Forbidden rice and red bean congee is a classic Chinese recipe. The rice and beans are soaked for better digestion. This congee is a perfect traditional food remedy to nourish the blood.
Forbidden rice is also known as black glutenous rice, while the red beans also known as Azuki beans. In East Asian countries, there is a long tradition of eating red, purple, black varieties of grains and legumes, for the blood nourishing health benefits, due to their high content of nutrients and minerals.
These days we often hear people say that they can’t eat whole grains or legumes, because these foods cause gas, bloating and digestive irritation. Before you completely write them off, try properly soaking the grains and legumes to break down the anti-nutrients and increase digestibility. I have the full instruction in the recipe below.
Soaking is one of the few ways to improve nutritional value and digestibilities of grains and legumes, others are sprouting and fermenting. Many of the recipes on this blog incorporates traditional cooking methods, such as this nourishing soup with soaked quinoa, a hummus using sprouted chickpeas, and this fermented bread.
When it comes to cooking legumes, the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker is invaluable. I knew a classic Chinese red bean congee would be on my regular menu to make when I bought my Instant Pot. Here is the model of Instant Pot I use, and I talked about why I chose the 8qt model in this post. I grew up having pressure-cooked beans congee as a staple. So you may be able to imagine my excitement when I got my Instant Pot.
Forbidden rice and red beans aren’t the only ingredients suitable for a good pot of congee. For the simplicity of this recipe, I wanted to share a popular congee recipe with fewer ingredients. When you make your congee at home, feel free to toss in any grains and beans you like. I often mix 8 to 12 ingredients in the same pot, including any grains and legumes I have on hand, such as brown rice, red rice, millets, black eye peas, black beans, mung beans, coix seeds, lotus seeds, as well as jujubes, chestnuts, lily bulbs, ginger, dried tangerine peels, etc.
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More traditional Chinese healing recipes you will love:
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- Easy DIY Floral Tea 3 Ways: Coupling the Healing Power of Teas and Flowers
- PMS Relief Herbal Chicken Soup (四物汤)
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Instant Pot Forbidden Rice and Red Bean Congee
- 1 1/4 cup red beans (aka. Azuki beans)
- 1/2 cup forbidden rice (aka. black rice)
- 8 cups filtered water (plus more for rinsing and soaking)
- 1/2 cup jujubes (optional)
- maple syrup to taste (optional)
- Combine and rinse the red beans and forbidden rice. Cover with at least double amount of water. The beans and rice will absorb a lot of water and expand. Top up more water if the water no longer covers the rice and beans during the soaking process. Let the rice and beans soak for at least 12 hours in room temperature. I often soak for up to 24 hours. If the weather is hot, reduce the soaking time or change water as needed.
- After the rice and beans are soaked, they should be expanded to about 4 cups in volume.
- Add soaked red beans, black rice to the Instant Pot. Add a handful of washed jujubes if desired. Add 8 cups of filtered water. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and secure the pressure valve. Select high pressure cooking for 1 hour.
- When the cooking is done, turn off the Instant Pot and let it depressurize on it's own. This will take about 40 minutes.
- Serve it plain or sweetened with maple syrup.