Fall

Chinese Breakfast Porridge (Jook)

February 11, 2010
Author Notes

After super bowl weekend, I was left with a tupperware tub full of spicy, ginger chicken wings, which eventually became a tupperware tub full of spicy, ginger chicken bones. When I looked at these sauced-up remains, I didn't see just a bundle of compost, but instead, the opportunity to cook one of my favorite comfort foods: Chinese Breakfast Porridge or Jook. The recipe is simple, but does take a good amount of your precious time.The key to really outstanding jook lies in a homemade chicken stock. While you can always use the prepared stuff if you are in a hurry, the extra minutes to make the broth yourself will be worth the trouble. As an added bonus, this recipe calls for a whole chicken - not just the bones - so you don't have to save your leftover wings in case the hankering for Chinese breakfast porridge strikes. Enough talking, let's get jooking! Sorry, couldn't help. —Sodium Girl

  • Serves 8
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 piece of ginger, peeled
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 6 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 small square of cheese cloth and some kitchen string
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Separate the white and green part of the scallions. Leave the white part whole and dice the remaining green ends.
  2. Take an inch of the ginger root and roughly chop into big chunks. Take another inch of ginger root and dice.
  3. Place the white ends of the scallion, the chopped ginger, the dried mushrooms, and a handful of cilantro in the cheesecloth and tie with cooking string to make a nice little, aromatic bundle.
  4. Wash the chicken, inside and out.
  5. Put the entire chicken, aromatic bundle, and water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Then, lower heat until water is just simmering and cover to cook for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken and aromatic bundle and place the rice in the pot. Keep water at a simmer, uncovered, for another 40 minutes. Stir frequently to make sure rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  7. With a knife or your hands (if you are down to get dirty), remove the chicken from the bone and slice into small, bite-sized strips.
  8. Remove the shitake mushrooms from the pouch and slice thinly as well. The rest of the aromatics can be discarded.
  9. Heat a nonstick pan with sesame oil and when spitting-hot, crisp up the diced ginger for a crunchy garnish.
  10. Jook is done when it has a thick texture and the rice is plump. Take off heat and stir in the chicken and mushrooms.
  11. To serve, top with diced scallions, cilantro, and fried ginger. Other traditional garnishes include a dash of chili oil, firm tofu cubes, chestnuts, or bean curd (which is boiled separately for 5 minutes and then added at the end). You can make a different Jook every time you eat it.
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In January of 2004, I received a diagnosis that changed my life. I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that in my case attacked my kidneys and brain. Due to the intensity of the initial “flare up” of the disease, I became renal insufficient and eventually faced kidney failure. Amazingly, through great medicine, wonderful family and friends, and an enormous amount of support, I became stronger and healthier and miraculously, my kidneys partially regenerated. I no longer depend on dialysis and by regulating my diet, I depend on fewer medications. Five years later, I work part time and live a full and utterly enjoyable life. My dietary restrictions have transformed into a real passion for food and I hope to be able to pass along my favorite finds to others facing similar dietary challenges. Be creative, be friendly, and be full!