Soothing and Warming Chestnut-and-Red Date Congee
When the weather grows cold, a nourishing, warm pot of chestnut-and-red date congee can be the perfect pick-me-up on a chilly day.
My favorite childhood hangout was the chestnut forest behind my grandmother’s house. When the chestnuts ripened in late autumn, I would follow my grandmother up the hill to collect them. When their spiny burs are green and closed, it is a sign that the nuts inside are unripe. The best way to harvest edible chestnuts is to gather those on the ground with open burs that have fallen from the tree naturally. Our baskets were always overflowing with the flavorful nuts.
Fresh chestnuts are either boiled or roasted to remove their bitter skin. Though commonly associated with the festive seasons, these nutritious nuts are a treat at any time of year. With a sweet earthy flavor, chestnuts offer a perfect complement to a wide variety of ingredients. For instance, a honey-and-chestnut cake is simply delectable and can be a healthful dessert, and pancakes sprinkled with melt-in-your-mouth chestnut flour are irresistibly tasty and comforting.
My grandmother’s signature dish is chestnut-and-red date congee. This rich and creamy dish is one of my favorite soothing, warming foods of winter.
30 grams rice
30 grams glutinous rice
10 red dates
1. Wash the red dates and soak them in cold water for 10 minutes.
2. Cut the chestnuts into small chunks and put them on a plate.
3. Wash the rice and glutinous rice.
4. Add sufficient water to the pot along with the rice, glutinous rice and red dates. Bring to a boil, and then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
5. Pour in the chestnuts and cook for another 20 minutes till the congee thickens. Serve.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, chestnut is a warming food and nourishes the qi of the kidneys.
Chestnut is an energy booster which speeds up the metabolism and the body’s other natural fat-burning mechanisms.
Chestnut is rich in vitamin C, which helps to prevent osteoporosis and delay aging.
Avoid eating raw chestnuts as they contain high levels of tannic acid, which can cause stomach irritation. Eating too many cooked chestnuts may induce flatulence. Those who suffer from indigestion and diabetes are advised to consume chestnuts in moderation.