This 8 ingredient, sweet Eight Treasure Congee is A Traditional, Healthy Chinese Porridge. Easily made in a crockpot Or Instant Pot, this recipe is packed with wholesome ingredients, a variety of grains, and a ton of plant-based protein. Serve as a nutritious breakfast or even as a side for lunch or dinner. Vegan. Gluten-Free.
Eight Treasures Congee or La Ba Congee (八宝粥) was one of my favorite sweet porridges growing up!
This porridge is traditionally eaten during the Chinese Laba Festival (腊八节), a commemoration of the enlightenment of Buddha. Legend has it, that he meditated so deeply that he forgot to eat and a kind woman saved his life with this rice porridge, allowing him to continue meditation and reach enlightenment.
In Chinese tradition, the Laba Festival is a time to spend with your loved ones and pray for good health and peace in the coming year.
Growing up, my grandma would make a variety of versions of this healing dish year-round. She is one of my biggest influences in my functional medicine background and love for Chinese food. She would always include a variety of multi-colored grains, beans, and nuts in our meals.
I truly believe in the power of including these wholesome ingredients in your diet and had to share this easy recipe with you all!
Benefits of Eight Treasure Congee
This Congee recipe has 8 ingredients, but many people make it with much less. The main ingredients are rice and water – everything else just adds to the flavor and decadence!
Congee is the food of love, health, and positivity!
You might not think of rice as healing, but Congee has long been a traditional Chinese medicine for the digestive tract.
The stomach receives our food, but the spleen is where our food breaks down. In Chinese theory, the spleen needs heat to fire up the digestive system – the warmth from the Congee supports this function.
Since the rice is cooked with a higher ratio of water to grain, it turns into mush and is extremely hydrating as well as gentle on the GI system – perfect for people with GI issues, babies, and those who are sick.
Black rice is one of the highest rices in protein and is also a good source of fiber, iron, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that it may lower blood sugar and boost heart health.
Learn more about the health benefits of black rice here.
Due to the amount of fiber and starch, adzuki beans are amazing for digestion. They promote good gut bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Learn more about the health benefits of adzuki beans here.
Chinese jujubes, also known as red dates, not only have a deliciously chewy texture, but are also amazing for your health. They are very high in vitamin C, which promotes immune functioning. And they are also a great source of potassium, which balances electrolytes.
Learn more about the health benefits of jujubes here.
Served Hot or Cold
One of the best parts of this recipe is that it’s perfectly served hot or cold. Now that the days are getting warmer, I like to leave a few servings of this porridge in my fridge so that it’s ready for a quick and easy breakfast!
I love that you can make this recipe in a crockpot or instant pot because it means that clean-up is a breeze! With Ollie becoming more of an active toddler, recipes like this are a must for a busy mom.
Ingredients for Eight Treasure Congee
To make this authentic Chinese porridge, all you need is 8 ingredients!
Rolled (or steel) oats
Peanuts or walnuts, raw
SweeteneR and Toppings
Goji Berries, optional
Substitutes FoR Eight Treasure Congee
This recipe is very customizable! Feel free to substitute the grains, beans, and sweeteners as you wish.
Other grains that I enjoy:
Black sticky rice
Other beans that I enjoy:
How to Make Eight Treasure Congee
Congee can be made in a crockpot or instant pot – it’s so easy!
First, start by washing the rice and beans and draining them of any excess water.
Then, add the rice, beans, oats, nuts, and water all to the crockpot and cook on low for 3 hours.
Finally, add sugar and any other sweeteners/toppings (jujubes, goji berries, etc) to taste!
First, soak the beans for 4-6 hours to soften and rinse after.
Then, add the rice, beans, oats, nuts, and water to the pot and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
Finish off the Congee with your favorite sweeteners and toppings.
Some rice cooker that has “Mixed Grain” or “Stew” functions can also be used for this porridge recipe. It usually takes between 1.5 – 2 hours.
How to Serve Eight Treasure Congee
This mouthwatering dish goes well with so many options. It’s an ideal balance of proteins, carbs, healthy fats, and fiber, which makes it perfect for breakfast or as a healthy treat.
You can also skip the sweetener and add the Congee as a nutritious side dish to your lunch or dinner.
Either way, feel free to get creative with toppings! I’ve seen Congee topped with fruit, eggs, vegetables, seeds, and more – the opportunities are endless.
How to Store Eight Treasure Congee
Once it’s cooled, you can store your delicious Congee in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I think it tastes even better the next day!
And for you mamas out there: YES you can freeze it! Simple remove from the freezer to thaw and then warm to your desired temperature.
What other traditional Chinese recipes would you like to see next? Leave a comment below and I’d love to share my family recipes with you!
OTHER Authentic Chinese RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
Eight Treasure Congee
- 1/4 cup black rice
- 1/4 cup rolled or steel oats *
- 1/4 cup azuki beans
- 1/4 cup black beans
- 1/4 cup of peanuts or walnuts raw
- 1/4 cup mung beans
- 5-6 Chinese jujubes
- Goji Berries or Dried Long Yan Optional
- 1/2 cup rock sugar or to taste
- 4-5 cups of water
- Soak beans for 4-6 hours and rinse (Traditionally, we use dried beans which requires soaking to soften)
- Wash all the ingredients, drain them of excess water
- Add the rice, beans, oats, nuts, jujubes and water** to the crockpot
- Cook for 3 hours on low
- Add sugar, and goji berries to taste
- Add the rice, beans, oats, jujubes, nuts, and water* to the pot and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes
- Add sugar and goji berries to taste
The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.
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