Ying Yang Xue

"If something is cold, heat it. If something is hot, cool it." –Huangdi Neijing

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Delicious Damp Heat Congee

JG rounded out the semester with an absolutely divine damp heat-draining congee.  (A congee is a rice-based porridge, slow-cooked with a lot of water, that is particularly beneficial to the middle jiao–the spleen and stomach.)  When you hear the word congee, you usually think “bland bland bland.”  When you think of foods that typically drain damp, you think “bland bland bland.”   I cannot tell you how much further from “bland” this wonderful congee was!  Slow cooked for 7+ hours, JG added the perfect amount of seasonings without comprising this dish’s ability to clear heat.  I must admit I have several bowls of this…and I stopped only at “several” to uphold my dainty, lady-like reputation (*ahem*).

TCM DOS: Damp heat

Western Correlations: leukorrhea, jaundice, eczema, psoriasis, boils, hepatitis, tenesmus,
dysentery, UTI, conjunctivitis, ear infection with yellow/green discharge, bronchitis/pneumonia
with coughing up yellow phlegm,

TCM s/s: yellow discharge (c/b foul odor) of genitals, ears, eyes, nose; yellow phlegm when
coughing; skin rash that is red & oozy; loose stool with blood, mucus, and/or foul odor; ascites

Tongue: red, thick yellow & greasy coat

Pulse: rapid, slippery

Foods that help: aduki beans, alfalfa, amaranth, basmati rice, celery, Job’s tears, lettuce, mung

bean, pumpkin, turnip

Foods to avoid: alcohol, greasy, fatty, fried, foods; hot, spicy foods/spices (think ginger, onion, garlic, etc); nuts; oats; beef, chicken egg, lamb, pork; dairy; excess sweets; excess raw fruits/vegetables

Helpful cooking methods: If patient has weak digestion make sure to steam, boil, roast vegetables for easy digestion.

Damp Heat-Clearing Congee


• 2 cups rice; basmati not recommended because it doesn’t brake up ( I used Lundberg Wild

• 12 cups vegetable broth

• 6 cups water
~About 1 cup rice to 5-10 cups water/broth. Thicker congee: 1:5 rice:water/broth
Soupy congee: 1:10 rice:water/broth. It’s better to use too much water/broth, then too little.

• 4 bay leaves (for flavor only, not to be eaten)

• Salt to taste

• Cumin 1/4-1/2 tsp

• Garlic powder 1/8-1/4 tsp (caution: just to taste because to warming for damp heat)

4 tops of carrots only (used for medicinal purpose only, not to be eaten)

1 cup fresh diced pumpkin (7oz = 1/2 can canned pumpkin)

1 cup fresh diced sweet potato/yam

1 can (15oz) rinsed aduki beans

1 stalk celery, cut into smiley face


• Place rice, vegetable broth, water, bay leaf, salt, cumin, garlic powder, carrot tops in crock pot and cook on low heat for 7 hours (can cook on higher setting for approximately 5 hours, but “the longer congee cooks, the more powerful it becomes”~ Paul Pitchford)

• Add pumpkin, sweet potato/yam, aduki beans, & celery to congee and cook for an additional 1-2 hours when the congee is thick, rice is fully broken down, and vegetables are tender.

Damp Heat

• Congee itself is good for dampness, heat conditions, & tonifying the spleen

• Pumpkin is cooling and relieves damp conditions

• Sweet potato/yam is cooling and strengthens the spleen

• Aduki beans detoxify the body, remove heat conditions, & are used for damp & watery conditions

• Celery is cooling, dries damp, & used for excess heat conditions

• Carrot tops are good for damp conditions


*Amazing website for congee benefits, preparation, cooking methods, properties of grains, legumes, meats, herbs, vegetables, and fruits that could be used, and it list different recipes for different TCM diagnosis.

Check it out:

The Journal of Chinese Medicine Read Periodicals: Congee – Longevity Food for Life, 2/1/2010

Sweet lovin’ for your Kidneys

It took a few semesters, but it finally happened–Chocolate.  Sweet, sweet chocolate.  It takes a special man to make a chocolate dish for boosting Kidney yin, and JG was up to the task.   JG took a classic brownie and gave it a tonifying black bean injection.  The black bean brownies were–in a word–devourable.  (Is that even a word?)  I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about them for days.

Now we’re not advocating a therapeutic diet consisting solely of brownies (we’d be the mot popular doctors in town if we did!), but when you’re really craving a treat, why not make it a healthier version?

