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Simple Squash and Millet Congee 南瓜小米粥

With the weather changing (see this article on the changing of seasons), it is time to strengthen the digestive system. Yellow or orange colored foods, well cooked and served warm are preferable, and taking your time to sit and eat quietly also supports digestion on a more subtle level.

心急吃不得熱粥 : One cannot eat hot congee with an impatient heart

One of my favorite Chinese breakfast is Congee, or Porridge if you prefer. There is an infinite number of variations around it, whether you make it with rice or other grains, sweet or savory, cooked in water or bone broth. It is nourishing and easy to digest, making it a folk staple food when fighting sickness.


A great grain to strengthen the Spleen and Stomach (earth)

Nature/Taste: cool and sweet

Actions: stops vomiting, relieves diarrhea, consolidates or astringes the stomach and intestines, clears heat, promotes urination, soothes morning sickness

Squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin, delicata, etc...):

Nature/Taste: cool and sweet

Actions: dispels dampness, reduces fever, relieves pain, stabilizes hyperactive fetus, stops dysentery, benefits diabetes; the seeds kill worms and parasites

Goji Berries:

Nature/Taste: sweet, sour, neutral

Actions: nourishes blood and Yin, strengthens the Lungs, benefits Liver and Kidney, improves vision, stop cough

[Ni, Mao Shing. Tao of Nutrition]


  • Millet:1/2 cup

  • water, or bone broth, chicken broth, veggie broth: 8 cups

  • Squash (any type you like, pumpkin, butternut, kabocha etc...) : quantity is really up to you. It most likely will dissolve as it cooks

  • goji berries for topping

  • salt to taste

option one: Add millet, the peeled and diced squash and water into the instant pot, press the porridge option, and voila! Add the goji berries right before serving.

option two: cook the millet without the squash in it. Peel and dice the squash and steam it separately until the flesh feels soft as the millet cooks (cooking time depends on which squash you use). Add the cooked squash and goji berries into your porridge and eat warm.

If you do not have an instant pot, you can use this recipe.

This ratio of millet to water will give a creamy texture, not too thick nor too thin. I you prefer a more soupy congee, use 1/3 cup millet instead . For a thicker version, cook the porridge a bit longer until it thickens.

bon appétit !


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