Urban Yoga Monkey: A post of the Asian Persuasion

My Asian genes have been expressing themselves quite strongly of late and I wanted to share how nourishing, warming and soothing for the tummy Congee is.
Essencially its very slow cooked brown rice with vegetable stock or miso as the recipe below suggests. I was hit by the stomach bug a few weeks back and it’s left me with with a strong sensitivity- but one I’m actually learning alot from. I’ve never been a diet kinda girl but with a busy schedule and a vocation that is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, nutrition has always been paramount. Simplicity and efficiency are at the top of my list in my practice and teaching and this runs through my eating habits too. New mums- this is a great dish when breast- feeding, to those new momma students on the UrbanYogaMonkey scene at present x
The receipe below comes from a fabulous site called Mother Nature network and presents a whole range of additions to the Congee dish, for me though, it’s just the vegetable stock from my veggies and brown rice so it can be as simple or varied as you wish x

brown rice

Miso, a mix of cooked soybeans and rice, is fermented with a particular fungus called koji (or aspergillus oryzae). It’s the perfect jump start to soaking or fermenting brown rice to make a more digestible (and tasty) brown rice version of congee. However, you need to make sure you use a miso that still contains live cultures. The label should either say “live cultures” or “raw.” Since brown rice doesn’t break down as easily as white rice, I purée this congee in the end to give it a smooth texture. You can use this base for a variety of toppings (like the Fried Shallot and Garlic Topping from the Thai Congee, the Soy Ginger Salmon from the Japanese Congee, or the Marbled Spiced Tea Eggs from the Chinese Congee), or you can just keep it simple with a poached egg, green onions, and ginger. Umeboshi plum paste is a sweet and sour fermented paste that is delicious and very good for you. It’s considered by the Japanese as good for digestion, among many other health benefits. You can find it at many health food stores, occasionally sold in bulk. As always, offer as many or as few toppings as you like. I would recommend a protein (like the poached eggs), the soy sauce, and the ginger to start with. Add more as desired.

1⁄4 cup/60 ml live-culture miso
1 cup/1 75 grams brown rice (long or short grain)
1 cup/236 ml warm filtered water
5 cups/1.18 liters chicken or anchovy stock or water
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 heaping teaspoons wakame (a seaweed available at health food stores and asian markets) (optional)

Topping Choices:
4 poached eggs
soy sauce or tamari (use tamari for gluten-free option)
Finely grated fresh ginger
sliced green onions
Umeboshi plum paste
Toasted sesame seed oil

1. In a medium bowl, combine the miso, brown rice, and warm water. Mix together and cover. Leave the bowl in a warm place for 12–24 hours.

2. In a medium pot,add the miso and rice mixture along with 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add 4 cups of stock to the pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 –1 1⁄2 hours or until the rice is very soft.

4. Add more water or broth, if needed, to thin the soup. I generally add about 1 cup more liquid after the cooking time.

5. Purée in batches in a food processor orblender, or blend directly in the pot with an immersion blender.

6. Add the ginger and wakame (if using) to the pot and cook for 3 more minutes.

7. To poach the eggs, fill a medium pan with water deep enough to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil, drop in the eggs, and simmer for 4 minutes, which is long enough to cook the egg whites, but short enough to leave some of the yolk runny. Remove the poached egs with a slotted spoon and top each bowl of congee with one egg. Be sure to make the eggs right before serving the congee.

8. Serve with your other chosen toppings.

Here are some health benefits of brown rice:

Brown rice is rich in manganese. Manganese is required for healthy bone structure and metabolism. It is also required for absorption of calcium, regulating blood sugar level, metabolism of fats and proper functioning of thyroids. It is an essential nutrient for the human body.

Brown rice is rich in iron. Iron literally gives life to the human body by carrying oxygen to blood cells.

Selenium is brown rice is found to reduce the incidence of cancer and cataracts. It also aids in the metabolism of the thyroid. It protects the body from dangerous free radicals.

Brown rice is rich in niacin, which plays a major role in secretion of sex and stress related hormones in the adrenal glands. It also prevents bad cholesterol. There are many other benefits of niacin.

Brown rice contains magnesium. Magnesium plays a major role in maintaining bodily nerves, bones and muscles. It is necessary for sustaining normal heart beat. It helps in protein synthesis and cellular metabolism. It is proved to prevent type 2 diabetes. It reduces the severity of asthma. It is found to reduce migraine headaches.

Brown rice is rich in vitamin E which promotes immunity and is necessary for a healthy skin. It is also anti-inflammatory and provides relief from pain. Vitamin E is an antioxidant.

Brown rice contains folacin which is necessary for production of red blood cells. It is also necessary for proper development of brain and spinal chord in unborn infant. There are immense health benefits of folacin.

Potassium in brown rice prevents stroke. It is necessary for maintaining a healthy blood pressure. It improves muscular strength. It prevents heart and kidney disorders.

Thiamine in brown rice necessary for maintaining a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system.

Consuming brown rice is found to prevent gallstones in women.

Research studies have indicated that people who consume more whole grains like brown rice weigh less. Brown rice prevents obesity.

Brown rice is rich in fiber. It prevents intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. It promotes healthy bowel movements, there by preventing constipation. It is also found to prevent cancer.

The oil in whole brown rice lowers the dangerous LDL cholesterol. This bad cholesterol can wreak havoc on human cardiovascular system.

Phytonutrients in brown rice have immense health benefits. Phenolics are a type of Phytonutrients. They are antioxdiants. Lignans are another type of phytonutrients which prevents from cancer and heart diseases.

Brown rice is an excellent source of all round nutrition and should definitely be a part of daily diet.

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