Clogstoun Congee

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Clogstoun CongeeClogstoun Congee

Clogstoun Congee nourishes your Stomach, especially your Stomach Yin energy, which feeds and hydrates you.

That's vital because your Lungs need that moisture to combat all the dryness in the air (offices, air-conditioning, central heating) and in many of our foods (ranging from dried fruit to toast).

With good hydration your immunity improves.

Why not just drink a gallon of water? you ask.

Answer: because water flushes you out and often isn't absorbed properly. You end up peeing lots without retaining what you need.

Clogstoun Congee, on the other hand, is made so that the grain (usually organic, long-grain, white rice) absorbs more and more water. 

When eaten, it gives that water up only slowly, allowing your body to assimilate it properly.

Instead of being, as it were, sidelined straight to your kidneys, it enters your Liver and is turned into Blood. It then does the rounds, feeding and replenishing your body, artery to capillary to vein.

On its return to the centre it brings along the garbage and what is not excreted returns into the system. So, in the form of Blood, it goes to repair and fill out flesh. 'Hydration'!

This increases the Yin fluids in your body. That has a stabilising effect on your Yang energy. So you feel calmer, less prone to anxiety, to snacking, to hunger: in better control of your weight and less swayed by fads. Less Yin deficient!

You become steadier in yourself. That helps sleep. That in turn improves your health and reserves. That makes you less susceptible to hazards like coughs, colds and other diseases.

And all because you changed your eating habits!

Is Clogstoun Congee ALL you need?

No! Does just one cup of coffee keep you awake forever?

Obviously not!

Your body needs regular nourishment. You can damage it over time with a bad diet. You can mend it over time with a good diet.

If you take Clogstoun Congee regularly, you'll be amazed how much fitter you become. (But do remember, Clogstoun Congee is only part of the nutrition your body needs. You'll also need other foods. See Nutrition.)

Which Grain for Clogstoun Congee?

Almost any grain can be used, and I'll add pages on them in due course, but let's start with the basic: organically grown, long-grain white rice. 

By the way, it's mostly grown in and exported from California. The Chinese don't export that much rice.

Ingredients for Clogstoun Congee

  • Filtered water, boiling. At least 12 cups-worth.
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain, organic white rice.
  • Coarse salt, eg sea salt, or a mineral-rich salt
  • Some oil. Could be safflower, grapeseed, coconut
  • Later, when eaten, you need to add a source of protein and some vegetables. For protein, often best is sliced boiled egg or poached egg. Some recipes suggest sliced scallion, others dried scallops. You can even use yesterday's leftovers (but not yesterday's cooked rice.)
  • Sliced root ginger. (Not powdered, sugared or candied ginger!)
  • Soya sauce
  • Toasted sesame seed oil
  • Cardamon - you'll need just a pinch

Believe it or not, 1 uncooked cup of this rice will make enough Clogstoun Congee for at least three or four people!

Making Clogstoun Congee

You'll need the pot of boiling filtered water nearby, and a largish, flat-bottomed stock pot. In the picture you'll see a Creuzet pot, but don't get hooked on this! The pot should have a thick bottom.

