Brightly coloured, delectably sweet and sour, this thick millet congee with yam and fragrant kumquats is a good appetizer for strengthening the liver and spleen in spring.
Millet, a traditional Chinese grain, strengthens the spleen and stomach*. Sweet and savoury, perking up your mood, this delicious dish is easy to digest and whets appetites. Perfect for the body’s Spring awakening, it frees yang qi (chi) from the spleen’s winter reserves, activating the liver’s functions.
The lovely kumquats floating in the cereal resemble the sun in the sky. Kumquat adjusts qi and clears phlegm.
Zhang Xichun (1860 – 1933), a famous doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, particularly recommended yams. He invented a prescription yam drink to cure diseases caused by frailty, often with miraculous effects. Yam is believed to improve eyesight and hearing, and prolong life if eaten over extended periods of time.
Avoid drinking milk one hour before — or after — eating this congee: kumquat’s acids will coagulate the dairy protein, causing uncomfortable abdominal distention and slowing digestion. Steer clear of sugar too: it decreases the kumquat’s phlegm-clearing properties.
Ingredients (serves 2):
3-4 kumquats (30g)
3.5 oz fresh yam (100g)
½ cup millet (90g)
½ tsp goji berries (2g)
2 tbsp sugar (25g)
3 cups water (700ml)
1. Soak, clean, and slice kumquats. Peel and dice yam.
2. Place kumquats, washed millet, goji berries, and water in pot, and bring to boil. Cook, unlidded, 25 minutes on low heat. Place yam in pot and cook 10 minutes on low heat. Add sugar.
To make the congee tastier and give it a yellow hue, you can replace 3 tablespoons millet with 3 tablespoons crumbled corn.
Photography by Hsuyi Shih