Healing Rice Soup: Congee recipe

Published on
March 21, 2014

Emily Navas

A simple cup of rice makes a healing soup called "congee."  Congee is a nutritional rice soup served warm and can be eaten at any time of the day.  It is easy to digest and is perfect when you are experiencing any discomfort digestively or recovering from the flu, surgery, childbirth or food poisoning.  

I tell my patients to use 1 cup of rice to 8 cups of bone broth or vegetable broth.  Cook in a covered saucepan on low heat and simmer for about 2-3 hours until the rice is completely broken down and is a creamy consistency.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Adding vegetables and herbs about an hour into cooking is the way to make this a healing soup.

Choose the following to be added depending on the purpose of the healing:

  • Ginger: to treat cold and deficiency, diarrhea and indigestion
  • Aduki beans: to treat edema and increase urination
  • Carrots: to ease gas symptoms
  • Fennel: treat cold and deficiency
  • Butternut squash: my favorite to help increase the qi and add a sweet flavor
  • Onion or leek: to warm the digestive system and treat chronic diarrhea
  • Red dates: overall strengthening of the energy
  • Liver: to treat blood deficiency (I like to use organic chicken livers)
  • Cod fish or Dried mini-shrimp: deficiency and fatigue and brain fog

As an acupuncturist I often give my patients depending on their symptoms, the following herbs to add an hour into cooking:

  • Cordonopsis (Dang Shen) for tired limbs, fatigue and prolapse of any kind
  • Astragalus Root (Huang Qi) for post-partum fever due to blood and qi deficiency, also an amazing her used in any recovery stage.
  • Licorice root (Gan Cao) for painful spasms of the abdomen or legs
  • Goji Berries for blood deficiency and calming effect


Cook the rice and beans with the water and simmer as I mentioned above.  In a separate pot (I prefer cast iron for the iron benefits, saute the ginger, onion, or leeks and add the animal protein if you prefer.  Add to your rice an hour into cooking and garnish the rice with scallions, sesame oil and a dash of gluten-free tamari sauce to taste.

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Emily Navas LAc, Acupuncture & Functional Medicine

415-519-5230This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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