I came up with this recently when my dad had been in the hospital for several weeks because of a broken hip (the second in one year!), then serious heart issues. I flew back home for just one full day to be with him. He was feeling and looking really weak. I watched him dutifully eating his cream of wheat, mixing in non-dairy creamer, butter substitute, and as many sugar packets as they gave him saying “I’ve got to eat to get stronger!” Well, that was enough to send me straight to the bulk bins at Whole Foods. In a hurry I collected the ingredients for this thinking of the Chinese style sweet soups my dad loves, but packed with some protein and fiber. I headed home to cook it up, plus four dozen carrot muffins for my parents and the nurses. I brought it all to the hospital and everyone was happy and grateful to have something other than hospital food. I flew back home shortly after, sad to be leaving but glad that I left something to help nourish the strongest guy I know. - monkeymom —monkeymom
Test Kitchen Notes
Monkeymom has created a powerful bowl of healing. Made for her dad as he needed to build up his strength while a patient in the hospital, this recipe packs in nutrients galore in every bite. Monkeymom's directions are spot on with amounts and cooking times. I did need to substitute barley malt for molasses and added additional grated ginger on the top. I think almond milk would also work very well as another option to the suggested coconut milk. I was delighted with the fresh medley of new flavors, of unusual subtle sweet-sour contrasts, and of slightly soft, slightly crunchy textures. If you eat this, you will probably stay very healthy and very happy! Thanks for providing such good care with this recipe, monkeymom. - Sagegreen —Sagegreen
½ cup mung beans (they are small and green. Small azuki beans would work too.)
¼ cup black rice (forbidden rice)
¼ cup purple thai rice (any jasmine or basmati rice would be a good substitute)
½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
2 slices fresh ginger
1 Tbsp molasses
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
coconut milk (optional)
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Rinse mung beans and black rice. Add 3 cups water and heat to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Check once in a while and add water to keep beans submerged.
While the beans and cooking, toast coconut in preheated oven until light golden brown. It browns fast, so be careful and stir occasionally as you toast. Let cool.
Add purple thai rice, ginger slices, and another cup of water and boil for another 15 minutes. Add more water periodically to maintain a soupy consistency.
Continue to cook, adding water as necessary, until some of the mung beans have burst and the rice is cooked through. This may take 15-30 minutes longer.
Add ¼ cup brown sugar, molasses, and the toasted coconut. Taste and add more brown sugar to suit if you prefer.
Serve warm. Dilute with water or coconut milk to your desired consistency.
Note: I like this thick, but many people might prefer it soupy. I really liked it served with slightly salted coconut milk and fresh mango - like Thai sticky rice with mango. Most often this type of congee is served as a dessert because it is very sweet, but it can work as a breakfast.
My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.