I know this has happened to you at one time or another: you’ve been cozied up all night to the toilet with a bout of the stomach flu or you’ve eaten something that really doesn’t agree with you, or maybe you’ve have the cold from hell.
At a certain point you recover. You begin to feel a little better and want to eat something, but what? Should you go for the leftover pizza in the refrigerator? Maybe a scrambled egg? It’s hard to tell what’s going to sit well and not make you feel worse.
My answer would be to make a simple congee. A congee is a kind of a thick rice soup or porridge that is easy on the stomach and a good place to start when you’re recovering from an illness. Rice is easy to digest, and is one of the foods least likely to cause food allergies, so almost anyone can eat it.
Congees are a common meal in many Asian countries. It can be sweetened and eaten for breakfast or cooked with broth for an evening meal. Congees are served everywhere from rural China to the Red 8 Asian Restaurant at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.
Here’s my recipe from Simple Steps: The Chinese Way to Better Health:
Combine one part rice (white or brown) with seven parts water and simmer over a low heat until the rice is tender. For a complete meal, you can add broth and protein (chicken, shrimp, tofu or egg), vegetables, sesame oil and herbs to suit your taste and health needs.
Most herbs used in cooking tend to be warming in nature, especially ginger and scallions, so if you’re running a temperature or feeling hot, you may want to use them in limited amounts or balance warm herbs with cooling vegetables. For example, you can offset the warming effects of ginger by adding mung bean sprouts to your congee.
My favorite is congee mixed with broth, ginger, scallions, sesame oil and cilantro. For protein, I’ll add some cubed tofu if I have it , otherwise I’ll beat an egg and mix it in while the congee is still simmering. Yum!