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Porridge/Jook/Congee: Cooking Tips?

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I love it.
It must be easy, no?
Just rice and water.
I'm assuming a generic short grain, simmer it, stirring periodically until it breaks down sufficiently.
Then I'd add to the bowl soy sauce, sesame oil, thin sliced green onions.
If you can add anything, I'd really appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks.

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  1. It doesn't have to be short-grain rice. Here is a restaurant tip, use cooked or left-over rice from Chinese take-out. Food process the rice in a food processor with water. DO NOT use this method on raw rice. Dump the blended rice and water into your pot. Add more water to it and cook it for 20 min. This will save you hours and hours of boiling rice until it becomes congee. Also to make it think try putting a pinch of baking soda. This will thicken the congee a lot faster.

    5 Replies
      1. re: Homecookin'

        I have reread you method many times and I am interested in this way of cooking jook. Where is this style from.

        Do you get to see the grain of rice. The jook was good in it was creamy and you can still to the grains of rice.

        1. re: yimster

          Saw this at a dim sum restaurant while I was waitinng for take-out. So, I asked the owner and he told me this way is faster and the chefs don't have to come in early. They just use left-over rice from the night before. Food process the rice with water by pausing it couple of times. Some batches are processed longer so you have variations of the rice grains.

          This works great with long grain or short grain rice. The best jook are ofcourse cooked for hours with short grain rice mixed with a little bit of sweet rice.

          1. re: Homecookin'

            Thanks for the information. I will have to try that. I have never made jook with cooked rice before. I was trained that the best jook is made from raw rice and/or raw rice products.

        2. re: Homecookin'

          I've heard about the baking soda treatment but I didn't know it would make the jook thicker. Thanks for the tip. I do a slight variation to your shortcut. I put leftover rice in either water or stock, bring to a boil, then strong simmer for about 1/2 hour. At this point put in the hand blender wand and pulverize the softened rice. Adjust for thickness of jook and simmer for another 15 minutes to 1/2 hour and I get pretty good jook base, even thought nothing can beat long simmered jook.

          I just put a zip lock bag of leftover rice in enough water to cover with a pinch of salt in the freezer. This is a first time experiment. I got to thinking that water expands when frozen so ,to my thinking, maybe the water logged cooked rice would disintegrate much faster when I use it to make jook next time. Got my fingers crossed.

          Happy Eating. Margret

        3. There are so many verison of congee/jook as there are cooks. Here is the pot we made today. I have been getting over a cold so I have been limited in what I was cooking but want some jook for dinner tonight Sampan style.

          Yesterday I picked up half a pound of each

          Lobster balls (Thailand)
          Squid curls (Taiwan)
          Med raw shrimp
          basa fish fillet
          Had half a package of dried soup fish (pollock)
          boston butt (pork) lightly salted over night.

          I washed two rice cooker cups of broken rice in a pot.
          Then I opened two cans of low salt chicken broth and added to the pot and add two quarts of water with two inches of peeled ginger to the pot. Also added the pork and dried fish to the pot. After the water boils I reduce the heat to a low simmer and went to watch some sports on TV.

          Two hours later I return and turn off the heat. Allow to cold and divide the jook into to pots. One with the pork and the other with dried fish which I cut into small pieces.

          The one with the pork I added two quarter perserved duck eggs and return to a simmer. Tomorrow perserved egg and pork jook.

          Then with the other pot of jook I add the seafood and return to a quick, along with some fried bread and dinner is on the table. My only mistake was I did not have any dry roasted peanut.

          4 Replies
          1. re: yimster

            Yimster-san,

            Where do you live? I am coming to raid your refrigerator! Much more complex than the simple Japanese okayu. Yours sound much more satisfying.

            1. re: Yukari

              We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the exact address is a well kept serect. I will have nothing left for me to eat :>).

              It is normal for us to make a pot of basic jook and store in the refrigerator in two serving plastic covered container for a up to week. Then I will pick up ingredients to make the jook I want that day.

              All you need to just prepare the ingredients and add boiling jook.

              I fear I cook from strach unless I am preesed for time. I am going to make a big pot of jook from strach soon and will post our recipe. With that said I have been told that I will cook with I have on hand. "It is good but how come it never exactly the same". This was a quick one with help from cans.

              Forgot the I had to cut the fish into strips and lightly coated it with strips of raw ginger, sesame oil, seasoned soy sauce and vegetable oil to add favor to the fish.

            2. re: yimster

              I'm confused. Did you cook the pork and fish together with the jook and then divide it after it was cooked into two pots?

              1. re: Ellen

                The pork was added at the start of the cooking process. I was to drain all the flavor of the meat into the jook. The pork was pulled apart by hand for my perserved egg and pork jook. I normally like to make on pot and have a few meals.

                The raw fish mixture is added at the very end, just before serving. I cut the fish into slices season lightly with soy sauce, ginger matchsticks (cut a little bigger so that if you not like them you can pick them out), sesame oil and a little salt.

                After I remove saucepan full of jook from the main stock pot I heat to boil in the case of sampan jook I add lobster balls and squid curls return to a boil. Then I add the shrimp and maybe 30 seconds later I add the fish and remove from the heat. In this manner everything is just cooked. The raw fish does not need a lot of heat to cook it just right. This will need pactice to get it just right. Then I add soy, sesame oil, fried bread and green onion to taste.

                I just finish writing my stock recipe for basic jook and will post at the end of the week, I am proof reading it now.

            3. Thanks for all your kind suggestions.
              I was up early and made the Jook for breakfast.
              I cooked short grain rice in water with sliced ginger.
              When done I mixed in Better Than Bullion turkey base. To each bowl I added sliced scallion, soy sauce and sesame oil.
              Your advice made me include the broth base (no turkey carcass on hand) and the ginger. I can see now these are indispensable.
              Your rice specifications will be tried in future. I had short grain white (not arborio, it's Chinese)
              and the texture was fine.
              What a fine way to start the day!

              1. A quick tip: soak the rice in water the night before and the jook will cook much quicker.
                Something my grandma used to always have with a nice, simple bowl of jook: dry roasted peanut with a little soy sauce. That really brings back memories....

                1 Reply
                1. re: anna

                  Great tip. Thanks.
                  The best food memories are those that involve Grandma,
                  aren't they? I'll have to try the peanuts...
                  My Grandma was a perfectionist, but her cooking was very down to earth, no Jook though, Jewish.
                  No rice in the soup, just matzoh ball.

                2. I just got back from Guangzhou, and there are so many versions, the locals call it zoe, that is probably not how it is spelled. I have had it with bits of fish in it, peanuts, chicken, pork, Chinese doughnut, and I have had a simple bowl of rice, and water, that you add things to. There was one place that must have used chicken stock instead of water or in addition, it was heaven, with bits of chicken, and mushrooms, like chicken soup that sticks to your ribs. I have seen it where it was totally smooth, with no rice texture, or with half grains. The idea of using cooked rice is great. My suggestion, start with the canvas of rice and water, or broth, and create your own masterpiece. small bits of lettuce, or greens goes well also, I had it with cilantro, was great. My wife is from Guangzhou, and that is her fave dish, so we eat a lot of it when we are there especially.