Immune-Boosting Congee

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 11.34.01 AMBy Teresa Cutter. When I’m feeling a little run down and need nourishing comfort food, I head to the kitchen and make my congee. Slow Cooked Brown Rice Congee With Ginger + Shallots which is featured in my cookbook Purely Delicious is the perfect warming dish to keep you healthy this winter. Serve steaming hot in generous bowls, enjoy the goodness and instantly feel the healing benefits of this magnificent yet simple soup.

What’s Great About It:
Ginger is a potent detoxifying and antiviral herb that helps the body get rid of toxins, stimulate circulation and boost your immune system. It’s regarded as a natural antibiotic for the body and helps to reduce congestion and mucous production.

Brown rice is kind to the digestive system and great for people with food sensitivities. It is rich in B vitamins for energy and nurturing for body and soul. Coriander (Cilantro) is a beautiful aromatic herb that really nurtures the body. It can help to relieve nausea, support liver function and fight inflammation.

Turmeric has been linked to the prevention of cancer cell growth and management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease. It is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron. Turmeric also aids digestion, relieves joint pain, and can reduce symptoms of cold and flu.

Serves 2

180 g (6 oz) organic brown rice
2 litres (64 fl oz) water or vegetable stock
1 spring onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon cold pressed sesame oil
Pinch shichimi togarashi (see notes)

ACCOMPANIMENTS TO SERVE (allow each person to choose their own)

fresh ginger, sliced
coriander (cilantro) leaves
wheat free – tamari soy sauce
ground or fresh turmeric

Place rice into a pot and dry-roast over a low heat until fragrant, but not coloured.
Pour over the water or stock and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and slow-cook the rice, stirring regularly for 1 hour or until rice is soft. The end mix should look creamy.
Spoon into generous serving bowls and garnish with shredded ginger, tamari, coriander, sesame oil, shichimi togarashi and turmeric if using.

Notes + Inspiration
Brown rice can be replaced with quinoa, barley or whole oat groats.
A light sprinkle of fried shallots can be used for extra crunch and texture.
Add roasted garlic before serving
Use chicken stock in place of water or vegetable stock – add poached organic chicken, fish or a beaten egg for added protein.

Shichimi Togarashi is a common Japanese spice mixture containing seven ingredients. A typical blend may contain:

  • coarsely ground red chili pepper (the main ingredient)
  • ground sanshō (“Japanese pepper”)
  • roasted orange peel
  • black sesame seed
  • white sesame seed
  • hemp seed
  • ground ginger
  • nori or aonori (seaweed)