Last Updated December 30, 2021
9 Ingredients I 2.5 hours slow-cook
The warm and wholesome Eight Treasure Porridge is a classic Chinese comfort food that is also great for gut health.
The number 8 is a symbol of abundance in Chinese culture. Traditional Chinese medicinal seeds and grains are often added to create many versions of this beloved porridge. Here is a simple version using only ingredients you can easily get from supermarkets.
Red Sugar/Chinese Raw Sugar (红糖): A widely used unrefined / raw sugar in Chinese food therapy. Red sugar has a high molasses content and a rich aroma. It is moist and not intensely sweet. The warm character and nutritional value of red sugar make it an essential ingredients in the preparation of many therapeutic foods.
Red sugar is widely available in Chinese food stores. Dark Muscovado or Turbinado can come quite close and be used as substitutes.
Red Dates: The sun-dried Jojoba fruits are another popular ingredients in Chinese food preparation because it is calcium and iron rich, and lends natural sweetness to drinks, soups, and porridges. These dates are simply harvested and sun dried without further processing. They are widely available in Chinese food stores. I prefer the larger ones that are sun-dried and intact (instead of the smaller machine-cored then machine-dried ones). You just have to take the stones out yourself before using them, which I think is well worth the effort.
EIGHT TREATURE PORRIDGE
PLANT FOOD/ WHOLE FOOD / GLUTEN-FREE
MAKE 2 liters SLOW COOKER: 2.5 to 6 hours
- 1 cup of oats
- 1/4 cup each of medium grain white rice, brown rice, red beans, millets
- small amount of peanuts, walnut pieces, Goji berries
- red sugar or Muscovado / Turbinado to taste
- 6 large (sun) dried dates or 12 small ones, with pits removed (optional)
- Add all the ingredients and 1.5 litres of hot water into a slow cooker. Set to high for 2.5 hours or low for 6 hours.
- Depending on the ingredients used, if the porridge becomes too thick to stir, add one or two cups of boiled water, stir well to mix until the porridge reaches the desired consistency.
- Oats, rice, and red beans helps to build the texture and color of the porridge, therefore are best kept as main ingredients while substituting the other grains, beans or nuts for locally available produce.
- While substituting ingredients, use the amount of starchy ingredients (such as grains and beans, not seeds or nuts) to determine the amount of water required.
- Therapeutic ingredients you can add: dried long-an, coix seeds, lotus seeds, lily bulbs, goji berries. All of them are mild plant medicine that are beneficial to most people and widely available at Chinese supermarkets.