Whenever I had a stomach virus and I couldn’t hold anything down, my mom would make me “Jook” – Rice Porridge or Congee.
What is rice porridge good for?
It’s not the hardest dish to cook since the name of the game is to “overcook” it. Not too many dishes I know require that sort of technique. It’s basically, boil the heck out of rice in a pot full of water until the texture becomes creamy and thick. And that’s it! Ok, so maybe it’s not as easy as that but that’s the general idea. Regardless, the soothing effect of sipping hot, creamy but bland liquid always did the trick. I’d drink the rice water, intermittently, until I’m able to chew the soft, overcooked, rice without ‘losing it’.
In fact, when my daughter caught the flu a few years ago, this was the only dish she was able to tolerate for a week. Then, we discovered, coincidentally, that her Eczema disappeared afterwards. By process of “accidental” elimination diet, we discovered that her Eczema was caused by food allergies! But that’s another story. You can read about it here and here.
You can certainly make plain white rice porridge but for variation, I add veggies to add flavor and texture for “non-infirmary” occasions. You can add any veggies you like but stay with non-bitter veggies so they don’t alter the taste of rice too much. I love to add spinach, broccoli florets, mushroom, zucchini, carrots, finely chopped onions, and green peas at the end. Some people add ground up pine nuts too.
Reduce arsenic in rice porridge?
Ironically, to reduce arsenic in rice, boiling rice in 1:6 ratio in water is highly recommended. Obviously, it’s not exactly called ‘rice’ when you add that much water because, essentially, you are making this dish – rice porridge. But least you are eating less arsenic eating it this way. My friend Anna at Green Talk would agree. Right Anna?
Anyway, one of my high school friends recently had a jaw surgery that required her to only drink fluids for over a month, and just started eating solids. And when I say, ‘solids’, I mean, soft foods. So I promised her I’d write this recipe for her. Hope you are feeling better Judy. I wish I can make this for you. I hope you can try to make this and get stronger soon!
TIP: Stir frequently with a flat edge spatula and scrape the bottom of the pot when stirring, getting every bits of the rice. Otherwise, you’ll end up with white glue-y rice mess.
Vegetable Jook – Rice Porridge or Congee for Judy
- 6 Cups of water
- 1 Cup of Med grain white rice
- 1 Cup chopped spinach or zuchinni
- 1 Cup diced Shitake mushroom or you can leave it out
- 1 clove garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 1 stick of carrots, diced
- 1/4 Tsp of sesame oil
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 1/4 Tsp of roasted sesame seeds
- Wash rice thoroughly. Place rice and water in a large heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and cook at a lively simmer, stirring frequently with a flat bottom spatula, until the rice has completely broken down and the mixture is creamy. If you need more water, add 1/4 cup of cold water at a time until you achieve the consistency you want.
- Stir to combine the rest of the ingredients except sesame seeds and scallions.
- Stir occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- When vegetables are soft, turn off the heat, add chopped scallions and cover and let it steam for another 10 minutes.
- Ladle porridge in a bowl and sprinkle sesame seeds on top and enjoy!