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April 7, 2020

Recipe: A simple, immune-boosting meal you can make three ways

Sarah Kibble of Croydon's Honest Earth shows you how to shop for the traditional Chinese meal, congee, in the Adelaide Central Markets.

  • Recipe: Sarah Kibble
  • Photos: Honest Earth
  • Preface: Josh Fanning


The Adelaide Central Market has bedded down and begun to get comfortable with the new social and physical distancing requirements our government and health departments have put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

This week saw the hallowed red brick building launch numerous innovative ways for you to engage with its traders, without ever having to come face-to-face with them in the public realm.

But while the modern world deals with the age-old problem of epidemic-causing viruses, we got in touch with Sarah Kibble who owns and operates Croydon’s small-scale edible and ornamental garden business, Honest Earth to find out about the age-old remedies that exist for building better immunity through the food you put in your belly.

Watch our shopping adventure with Sarah over on our Instagram ‘Story’ now and learn where to buy all the wonderful products you need for the uber-nutritious congee meals Sarah prepares below.


DISCLAIMER: Recipe is from Sarah Kibble of Honest Earth. Information provided is not intended as professional or medical advice.


The congee dish is super easy to prepare, is incredibly versatile, and great for the calorie and budget conscious. It is the perfect winter nourishment and easy to digest.

Congees are a rock-steady meal in Asian cultures that can be eaten for breakfast (most popular), lunch or dinner. Eating a warm breakfast in the cooler months is said to maintain health and wellbeing. And if you’re a K Drama fan you’ve probably seen someone make jook (Korean porridge) when they’re under the weather… now we all know what it is 😊

Congee is a versatile dish built off a ‘base’ and turned into either a savoury or sweet meal. Congee stores well in the fridge and is a great way to feed a family well and affordably.


(This base recipe can be used for savoury or sweet)


The plain base will look like this. You can make it savoury or sweet from here!



– Nourishing and regulating
– Harmonises digestion
– Short grain is better but it doesn’t matter too much and white or brown rice can be used (brown will take longer)
– Rice is calorie dense and a congee is a great way to get the ‘rice rewards’ with less quantity needed. One cup of rice for this recipe has approximately 6—8 serves! Perfect for rice rations.
– When we’re stuck inside more than usual… adjusting what we eat and how much we sit is really important.

Warming and strengthening for the digestion and boosts circulation. Said to benefit the immune system.


  • 1 cup rice : 9 cups of water (stock of choice can be used in place of water if just wanting savoury)
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated or chopped


  • Rinse rice well (save water for plants or other recycling).
  • Using a thick base pot (5L should be fine for this quantity), add rice, ginger and water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1—2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The mixture will resemble more a watery porridge consistency than the usual cooked rice. If it’s too thick, add more water.

This can be stored in the fridge for two days and reheated as needed in a smaller pan. Add some more water when reheating as it will thicken in the fridge once cooled.

Generally, 1—1.5 cups is enough per person, as other side dishes are added for a complete meal. (You can make any quantity, just follow the ratio of 1:9)


(To use as a side dish to add to base congee)

Ingredients bought from Adelaide Central Market


  • Kale/Spinach/Chard
  • Spring Onions (0.5-1 per person)
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Carrot
  • Coriander
  • Garlic (1 clove per person)
  • Sesame Seeds (.5—1tsp per person)
  • Coconut Oil for cooking
  • Sauce (see sauce recipe)


  • Quantity? No hard or fast rules, just get some veg, garlic and onion into your body.
  • Stir fry all ingredients except sauce (you may want coriander raw or cooked, either is fine). Add a little water to keep the veggies moist (avoid dry frying).
  • Add cooked veggies to warm congee base.
  • Drizzle sauce over top.
  • Eat all that goodness!

Savoury congee end result


(can be used for breakfast or dessert side dish added to congee)

Sweet congee ingredients bought from Adelaide Central Markets


  • Goji Berries (4—5 per person is plenty)
  • Dried Apricots (1—2 per person is plenty)
  • Walnuts (3—5 per person is plenty)
  • Sesame Seeds (1 tsp per person is plenty)
  • Raw Honey (1 tsp per person is plenty)
  • Ginger Powder (1/3 tsp per person)
  • Nutmeg Powder (1/3 tsp per person)
  • Cinnamon Powder (1/2 tsp per person)


  • Chop nuts, seeds and fruit to desired sizes.
  • Add all ingredients to warm bowl of congee.

*avoid cold breakfasts and desserts in winter/cooler months

Sweet congee


(To use as a side dish to add to base congee)

Three ingredient dinner? Yes please.


  • 1—2 Eggs
  • Sesame Oil (or peanut oil, coconut oil, butter, olive oil) approximately 1tsp for cooking
  • Kimchi 1tbsp
  • Fresh Coriander to taste
  • Sauce


  • Cook egg however you like. Scramble, boil, omelette, fry, poach.
  • Add egg and kimchi to warm bowl of congee. Fresh coriander and Sauce to finish.

*try not to heat kimchi to maintain the beneficial bacteria.

Kimchi is loaded with not just prebiotics from the fermentation process but garlic, ginger and onion! Kimchi Club is SA owned and made, vegan, organic and free from preservatives and MSG. (They also have a chilli-free and beetroot kimchi if you want a bit of a change from the standard kimchi.)


General notes on Miso and Soy
Miso: Go organic for  fewer preservatives. Avoid high heat to retain the beneficial bacteria for gut health – add it in just before serving. Avoid freeze dried/granulated/powders as this processing can destroy the beneficial bacteria in miso.

Soy sauce, go non-GMO and if possible organic. Naturally fermented is a win also for bioavailability. Check ingredient labels for preservatives and high-fructose syrups etcetera.

Easy dinner, done.



  • 5 tbs. Shoyu (or Soy, Tamari etc)
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger
  • .5 tsp Chilli (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp Miso Paste


  • Mix it all up well. Keep any leftover in the fridge. Use on food once it is eating temperature, avoid adding to the cooking process.

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