This is a nutrient rich porridge, and a real boost for the blood, the liver yin, the kidney qi and the spleen qi. For the elderly, young children, or people recovering from a serious illness, a small bowl (about 1½ cups) of this can be eaten most days as a breakfast. Otherwise, for healthy adults, 1½ - 2 cups of porridge eaten once per week is enough to get the medicinal benefit.
You can also make this recipe as a dessert soup by adding more water - the taste is quite sweet, even with almost no sugar or other sweetener added. Eaten in this way, the portion is smaller, only about one cup.
150g dried kidney beans
50g peanuts (raw, or roasted without salt)
50g cashews (raw, or roasted without salt)
50g barley (uncooked)
1 teaspoons soft brown sugar
1.5 liters water
Soak the dried kidney beans. To do this, bring dry beans to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them soak for about 2-3 hours. Discard the soaking water. Alternatively, you can soak the beans in a pot full of cool water overnight at room temperature.
Rinse the nuts and barley before cooking.
Bring 1½ liters water to a boil. Add nuts, barley and pre-soaked kidney beans and bring back to a boil.
Lower heat, cover and continue to cook on a low boil for 30 minutes. Stir, lower the heat and cover, continuing to cook for at least another hour, or until the beans and barley are completely softened. You will need to check the porridge as it cooks and stir as needed.
Once the beans and barley are softened, mash the mixture a little in the pan, to meld all the flavors. Add the brown sugar, stir and cook on low for another 20 minutes. Serve warm.
If dried kidney beans are not available, you can use canned. In this case, you first cook the barley with the nuts, about 45 minutes, until the barley is soft. Then add the rinsed, canned beans. Canned beans do not require cooking, so add them to the barley and nut mixture, mash the ingredients, add the sugar, and then cook for 20 minutes. This is not as “Qi nutritious” as cooking with the dried beans, but it is still a nutritious meal.
If soft brown sugar is not available, you can substitute it with maple syrup, barley malt, or white sugar.
When making this recipe as a thinner, sweet dessert soup, add more water to reach your preferred consistency, and add a bit more of whatever sweetener you use.