And all this time, you’ve been wondering when I would get back to talking about food and cooking.
(I haven’t forgotten what inspired me to blog, but I have to admit I’m confused about the direction of my writing myself so an extra thank you to those of you who’ve kept reading despite the many topic changes over the last months.)
One of the first dishes, I decided to prepare was jook (Congee in Chinese, Jook in Korean). I’d had it before at the fabulous Bay Leaf Cafe in SLC as a Chinese dish, but I figured Korea was close enough to get all the appropriate ingredients. I had also failed horribly to make my own rice porridge. Next I found a recipe, I made a few adjustments to better suit the ingredients I had on hand. Then I went to work to create the lovely comfort dish I was looking for.
4 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup rice
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 lb-ish of chicken (Korean style–so bones, skin and all)
1 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon green onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
Put the 1/2 cup rice, 4 1/2 cups water, teaspoon salt, chicken, teaspoon fresh ginger and bay leaf in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Now that the water is boiling, turn down the heat to low and cover. I find it works best to leave the lid half on, half off. Let the rice cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You should stir the pot every 15 minutes or so. Trust me, it will come out better with a little bit of stirring.
Put the remaining ginger in a small serving bowl. Chop the onion and place in a small serving bowl. (To be fair, I used traditional tea cups as my serving-ware.) Then wait…go ahead and watch a movie. That’s what I do. No, seriously, keep waiting.
So it’s been an hour and a half, right? How does it look? The rice should be a thick, creamy consistency almost like risotto. Remove the jook from heat. Take out the ginger, bay leaf and chicken. On a clean cutting board remove the chicken from the bone, then stir the chicken back in the jook. (If you don’t mind removing the chicken from the bone as you eat, you can skip this step.)
Serve yourself a heaping spoonful of jook. Add ginger, onion and soy sauce to taste, stir together and enjoy.
The jook came out warm and comforting. It’s easy to see why this is a favorite winter breakfast dish in at least two Asian cultures. Since my first successful attempt to make jook, I’ve had it a few more times. It makes decent leftovers and is easy to modify to fit the ingredients available. Mmm…mmm…comfort!