by Judy Kim
Jook / Congee
Yield: 4-6 servings
When I was a little girl, my Mom would make this for me when I wasn't feeling well. Imagine a large pot simmering gently on the stove, the white rice creates a subtle fragrance that perfumes the air. The rice breaks down and creates this beautiful glossy sheen. Surprisingly even after the rice turns into a porridge, it still maintains a texture and even lends a slightly nutty flavor. For extra flavor, my Mom would often cook leftover rice in a dry non stick pan. It would create a toasted pancake of dehydrated rice. You can store it in a container and then use it to make Jook at anytime. The toasted rice gives it an incredible flavor. It takes extra effort, but trust me, it's worth it.
In Korean culture, Jook is often served as breakfast or when one is sick. In either case, it is ideal as it is very easy to digest. It's very similar to Congee. Living in the Chinatown area, there are loads of places to get delicious take away Congee often that comes in 4 or 5 varieties. In my opinion, Congee tends to be richer and more flavorful than traditional Jook. In most cases, Jook is made with just rice and water, but Congee has many aromatics and made with different kind of meats. This is my version that is a simple cross between the two. There is simply no wrong way to make this. In fact, while writing this recipe, it almost resulted in one over simplified sentence: Soak rice and cook with boat loads of water and simmer forever. But I came to my senses.
2 cups cooked white rice (or 1 cup uncooked short-grain white rice, well rinsed)
3 cups Progresso cooking stock, no sodium chicken stock (or 6 cups stock if making with uncooked rice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into 4 thin strips
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
In a large heavy pot, combine cooked rice, stock, 2 cups of water and salt. Wrap ginger and garlic in a cheese cloth and tie with butchers twine and add to the pot.
Bring pot to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes up to 1 hour. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. If you have more time, I would suggest to cook this for as long as you can. If the porridge is too thick, add additional water while it's simmering.
Remove ginger and garlic pouch. Serve immediately.
Suggested optional garnishes: chopped scallions, kimchi, shredded chicken or beef.
*If you do not have leftover cooked rice, use the same directions, but simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it has a porridge like consistency. Most likely it will require an additional 1 to 2 cups of water.
recipe modified 2.6.16