PLANT FOOD / WHOLE FOOD / GLUTEN-FREE OPTION
March 27, 2021
The sweet, warm and nutritious Eight Treasure Porridge is a classic example of Chinese food therapy. Made of whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts, it is a powerful prebiotic and my ultimate comfort food.
The number 8 is a symbol of abundance. Traditional Chinese medicinal seeds and grains are often added to create many versions of this beloved porridge, however here is a version I cook often – it spares me from having to look for those medicinal ingredients, yet without compromising the texture and taste, and it’s just as healthy and good for your gut!
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. I have also found Billington’s Dark Muscovado Natural Unrefined Cane Sugar comes extremely close.
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 1.5 to 2 litres SLOW COOKER: 2.5 to 6 hours
- 2/3 cup of oats
- 1/4 cup of each of white rice, black rice, buckwheat, millets, red beans, black beans, and barley (leave it out if on a gluten-free diet)
- small amount of peanuts, walnut pieces and goji berries
- 6 large (sun) dried dates or 12 small ones, with pits removed
- red sugar to taste
- 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, white rice, black 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.