  • Heat the pot. It should be high heat, almost as high as you might use to make popcorn.
  • When it's hot, pour in the rice, all of it. Stir it around for a minute or so until you see steam coming off it.
  • Add half a teaspoonful of salt. Stir it into the grain.
  • Add a few teaspoons of oil. Stir.
  • Stir fairly vigorously, to coat all the grains with oil.
  • Add about a cupful of boiling water. If your pot is hot enough it will boil vigorously. Stir vigorously. Turn on the extractor fan vigorously. The grains will probably float to start with, vigorously.
  • Reduce the heat a little. The mixture should just boil.
  • Keep stirring - steadily -  as the rice absorbs the water.
  • When the water seems to have been absorbed but before the rice gets dry, add another cup of boiling water.
  • Keep stirring as the rice absorbs the water.
  • As it gets almost dry again add another cup of boiling water.
  • Keep repeating this. As the mixture absorbs more water it gets larger and it takes longer each time. Keep stirring.
  • You'll notice that some of the starch in the rice comes out and forms a milky liquid that cushions the rice. The appearance of this liquid is important.
  • As the volume increases, it needs less constant stirring. It should now be simmering rather than boiling. You can leave it for a while, perhaps 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • You may need more salt. It can take quite a lot of salt without really tasting salty, but add it gradually.
  • Do not allow it to go dry, nor to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Depending on the time you have, keep adding water. Eventually you could add all the water.
  • Again, by the time it's ready, there should be a kind of almost milky-coloured liquid holding the rice. This milky liquid is the starch.
  • Now add a pinch of cardamon powder, to taste.
  • Or add some soya sauce
  • And/or add some toasted sesame seed oil (benefits your Kidney energy)

Ready? Now What?

Once it's done, it will be a semi-fluid rice porridge. See picture. If the rice looks dry, you need more water. (The presence of the milky like fluid is important... Oh! I might have said that before...!)

Take your pick of the following to eat with it:

  • nearly always add some sliced fresh root ginger. (Sometimes I put this in with the water as the dish is prepared. Depends how you like it.) The ginger helps your body digest it better but you might leave this out if the Clogstoun Congee is for a baby or infant.
  • cooked bean sprouts
  • poached or soft-boiled egg
  • slices of meat, but not fried meat (too drying and possibly too heating)
  • sliced nuts, eg hazel nuts, almonds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • dried, re-hydrated scallops
  • vegetables leftovers from your fridge
  • soya or tamari sauce (preferably a good one, without too many preservatives etc)
  • sauerkraut
  • toasted sesame seeds or oil

Each of these foods has a different 'energetic' effect and if you know your constitution well you may be able to choose the particular add-ins to suit yourself that day. ('Energetic'? Yes, foods have energetic effects quite apart from the temperature at which you serve them. Read more under NutritionHot foods and Cold foods.)

But variety is best. Don't have the same thing every day. You intestines contain trillions of organisms, mostly good if you are healthy, and they benefit from a varied diet.

If you're not healthy, what then?

The less healthy you are, the simpler the dish. If you are a convalescent, or have just suffered a shock, or have a very weak digestion, have the Clogstoun Congee on its own until you feel stronger, maybe adding a thin slice of ginger as you stir in water.

For someone gravely ill, it might be all he or she eats to start with.

Each of the foods above benefits a particular organ. The grain itself and the proteins benefit your Stomach and Spleen. Toasted sesame oil helps to consolidate your Kidney energy;  sauerkraut is more for your Liver and Gallbladder.

How Often to eat Clogstoun Congee?

You can take it daily! Or three times a week or ... ! It's up to you.

But if you are trying to regain health, take it daily if possible.

You can also make it with other grains, like oats (Clogstoun Porridgee), millet, even wheat. We'll have pages on those in due course.

Question about cooking with milk, not water

Milk is a good food, when you need it. But it is very moistening and can lead to the build-up of Damp or Phlegm.

So if you have a very sore, dry throat, some milk added - in the last stages of preparing Clogstoun Congee - might greatly ease it.

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Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott Books

All the books in the 'Chinese Medicine in English' series should be fully accessible on Kindles and Kindle apps. (Or you can buy the softback print editions, of course.)

('Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine' published 1986, was never available in a Kindle version.)

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Here are some of the books I (Jonathan) have written.

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Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

Yin Deficiency - Burnout and Exhaustion

Yang Deficiency - Get Your Fire Burning Again!

Yuck! Phlegm! How to Clear Your Phlegm ...

Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine

Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine! See Reviews.

Seven Reviews so far for Yuck Phlegm. (Despite the lurid cover, it explains the five main types of phlegm and what works best for each type. I hope it's easy to read and will be much more useful than all the websites on the subject.)

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