When mums are asked what kinds of food they always wean a baby with \u2500 porridge would invariably be the answer. We Asians or Malaysians if you will, have a deep and enduring relationship with rice since\u2026well, since the beginning of our culture you could say. It stands to reason. Rice is our staple diet and from rice, we get porridge if we add a little bit more water and we boil a little longer. Porridge is simple to cook and easy to digest \u2500 more so for baby\u2019s immature digestive system and it is least likely to cause an allergic reaction or a stomach upset when given as a first food. In fact, in Malaysia, porridge is highly recommended as the \u201copening\u201d weaning food for baby. Mashed finely, and mixed with formula or breastmilk, porridge makes the perfect introductory solid food for baby. Porridge is nourishment for the body and soul, says ancient Chinese Medicine. (Image Credit: Whattocooktoday) Porridge is an Age-Old Health Food Don\u2019t think that porridge is just starch and water. It contains energy, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, thiamin, pantothenic acid, folate and\u00a0Vitamin\u00a0E as it is made out of rice. Porridge is also known as congee although the more widely used and understood term here in Malaysia is porridge. According to the historical record of China, it was Shih Huang Ti or the Yellow Emperor who first \u201cdiscovered\u201d porridge between 2697 and 2597. \u00a0He simply added more water when cooking rice and voila! He made porridge. No kidding here. This is serious stuff. It is so serious that porridge was once regarded as medicinal. The porridge\u2019s reputation for healing goes way back to Chinese medicine doctor Chun Yuyi (205\u2013150 BC) who treated the emperor of Qi\u2019s (314-338) disease with congee. The highly digestible gruel was officially recorded as medicine by Zhang Zhongjing before 219 in \u201cTreatise on Cold Damage Disorders,\u201d the first book ever to cover Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. TCM says porridge is \u201cmedicinal\u201d because: It warms up the digestive system, especially the spleen and stomach. These two organs must function well in order to aid the absorption of nutrients from our food. It is the best food to eat first thing in the morning because of its ability to enhance energy circulation. (Now you know why you used to see grandpa and great grandpa and ma eat porridge religiously every morning back in the old days). \tIt detoxifies the body by helping it sweat. Porridge is good for blood circulation. \tIt improves sleep quality. \tIt is a reliable nourishment for the sick and frail. \tIt is very low in calories \u2500 one cup is only 150 calories. \tAnd finally, it allows mums to get creative with all sorts of ingredients to make a wholesome meal for their little ones. So, here they are: Six porridge recipes that are packed with goodness in every spoonful \u2500 all created by loving mums who want only the best to go into their little ones\u2019 tummies: Basic Baby Porridge in Malaysia Mums can be creative and replace the sweet potato with regular potato in this simple, versatile porridge. Then add carrots, pumpkin, Japanese pumpkin, or butternut squash. (Image Credit: Rasa Malaysia, Pinterest) The creator of this porridge is Bee of Rasa Malaysia. She says she has been feeding her baby porridge since he was five months old, after starting him off on sweet potato puree. Her baby has been eating porridge everyday, twice daily and he just loves it. He can finish 1 cup to 1.5 cups of porridge at every meal. Do take note that some babies develop allergic reactions to egg whites so please consult your doctor as to when and if you can introduce eggs to your baby.\u00a0 The pureed version of the Pumpkin Porridge. As Bee\u2019s baby did not like formula milk so Bee was told to add an egg yolk to the porridge after he was six months old. (Image Credit: Rasa Malaysia, Pinterest) Ingredients \t1\/4\u00a0cup\u00a0rice \t3\u00a0cups\u00a0water \t3-4\u00a0oz\u00a0sweet potato, cut into small pieces \t1\u00a0egg yolk, (optional) Instructions Put the rice into a small pot and rinse with cold water a few times. Discard the cloudy water and add 3 cups of filtered water into the rice. Add the sweet potatoes and bring it to medium heat. Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for 45 minutes or until the rice has broken down completely. If using egg yolk, lightly beat the egg yolk and add to the porridge. Stir a few times, and let cook for about 1-2 minutes. Before serving, use a blender or stick blender to puree the porridge. Serve it cool to avoid burning your baby. No-Fuss Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Porridge Suitable for eight months onwards, this is No Fuss porridge for busy mums. It is soft and mushy and just right for little palates. You can change the ingredients and mix and match. (Image Credit: food4littleones) This blogger of food4littleones is a full time working mom with two little ones. She has no time to wait for porridge to boil so she has come up with an ingenious way to save time \u2500 she uses a slow cooker to slowly cook the porridge overnight. When she wakes up in the morning \u2500 the porridge is cooked. Ingredients \t1 palmful or 1\/4 cup of rice (adjust according to your baby's eating portion) \t3 rice bowls of hot water \t1 cup vegetables, cut into big wedges (refer below for possible choices of vegetables) Instructions \tSoak the rice in water for 20 minutes so it's softened. Put the rice into the slow cooker, fill with three bowls of hot water. Add the cut vegetables, make sure they are covered with water. \tSet temperature to "High" and let it cook for 30 minutes. \tTurn to "Low"\u00a0temperature, let porridge cook overnight for about 6 hours \tA soft and mushy porridge will be waiting for you the next morning. Just lightly crush the vegetables with the back of the ladle. As for vegetables, you can mix and match the following. Remember to apply the three-day rule when introducing a new food. These ingredients have all been tried and tested by her baby prior to the making of the recipe. All portions are to be roughly chopped unless mentioned otherwise: \tPumpkin\/butternut \tBroccoli stem (finely chopped) \tSweet Potatoes \tCarrots \tPotatoes \tSweet Peas (finely chopped) \tAsparagus stems (peeled and finely chopped) \tOnion (finely chopped) \tGreen or Red Cabbage (finely chopped) \tCelery (peeled and finely chopped) - use sparingly \tLong beans (finely chopped) \tTofu (bean curd), finely chopped Deluxe Baby Porridge This is Deluxe Baby Porridge, cooked with a variety of ingredients and blended. (Image Credit: Rasa Malaysia, Pinterest) This is Bee of Rasa Malaysia\u2019s creation again. She says her baby has been eating this Deluxe Baby Porridge from the seventh month onwards for six months straight until he was 13 months old and over. This porridge has many nutritious ingredients: \u00a0protein (you can use chicken, ground pork, fish, or beef), dried scallop, silver fish or baby ikan bilis which is loaded with calcium, potato (sweet potato or regular Russet potato), squash such as pumpkin, cabocha, or butternut squash), and lots of Vitamin C via tomatoes, broccoli florets, green beans, carrots), and onion. Onion is used as it has many medicinal benefits and stimulates good appetite. This recipe is very versatile because you can change the combinations from the proposed ones above. Please take note that the dried scallops should be removed after cooking and before blending. It is hard for baby to swallow. Do not feed your baby the ingredients above until you have introduced them one by one over the months and you are sure your baby has no allergic reaction to them. The ingredients used for Deluxe Baby Porridge. You can mix and match your own ingredients. (Image Credit: Rasa Malaysia, Pinterest) Ingredients \t1\/4\u00a0cup\u00a0rice \t3\u00a0cups\u00a0water \t3\u00a0oz\u00a0protein, chicken, fish, pork, or beef \t1\u00a0oz\u00a0sweet potato, orange-color, cut into small pieces \t1\u00a0oz\u00a0pumpkin or kabocha, cut into small pieces \t1-2\u00a0dried scallops, removed after cooked \t1\u00a0tablespoon\u00a0dried silver fish, rinsed \t1\u00a0spring onion, cut into small pieces \t3-4\u00a0broccoli florets or 3 wedges tomato \t1\u00a0egg yolk Instructions Put the rice into a small pot and rinse with cold water a few times. Discard the cloudy water and add three cups of filtered water into the rice. Add all the ingredients into the pot and bring it to bowl on medium heat. Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for 45 minutes or until the rice breaks down completely. If using egg yolk, lightly beat the egg yolk and add to the porridge. Stir a few times, and let cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Before serving, remove the dried scallops (you can eat them) before using a blender to puree the porridge. Serve it cool to avoid burning your baby. Purple, Red and Green Porridge in Malaysia The purple porridge gets its colour from purple carrots, the red from beetroot and the green from spinach. (Image Credit: submerryn.com) Purple, Red and Green Porridge are separate porridges made by a stay-at-home blogger with two sons who runs the Submerryn blog. The porridge-making method is the same as all the others but she uses a special rice\/porridge cooker to make the porridges, dumping all required ingredients into the pot to cook together. She gets them all cooked within two hours. When done, she mashes the ingredients with the back of a ladle. She made these porridges for her son when he was less than a year old. Purple carrots, available in Malaysia at certain supermarkets like Jaya Grocer or Cold Storage (Image Credit: submerryn.com) Beetroot is a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Spinach is a great source of iron. Remember Pop Eye the Sailor Man? Don\u2019t use the whole bowl though, just two leaves are enough for baby.