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Prep: 5 mins
Soak: 12 hours
Cook: 1 hour

As the modern world becomes increasingly aware of the evident relationship between food and health, this is a school of thought that has always been present in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM categorizes food ingredients according to their nature and medicinal properties, with certain TCM herbs added to everyday meals to help meet a patient’s nutritional and healing needs. 

Dr. Helena Hua Sun from The Sun Chinese Medical Centre has provided us with this 5 ingredient mixed bean congee recipe. The ingredients have been paired together to produce a nutritious meal that helps with kidney health as well as nourishing the body’s blood and qi. In many East Asian countries, red, purple and black varieties of grains or legumes are consumed for their high nutrient and mineral contents, as well as their blood nourishing properties.

Although grains and legumes are a concern to people with sensitive digestive systems, often soaking them in water for a prolonged period of time can help to break down the anti-nutrients, as well as improve their digestibility and nutritional value.

If you’re looking to incorporate an easy nutritious meal to your diet, give this TCM recipe below a try:


  • Red beans (also known as adzuki beans)
  • Mung beans
  • Black soybeans
  • Adlay grain (also known as Job’s Tears or Coix lacryma-jobi)
  • Quinoa
  • Optional: Brown sugar or crystal sugar to taste


  1. Combine equal parts of each ingredient together in a large bowl and rinse thoroughly with water. 
  2. In the same large bowl, cover the ingredients with at least twice the amount of water and leave to soak overnight in room temperature. The ingredients may absorb and expand in size, so if the water is fully absorbed, top up with more water. 
  3. After at least 12 hours of soaking, pour out any leftover water, and place ingredients into a pot. Add filtered water to the pot, with approximately more than 2cm over the surface of the beans.
  4. Close the lid and cook on high heat for 10-15 minutes, then decrease the heat to a low simmer and cook until the beans are soft to the touch. 
  5. For an optional sweeter taste, after cooking for approximately 40 minutes, add brown sugar or crystal sugar to the congee. Close the lid and continue cooking. 
  6. Check the consistency of the congee for thickness (the beans and grains should be soft), and taste to check the level of sweetness. 
  7. Once consistency and taste is achieved, serve desired amount and enjoy. 

Did you enjoy making this nutritious TCM mixed bean congee? We’d love to hear from you and see how you went with this recipe – tag us on Facebook or Instagram.