Do you eat rice on the regular? I know, it’s a carb black sheep. Feared and shunned, no one wants to eat it even though it is the most widely grown and consumed staple in the world. There are so many varieties of this gluten free grain. What if I told you that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, rice is actually favored and eating it is actually helpful for our overall health and wellbeing? I know, wtf right?
In TCM, food is a tool to achieve overall balance for a well functioning body. This means full of energy and free of disease. It’s best to not let your body get imbalanced in the first place. This means recognizing symptoms when they show up to alert you that something is amiss.
In TCM, rice is a balanced food which is easily digested. It’s gentle to the system. But not white rice right?
The type of rice you eat is interchangeable depending on which one digests most easily for you. White rice tends to be easier on the spleen, aka your digestive fire power, while brown rice has more nutrient density. So, you do you.
According to TCM, rice is a ‘clean burning’ food which also helps drain dampness from the body. You may be thinking “WTF is dampness? We’re 75% water. I thought we needed it!”
The word is confusing. Dampness isn’t about hydration. Think of it like humidity in the body that’s the result of eating foods that clog your insides. Yum!
Perpetrators include dairy, white flour, sugar and processed foods. Sound familiar? Dampness causes stagnation in the body, causing it to break down, which results in pain and disease. Sound like signs of inflammation? Yes! Essentially your insides are on fire and swollen. Fun! No! Signs of dampness/inflammation include: brain fog (hmmm, humidity and fog…lightbulb moment!), excess weight or unexplained weight gain, swollen joints, mucus in the nose or lungs and digestive issues.
Dampness/Inflammation can be difficult to treat once it accumulates so we want to eat preventatively in the first place. Many consume congee, a warming rice porridge, regularly. It helps to soothe the inflamed gut, spleen and stomach and aid in digestion.
Mongolian Jackfruit over White Rice
- 1 can jackfruit, drained/rinsed and pat dry (I used @Traderjoes)
- 1/4 cup arrowroot (you can use cornstarch)
- 1/4 cup organic maple syrup (I used @Traderjoes)
- 1/4 water
- 2 tbsp Tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 medium or 3 small cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. ginger, minced (about a 1″ thumb”
- 3 scallions (green onions), sliced thinly on the bias
- 1 medium carrot, matchsticked/julienned
- 1 cup greens (I used @Traderjoes Power to the Greens)
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Olive oil for saute
- Salt to taste
- Cook rice according to package instructions
- Place dry jackfruit in a large bowl. Using your hands, crumble the jackfruit so it’s large crumbles and pieces
- Add arrowroot and coat all pieces of the jackfruit
- Heat sautés pan over medium heat. When warm, add olive oil
- Place the coated jackfruit in the pan, you may need to do this in shifts as you don’t want to crowd the pan. make sure all sides get a nice sear. Remove from pan
- Add a little more oil to the pan. Add garlic and ginger. When fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add carrots. Stir to combine. When carrots soften, about 1 minute, add jackfruit and greens.
- Add syrup, water and Tamari or coconut aminos. The arrowroot from the jackfruit should be enough to let the sauce thicken, if you find it isn’t thickening enough add 1 tbsp arrowroot to 1 tbsp of cold water and stir to dissolve the arrowroot and add it to the pan
- Add the green onions, stir to combine everything, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Serve immediately over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds