Congee recipe: sick food

Congee or jok is a type of rice porridge that is prescribed in Chinese medicine to help one recover from sickness. So when Chinese people feel sick, they will whip a pot of congee and live off it for a few days until they are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again. Melbourne is the perfect climate for congee, especially in winter when it is cold and alll the lurgies are going around. Congee is also a staple breakfast food in China, the recipe here is for when you want to start your day with congee and then may snack on it all day long as you please!

Congee is great to have when you feel sick, whether it be respiratory or gut-related illness, and good for people in recovery stages such as post-partum, post-operative etc. Its a great first food for babies and toddlers as it is easy for the spleen and stomach to digest and is relatively warming to reduce cold and phlegm in the body. In this way congee can also be beneficial for people who struggle with weight loss as it will give your internal mingmen yang or metabolic energy a boost.


You can make your own congee as you please, it can be vegan, vegetarian or based in a chicken stock. Either way this hot rice soup seasoned with salt, pepper, butter (yes I love it), freshly-grated ginger and thinly-sliced spring onion will revive your lungs and soul! I like simple easy cooking, so follow my recipe if you would like to try some lovely congee.

Ilana’s Easy Overnight Congee Recipe


Leftover chicken bones and some meat from last night’s roast chook

1 cup of rice


1 teaspoon of salt

Garnish with thinly sliced spring onion, grated ginger or garlic, parsley (for an Italian-inspired congee), a dash of olive oil, a knob of butter, salt & pepper, chilli…


Before you go to bed, place your slow cooker on low, then put the leftover chicken bones and meat inside it. Fill it up with water to the maximum and add the salt.

In a bowl, place the rice in water to soak so it is ready to add in the morning.

When you wake up first thing, add the rice (rinsed) to the slow cooker and top up with water to the maximum level again. You can leave it for an hour or two before its ready to serve. Give it a good mix and garnish as desired.

Serve in a bowl and enjoy!

NB: you can use brown rice, however it needs to be soaked for a minimum of 24 hours in a clean jar with a closed lid to reduce the phytic acid.

At Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Murrays Bay, Auckland, expect the best holistic health consultation, tailored treatment and advice with 8 years experience supporting good health with acupuncture, dietetics and Chinese herbs. Call Ilana on 020 4159 8393 or send her an email to for more information.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture, North Shore, Murrays Bay, Auckland, New Zealand 2018

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