ginger
5 green onions
2-3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
optional: 1 small jalapeño, sliced (omit if cleansing)
Chili oil, optional (omit if cleansing):
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Prep ingredients, mincing garlic and ginger.
Add rice, chicken broth, chicken, coconut aminos, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, and 2-3 cloves of garlic to a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7 hours.
Prepare mushroom topping, right before you are ready to serve congee. Slice green onions, separating whites from greens. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper to pan. Cook until slightly softened, 5-6 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and whites of green onions. Cook for 4-5 more minutes. Remove from heat.
To make the chili oil, place red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Heat olive oil until shimmering. Pour oil over chili flakes, mix, and let the mixture come to room temperature.
Shred chicken and mix into congee. Spoon congee into bowls, top with mushrooms, greens of green onions, jalapeños, and drizzle with chili oil. Enjoy immediately.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
If you like this recipe, you might also like Reduce Inflammation with This Turmeric Chicken Soup