Jook, also known as rice porridge or congee is my idea of comfort food. It reminds me of Mom, home-cooking and all things good. For other people, it’s mac ‘n cheese, chicken noodle soup, buttery mashed potatoes or fill-in-the-blank.
It’s purportedly good for whatever ails you. Got digestive problems? Eat jook. Feeling under the weather? Have some jook. Have a hangover? Here’s a bowl of jook. Fortunately, I’m not dealing with any of those issues at the moment, I just like to eat jook for jook’s sake.
I make mine home-style with all sorts of goodies to flavor the jook while it’s cooking. It’s endlessly adaptable – add whatever ingredients you like, leave out the ones you don’t. My Mom likes a variety of ingredients in her jook, one of which is gingko nuts. I don’t like gingko nuts. I will actually pick them out of my bowl. Mom carries on that they’re expensive, I generously offered mine to her but she didn’t want them. Sorry Mom.
Restaurant-style jook is cooked plain and then topped with your choice of various condiments and garnishes. Sometimes I like to top mine with French’s French Fried Onions for a nice crunchy texture.
I learned to make jook in a large pot, nowadays, I use a fuzzy logic rice cooker with a porridge setting. It makes it super easy. I don’t have to monitor the rice cooker like I would with the pot and it’s a breeze to clean up.
Makes about 5 1/2 cups
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
4 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked until soft, then chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons Tianjin preserved vegetable, rinsed
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 ounces baked tofu, chopped
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 green onions chopped
Cooking directions is for use with a rice cooker with a 5.5 cups capacity. Using the inner pot of the rice cooker, rinse the rice well in several changes of water until the water is clear. Add water to the marked level on the pot according to the rice cooker’s directions.
Add the chopped mushrooms, preserved vegetable, and ginger. Select the porridge setting to begin cooking. The rice cooker will do its thing while you relax. Occasionally, give the pot a stir. After about an hour and a half the rice cooker will beep that it’s done.
Add the tofu, sesame oil, and vinegar to the rice cooker. Press the reheat button to cook another 5 minutes, it’ll beep again when time is up. Ladle into bowls and garnish with green onions. Drizzle with soy sauce to taste.