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Congee - Jook, Xi Fan, Juk - rice porridge

No matter what you call it, congee is a delicious porridge made of rice and a liquid. In most Asian families, I'm pretty sure this is a baby's first taste of solid food. It can be plain, simply cooked in water, or savory, cooked in broth giving it not only additional flavor but also a wonderful mouthfeel. My favorite? Always comes back to how grandma made it...cooked in a broth made from a combination of pork and chicken bones.


When I met my husband and made jook for him, I remember him giving me a "look". He's had it growing up but his association with jook was a food eaten when sick. Understandable, it's easy to digest and on its own nothing really to chew. But my association with jook is my grandma and Sunday lunches. In Chinatown you could buy so many variations with fish, seafood, peanuts, pork, beef, chicken. At home I cook it in broth and put toppings on the side so everyone could add their own extra flavor.

Some toppings include "thousand year old eggs", salted duck eggs, ginger, scallions, dried pork floss, preserved vegetables, white pepper. Each adds a different texture and flavor.

Congee - Rice Porridge


Ingredients (serves 4)

Congee

1 cup uncooked rice, washed and drained (or 2 cups cooked rice) *see note at bottom

7 cups broth of your choice

1 teaspoon grated ginger

salt to taste


Optional

1/4 cup sliced pork tenderloin or leftover chicken breast, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons green onions, finely chopped

1 thousand year old egg, sliced into 8 wedges

1 salted duck egg, sliced into 8 wedges or roughly chopped

1/4 cup dried pork floss


In a large saucepan combine the rice and broth. Bring up to a boil over medium high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours. You can make this in a pressure cooker as well. Bring up to pressure and cook for 40-45 minutes. Let pressure come down naturally. Add salt to taste and more broth if you like it thinner.


If you want to add some meat, add thinly sliced leftover meat at the end just before service to warm through. We like adding leftover meat like grilled pork tenderloin or chicken from leftover roasted chicken or Hainanese chicken.


Serve hot with your favorite toppings. We like ours with oyster sauce and white pepper at the minimum. If you want to go all out try adding thousand year old egg and salted duck egg. Enjoy!



Congee can be made in so many variations using different kinds of broth. It can have few or many ingredients. Use a mushroom and ginger broth if you are vegetarian or cook it with slices of pumpkin for a slightly sweeter variation. Yum! It can be eaten any time of the day. I like it for breakfast on a cold day and I like making mine with leftover rice and broth. Perfect on cold mornings.


* Just a note about what type of rice to use. You can really use any rice. I grew up eating jook made with jasmine or long grain rice but when I got married I started making medium/short grain rice which is what Koreans and Japanese mainly use so that's what I have at home. I actually prefer it with the short or medium grain rice and when my parents come over and I make them jook they always declare the same thing "waaah...gum wat!" meaning "wow, so smooth!" I think short or medium grain rice gives the jook a smoother and creamier texture with more body but jasmine gives it an unmatched aroma. My advice, experiment and use what you have.


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Anita Wang
Anita Wang
Nov 24, 2021

I feel like we've hit the jackpot with this one - so easy and insanely delicious. The family is already begging me to make another batch soon. I agree that the white pepper and oyster sauce totally brings it to another level. We also had it with the thousand year egg and the combo is unbeatable!

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