Eight Treasures Porridge (Laba Congee)

Chinese name: 八宝粥 (bā bǎo zhōu) & 腊八粥 (là bā zhōu)
Characteristics: The mixed congee looks mouthwatering, tastes soft and sweet and smells fragrant.

Eight Treasures Porridge, also known as Babao Porridge, Laba Congee or Buddhist Porridge, is a traditional food for the Chinese Laba Festival, which falls upon the eighth day of the 12th lunar month. As its name, it originally refers to the porridge made of eight kinds of ingredients. Nowadays, the ingredients are from more than eight types. In the past, people ate the porridge to keep warm and celebrate the Laba Festival. Today it has been a home-style snack in everyday life. People in different areas cook the porridge with different nutritious ingredients, which usually are of four types - rice, beans, dried fruits and Chinese herbs.

Because of all kinds of nutrient-rich ingredients contained in the congee and the easy cooking method, Eight Treasures Porridge now is popular throughout China. If well cooked, the gruel tastes sweet, soft and smooth, not greasy at all.

Note: Apart from the ingredients added in the recipe, white sugar and milk can be appropriately added according to one's personal taste.
 

Ingredients:


kidney beans, sorghum rice, barley, longans, oats (avena sativa), rice, millet, peanuts, mung beans and black rice

Note:
1. 15 dried longans are needed. 30g of each of the rest ingredients should be prepared. These ingredients serve 2-3 persons.
2. Except the ingredients mentioned above, some others can also be added to make more tasty porridge, such as lotus, raisins, red dates, red beans, Chinese yam and wolfberry.
 

Preparation Work:


Soak the black rice and peanuts for 3-4 hours in advance.
Laba Congee Ingredients

 

Methods:

STEP
1

Clean all ingredients and remove the water. Pour them into an electric cooker and add in more water.

STEP
2

Turn on heat and boil the mixture for about 20 minutes. When the steam comes out, remove the cover in case the porridge overflows.

STEP
3

Boil for another 30-40 minutes until the congee turns pasty with small bubbles. Or pick out some black rice or peanuts to see if they have been totally cooked.

STEP
4

Turn off the heat. The Eight Treasures Porridge is finished. Pour the congee into a fine bowl. Now have a quick taste of it.


 Tips:
1. People with diabetes are suggested not to add much sugar when having the gruel.
2. Don't eat much canned Eight Treasures Porridge, because they usually contain preservative.

 Benefits of the Congee:
As all ingredients are cooked to paste which are easy to digest, the porridge is a good choice for people with a weak digestive system. For people with the constipation, Eight Treasures Porridge helps them absorb more water to release the symptom. It is a good winter dish which helps for keeping warm. Moreover, it can help to relieve the unease of sore throat, and is good for keeping fit due to the abundant nutrition.
 

More Staple Food and Snacks in China:

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