Check out the awesome quote JG found about nourishing the kidneys, too::

“To nourish the Kidney is to become more and more connected to our own spontaneous impulses and the will to live.” ~ Daverick Leggett, Recipes for Self-Healing

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin deficiency

Western correlations: menopause, hyperthyroidism, aging

TCM s/s: dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, poor memory, hardness of hearing, night sweats, dry mouth and throat at night, low backache, nocturnal emissions, constipation, scanty dark urine, lassitude

Tongue: pale red to red with no coat

Pulse: floating-empty, rapid

Beneficial foods:  wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley, eggs,  zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, string beans, beets, button mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, apples, banana, blueberries, black berries, peaches, mulberries, mango

Food to avoid:  chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, coffee, alcohol

Cooking methods: steaming, water saute’, blanching and salting are recommended. Excess water with the cooking technique you choose is also useful.

Black Bean Brownies


  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

If someone comes into the kitchen at midnight to see you face-first in a pan of brownies, feel free to yell “I’M JUST NOURISHING MY KIDNEY YIN!”

Soup Pho the Kidneys

As you grooooan at my joke, keep in mind ‘groaning’ is the sound of the water element in Five Element Chinese Medicine–the same element that governs the kidneys!

“WOW.”   That’s a good place to start describing this epic voyage into nourishing KD yin with the most delightful, thoughtful, so-healing-you-can-feel-it-vibrating phở  (a Vietnamese noodle soup).   SB blew our minds (but then quickly healed them via this soup) with his tongue-in-cheek ‘Temple Brand’ Phở.   Now, I’m not usually a big pho eater because it is difficult for me to find a vegetarian version; not only was SB’s broth vegetarian, it was steeped in all sorts of wonderful herbs, including shu di huang and he shou wu.  I am embarrassed to admit that I had never really partaken in a meal made with proper Chinese herbs and I was very grateful for this opportunity.  SB gave us tons of options for our soup–rice noodles, thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, fresh limes, sriracha, hoisin sauce, jalapenos… everyone’s dish was a little different. Oh, and I almost forgot my favorite part (if I had to pick a favorite from all the deliciousness)–the faux meat floating in the soup.  SO. GOOD!

Most astounding?  This wasn’t a regular go-to dish for SB–this project was his first time making it.

TCM DOS- Kidney Yin Deficiency

TCM S/S- Dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, sore back, constipation, may also have empty heat signs, mallor flush, night sweats, heat in the 5 palms, insomnia, dry throat

Tongue- Red with little to no coat, may have horizontal cracks, red tip with empty fire

Pulse- Floating, empty, rapid, thin

Foods that help- Water, salty flavored food (miso, sea salt, tamari, sauerkraut), kidney shaped foods (black bean, kidney bean, most beans), blue and black foods (blueberries, mulberries, blackberries), seafood (fish, shrimp, seaweed), seeds (flax, pumpkins, sunflower, black sesame), and nuts (cashews, walnuts, chestnuts), bone marrow broth, grains (barley, millet), vegetables (asparagus, deep green leafy vegetables), fruits and melons

Foods to avoid- chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi coffee, vinegar, pickles, tea lamb, shrimp, prawns, veal, game birds citrus fruits, cigarettes, alcohol and recreational stimulants

Other tips- Meditation, qi gong, tai qi, yoga

 ‘Temple Brand Phở’

2″ nub of ginger, cut into 8 or 9 pieces
4 quarts of water
1 package of Pho Spices [3 cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves – in mesh bag]

Herbs- 1 piece of Korean ginseng, 1 piece of shu di huang, 15 grams of he shou wu, 15 grams of goji, 1 cup of longan (in mesh bag)

2 medium size carrots rough cut

1 medium size parsnips

2 cups of rough cut daikon radish

1 cup of blueberries

2 red pears cut into 8 pieces

1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons of vegetarian fish sauce

1 tablespoon of soy sauce (3 if no fish sauce)

2 tablespoons of cane sugar (to taste)

Sea salt (to taste)


1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở; use 1/16″, 1/8″, or 1/4″ width depending on availability and preference)

Toppings (optional)-
Protein such as fried or baked tofu, bean curd skin, soy, or seitan
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, carrots, parsnips, daikon radish or broccoli

1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, cilantro/saw-leaf herb
Hoisin sauce, sriracha (optional)

For the broth
Char pears and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.

In a crock pot (ginseng and he shou wu can not be cooked in a metal pot), add all broth stock except for the 1 package of pho spices and herbs. Set crock pot for 4 hours. At 2 hours add pho spices package and herb bag. Season to taste strain and keep hot until ready to serve.

For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)

For the toppings (optional)

For more heat signs use plenty of bean sprouts and add sliced lotus root (steamed or blanched)
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.

To serve
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

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