Shanyao (山藥) is eaten in many East Asian cuisines, such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese. While it is popularly used in its dried form for traditional herbal medicine, fresh shanyao is great as a soup ingredient and can be readily found in local Asian supermarkets. This tuber has a thin yellowish outer skin over its crispy white flesh. Shanyao is rich in starch and protein, especially dioscorin, which is linked to many potential health benefits, one of which is related to aiding digestion and regulating blood sugar levels. This recipe is calls for a simple list of ingredients; and, the congee has a natural, sweet taste.
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
1 cup brown rice
1 piece of fresh shanyao (approx. 4 oz.)
8 pieces of dried longan
1 oz. dried barley
salt to taste
1) Wash, peel, and cut fresh shanyao into chunks. Set aside.
2) Bring water to boil in a pot. Then, add brown rice, barley, and dried longan.
3) Cook until rice has reached the consistency of a porridge, about 35 minutes.
4) Add shanyao chunks and cook for another 3 minutes.
5) Season with salt to taste and serve immediately.
Fresh shanyao has a slippery texture once it’s peeled so be careful when slicing it. Wear a pair of kitchen gloves to secure a firm grip while cutting.