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In China, it is common to see vendors sell yóutiáo (油条, deep-fried twisted dough sticks), dòujiāng (豆浆, hot soybean milk) in a plastic cup, xiàn bǐng (馅饼, buns with different fillings), or jīdàn guàn bǐng (鸡蛋灌饼, naan-like bread, grilled and stuffed with egg, lettuce, and/or or ham (火腿, huǒtuǐ). in many streets of Beijing. Many office workers eat these street snacks on the go, while rushing to work. Recently in the news, many hidden safety problems have surfaced such as vendors using bad quality oil, toxins released in plastic when heated, and sanitary practices. Given the issues around food safety, why shouldn’t we wake up a little earlier to make breakfast for ourselves?
My husband and I are a young couple living in Beijing. We usually eat refined white rice for lunch and dinner. We cook a medley of coarse grains in a zhōu (congee, 粥) to balance our diet. It’s really easy! Prepare some of the ingredients a day in advance. The next morning, get up early to allow the zhōu to cook for one hour prior to eating!
Healthy Chinese breakfast recipe
- ¼ cup black rice (hēi mǐ, 黑米), pre-soaked for 24 hours
- ¼ cup pearl barley (yìmǐ, 薏米), pre-soaked for 12 hours
- ¼ cup black beans (hēidòu, 黑豆), pre-soaked for 12 hours
- ¼ cup medium grain white rice (米饭), washed
- ¼ cup black sesame (hēi zhīma, 黑芝麻)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (hóng táng, 红糖), to taste
- 6 cups water
- Combine all the ingredients in a high-pressured cooker with 6 cups of water. Boil for one hour. Add brown sugar to taste. Serve while hot.
If you feel weak or tired lately, do not hesitate to try this recipe! Make sure to include it in your diet for at least one month! According to Chinese herbal medicine, most of the ingredients above are nutritious and used for health purposes.
Black beans have a lot of protein, amino acids, and trace elements which are indispensible for the human body. Eating black beans daily promotes solid constitution. In ancient times, the well to do consumed refined foods while poor people had nothing to eat but black beans in China. People usually used black beans to feed animals and found the animals were much stronger and had tougher immune systems. Recently, doctors have found great nutritional value in beans. So, keep eating your beans; they’re good for you!
Note — These grains are not easy to cook and need to be pre-soaked. They are also not easy to digest. Do not eat too much every day, or it will be not good for your stomach. A handful is enough.
Brown sugar is what almost every Chinese woman eats during her period. It is extracted from sugar cane. Chinese herbal medicine believes it can replenish blood, warm the stomach, relieve pain and activate blood circulation to dissipate blood stasis.