Sweet black rice, when cooked with longan berries (euphoria longana) and Chinese dates, becomes a congee that nourishes blood and Qi.
In the Oriental medicine system of food cures, these three foods work together to enhance beauty and longevity.
• The sweet rice promotes the flow of liver Qi, which helps keep angry feelings at bay and leads to calmness.
• The Chinese dates (different from the Mediterranean variety) nourish blood and spleen, promoting restful sleep and mental clarity.
• Longan fruit, a blood enhancer, was used by the ancients to add luster to the skin. From a Western perspective, we know that longans contain large amounts of Vitamin C and phenolic compounds, which may help to detoxify and protect the liver.
Sweet Rice Congee
(Taken from Ancient Healing for Modern Women, by Dr. Xiolan Zhao, C.M.D.)
6 cups water
1 cup black sweet rice (wash before using)
½ cup dried longan fruit
10 Chinese dates
2 tablespoons raw sugar
½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
In a large heavy saucepan, add 6 cups of water, black sweet rice, longan fruit, dates, and raw sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Garnish with ginger. Makes four servings.
Note: All ingredients are available at most Asian grocery stores.
Author: Elizabeth G. Lynch