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Thanksgiving Leftovers Lead to Congee

Rice Porridge

Image © Charlotte90T [flickr.com/charlotte90t] under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Afterwards, salvage the turkey leftovers and help your digestive system recover by making a pot of congee (rice porridge).

Congee is common throughout Asia. It is easily assimilated, and therefore nourishes without taxing the digestive system. It is prescribed in Chinese medicine to replenish the spleen-stomach system in order to tonify qi and blood.

The more bland the congee, the better it is at strengthening spleen-stomach. For rich, strong or complex flavors can be too demanding for a weakened digestive system.

The most basic (bland) porridge is just water and rice, in a ratio of about 6:1, simmered for 45 minutes to a few hours. But that’s too bland for my taste, and besides, we all have a lot of turkey to finish.

I pulled the following Turkey Congee recipe from Steamy Kitchen (ref. http://bit.ly/1OpigeS). It deviates from my normal prep, but I like her idea of adding dried scallops and dried shrimp for an umami taste. [click to continue…]


Sichuan Noodles Salubriously Spiced

Sichuan Noodles

Image © Edward Kimber [flickr.com/woodwood] under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

SoCal heatwave notwithstanding, I’m craving Dan Dan Mian—a classic Sichuan noodle dish, superbly spiced with hot Sichuan peppercorn (chuan jiao).

It’s the tongue-numbing, taste-bud-tickling action of chuan jiao that I seek. To revive my interests and vanquish this listlessness caused by unseasonable heat.

Chuan jiao is both spice and medicine. It’s an essential ingredient in Dan Dan Mian, and gives a thrilling sensation to lips and tongue. As medicine, it strengthens digestion and also kills parasites. It is mainly used for roundworms, but has been effective against [click to continue…]