How to Make the Eight Treasures (Chinese Congee Recipe) (2024)

The Eight Treasures Congee is classic Chinese comfort food, usually served for breakfast. Made of variety of whole grains, naturally sweetened with jujubes, it is very tasty and keeps you feeling full and energized well past lunchtime. It is a great choice of breakfast food to start your day with. It is one of my favorite comfort foods from China, so I have been practicing how to to make it at home. In this post, I’d like to share the eight treasures congee recipe so that you can make it as well.

Table of Contents

Benefits of Eating Whole Grains

Grains are the edible seeds of plants, also known as cereals. Wheat, corn, and rice are among the most commonly used grains in our everyday diet. While most grains are a source of complex carbohydrates, whole grains are the healthiest since they are a natural source of fiber.

There are many health benefits associated with whole grains. This is due to the fact that whole grains are high in nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, as well as plant compounds. They are healthier versions of the refined grains, which makes them incredibly beneficial for our health.

Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. They help us feel full for a longer time, an important factor for maintaining a healthy weight. Eating whole grains is associated with lowering the risk of severe health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart health, cancers, etc.

The Difference Between Porridge and Congee

Porridge is the generic name for all starchy grains, legumes, vegetables, or seeds. It is usually thicker compared to congee. In the west, porridge is usually made with oats and milk and is usually sweet.

Congee on the other hand is made of rice and is cooked with more water. It is part of Asian cuisines and can be sweet or savory. Because it is plain, it is usually served as a side dish. However, from the recipe for eight treasures congee below, you’ll see that this congee is far from plain. It’s one of the tastiest congee recipes you’ve ever tried.

Benefits of Eating Congee for Breakfast

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers congee beneficial for the digestive system and it is used to nourish the GI tract. Rice is cooked with a much higher ratio of water to grains (about 10:1) for a prolonged period of time which allows the grains to absorb water. That’s why congee is easily digested, it hydrates and nourishes the body.

The Legend of Eight Treasures Congee 腊八粥 làbā zhōu

The recipe for Eight Treasures Congee or “Babao Zhou” calls for whole grains, beans, and nuts. It is an excellent source of nutrients.

There is a legend about how the Eight Treasures Congee got its name.

In ancient China, every year the emperors made sacrifices and prayed to eight gods for a good harvest. Later on, this rite was passed on to common people who substituted the eight gods with eight ingredients; mainly grains, beans, and nuts.

In China, there is a Laba Festival (腊八节) in honor of the eight gods. This festival falls on the eighth day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar (腊 refers to the month and 八 to the day). This kind of porridge was named 腊八粥(làbā zhōu). It is traditionally eaten on the eve before the Laba Festival and marks the arrival of the Chinese New Year.

When eaten on a regular day we simply call it the Babao Zhou.

How to Make the Eight Treasures (Chinese Congee Recipe) (3)

How to Make the Eight Treasures Congee: The Recipe

As for what ingredients exactly go in the Eight Treasures Congee, the recipe varies from region to region. The number of ingredients also varies, usually surpassing eight. The classic Laba Zhou consists of the following: white rice, black rice, red beans, kidney beans, Job’s tears, peanuts, dried jujubes, and lotus seeds.

You might not be able to find all the ingredients where you are. The good news is that as long as you get the main ingredients right, your congee will still turn out fine.

How to Make the Eight Treasures (Chinese Congee Recipe) (4)

The Ingredients:

Black rice – 50g

Glutinous rice 120g

Red beans 30g

Job’s tears 20g

Peanuts 30g

Jujube dates 12 pieces

Lotus seed 60g

Mung beans 30g

Water about 1850ml

Disclaimer: As a participant in the Amazon Associate Program I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.

The Eight Treasures Congee Recipe: Cooking Notes

Remember, this recipe is flexible. Only the main grains are necessary, other ingredients can be replaced. You can substitute ingredients of your choice, such as cashews, raisins, pecans, red rice, etc.

This recipe serves 3-4 people. In China, we sometimes make only one portion of congee at a time. You would still use the same ingredients, though the amount is significantly reduced. It cooks much quicker, especially if you pre-soak the grains.

Soak all the grains overnight (except for dates). This will reduce the cooking time. After you’ve pre-soaked the grains, add the jujubes and water. Gently simmer until the grains are thoroughly cooked, which can take up to 2-3 hours. You will know it’s cooked when you get a smooth red-brownish texture.

If you have an instant pot, use it. The porridge will be done in about 1-2 hours, and it will have a much better, creamy texture.

You’ll be surprised by how comforting and delicious your congee is with just these simple ingredients.

Related Reads:

  • Chinese Breakfast Foods for People Who Love Variety
  • Indian Spices: The Essentials, Uses, and Health Benefits
  • 7 Best Morning Routines to Start Your Day With
  • Matcha Smoothie Bowl: Breakfast Recipe

Avoid Sugar with Jujubes – a Natural Sweetener

The eight treasures congee recipe involves dried jujubes, a fruit similar to dates. Jujubes are grown in China, also known as “red dates”. Dates are a source of fructose. They act as a natural sweetener, which means that you won’t need to add sugar unless you really have a sweet tooth.

How to Make the Eight Treasures (Chinese Congee Recipe) (5)

On the other hand, jujubes are low in calories, but rich in fiber, protein, vitamin C, and potassium.

Most of their benefits are credited to the fact that they are rich in antioxidants. They boost the immune system by warding off harmful free radicals, decrease inflammation, and protect against severe health conditions.

Furthermore, jujubes are low in calories, but rich in fiber, protein, vitamin C, and potassium.

Most of their benefits are credited to the fact that they are rich in antioxidants. They boost the immune system by warding off harmful free radicals, decrease inflammation, and protect against severe health conditions.

Jujubes have been widely used in TCM to improve brain function, sleep, as well as reduce anxiety.

The high fiber content in jujubes and dates is associated with improved digestion. This fiber is also excellent support for beneficial gut bacteria.

Rich in natural sugars, jujubes might also help maintain a healthy blood sugar level and manage diabetes.

Adding jujubes to the recipe is a great way to make this tasty fruit become part of your diet.

Afterthoughts on the Eight Treasures Congee Recipe

The eight treasures congee is a great way to start the day. It contains protein, fiber, and a mix of whole grains, which release energy slowly throughout the morning. Also, these eight ingredients can produce a big pot of congee enough for the whole family. This congee is great for breakfast, but it can also be stored in the fridge and use as a snack between meals. It is healthy so you won’t feel guilty even if you get hungry at night. It is a must-try!

Read Next:

How to Add More Whole Grain Foods to Your Diet

How to Make the Eight Treasures (Chinese Congee Recipe) (6)
How to Make the Eight Treasures (Chinese Congee Recipe) (7)

Save it to Pinterest, Read later!

How to Make the Eight Treasures (Chinese Congee Recipe) (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mr. See Jast

Last Updated:

Views: 6186

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mr. See Jast

Birthday: 1999-07-30

Address: 8409 Megan Mountain, New Mathew, MT 44997-8193

Phone: +5023589614038

Job: Chief Executive

Hobby: Leather crafting, Flag Football, Candle making, Flying, Poi, Gunsmithing, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Mr. See Jast, I am a open, jolly, gorgeous, courageous, inexpensive, friendly, homely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.