Make Ahead

Boosted Jook

January 13, 2015
10 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Jook, a Chinese rice soup also known as congee, is one of the first foods I turn to when I feel my immune system could use a little boost. Simmered with fresh ginger, which adds flavor and curative properties, this jook can take on a range of textures, from very broth-y to quite thick; you can control the amount of water you add to get the consistency you like.. I like mine on the thicker side, like oatmeal, but kind of soupy.

The range of toppings is up to you, too. My classic trio is soy sauce, white pepper, and green onions, but I also like to use fresh cilantro and maybe some fresh spinach, too. Pretty much anything in your kitchen is a candidate to be a jook topping: eggs, meat, vegetables, herbs, spices.

I don't just limit my consumption of jook to when I'm under the weather -- it's one of my favorite things to have for breakfast. —vvvanessa

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Vvvanessa is the author of the food blog Hungreem.
WHAT: A gingery Chinese rice soup you can make your own.
HOW: Cook white rice with ginger, chicken or pork bones, and salt for 90 minutes, until the rice is nearly falling apart. Remove the mixture from the flame, take out the bones, then serve with your favorite toppings. Choose from soy sauce, chile, green onions, herbs, Chinese sausage, or additional spices.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This jook is impossible not to love, since it can be easily altered to personal taste -- it's the ideal vehicle for your favorite vegetables, proteins, and condiments. Choose your own adventure and alter the consistency and toppings -- or let the gingery goodness speak for itself, and enjoy it plain. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice, long or short grain (basmati or jasmine will work fine, as well)
  • 1/2 pound raw pork or chicken bones (optional)
  • 1 nub peeled ginger, about the size of a wine cork
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 cups water, plus more as needed
  • Optional garnishes: soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil, chile oil or chile sauce like Sriracha, green onions, cilantro, thinly sliced carrots or ginger, minced Chinese sausage (lop chong), ground white pepper, fresh chopped spinach, tofu
  1. Place all ingredients (except the optional garnishes) into a large pot with at least a 4-quart capacity. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Let cook uncovered for 60 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary.
  2. The jook is ready when the rice is cooked to the point of nearly falling apart. The consistency of the finished product is up to you -- add more water if you prefer a broth-y, rather than a thick, consistency. Just add a little more water or cook it a little longer to suit your taste.
  3. Remove the bones, if added, then garnish with your favorite toppings, and serve piping hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Britt Sondreal-McLaughlin
    Britt Sondreal-McLaughlin
  • Emily Love
    Emily Love
  • Transcendancing
  • Whitney
  • Regine

60 Reviews

Britt S. January 17, 2021
I am sorry to say that this is the first time my husband and I have ever tried jook or any of its other iterations, because WHAT IS THIS INSANE DELICIOUS MAGIC WE HAVE BEEN MISSING. This was absolutely wonderful. I am giddy with this discovery because it combines all the best elements of any of my go-to favorite dishes: simplicity of ingredients, ease of preparation, depth of flavor and substance, and flexibility of execution. Like a favorite dress with pockets, jook will now be on regular rotation in our household, and I cannot wait to try a million different topping combinations. For our first time out of the gate, we simmered it with the recommended ginger & water, but I doubled the amount of salt called for (to 1 tsp). I didn’t have any raw bones to use so just chucked in 1/2 lb of leftover turkey bones from Thanksgiving that I’d frozen for stock, and it. was. DELICIOUS. I could have eaten an entire bowl of the porridge by itself, but then we topped ours with poached eggs, green onions, cilantro, soy sauce, a Japanese BBQ sauce, and some sriracha. I could have easily eaten 12 bowls of that. I am thrilled to have access to this quick, delicious, nourishing, flexible meal - thank you so much, Vvvanessa & Food52!!
terri K. July 31, 2020
“Jook, a Chinese rice soup” 😂😂😂
Jillkn July 8, 2019
Made this for the first time yesterday and used bone-in chicken thighs. Delicious! But my jook came out super thick, despite adding double the suggested water. Any suggestions?
BETTY August 23, 2019
It’s like oatmeal in that leftovers will thicken naturally. So just add more liquid when you’re reheating,
Jennifer P. July 7, 2019
Jook is KOREAN, not CHINESE. There is a difference between Congee and Jook, and Jook is often a home recipe when you're feeling ill. It's the Korean equivalent of chicken soup. I love Food52, but pretty disappointing to see articles like this posted without proper fact checking.
Jiseon K. January 19, 2020
Yes!!! I agree. First thing I thought when I began reading the article.
Joy H. April 18, 2020
Jook is probably cooked in both cultures. Jook means porridge in Chinese (Cantonese dialect) and is traditional comfort food
Jta August 20, 2021
Jennifer P and Jiseon K, I'm Cantonese, and jook is rice porridge, which is what this is. English usually refers to the Chinese versions as congee, but the Cantonese dialect and people call it jook. It is not just the same in Korean (btw, I had a Korean roommate in college and it was really cool to see the overlap in words between Cantonese and Korean--much more than in Mandarin and Korean).

Maybe the same advice could be taken and a little fact checking would help before firing off an angry correction?
Helen June 19, 2019
Hey just a note of clarification: jook is a KOREAN word and the the dish is Korean version of congee. In my experience (I am Korean) they are similar but not the same. Congee is more watery. Jook is more like thin oatmeal.
William J. June 24, 2019
Hi, I realize jook is Korean, I was just commenting on my preference for fish sauce. Also while Chinese congee is thin, Vietnamese, especially home style can be very thick.
Lydia June 25, 2019
Jook is also what we call it in Hong Kong (Cantonese). And the texture can be watery or thick depending on who's in the kitchen. The best ones are creamy from the rice starches breaking down
Jta August 20, 2021
Helen, same comment as left above. I'm Cantonese, and jook is rice porridge, which is what this is. English usually refers to the Chinese versions as congee, but the Cantonese dialect and people call it jook. It is not just the same in Korean (btw, I had a Korean roommate in college and it was really cool to see the overlap in words between Cantonese and Korean--much more than in Mandarin and Korean).

This is a pretty standard way my Cantonese parents make theirs (pork bones and ginger), but jook refers to any type of rice porridge in our culture. There is no definition of a watery version being congee and a thicker one being jook; this is just a different word for different languages. Everyone has their personal preference and choose to make it brothier or thicker.
William J. June 18, 2019
I live in Vietnam, instead of soy sauce use fish sauce, also add some ginger in the beginning and cook with the rice. You can also start with ground beef.
Emily L. February 18, 2019
Made this last night as I’m sick as was craving Brewery Bhavana’s congee - this totally hit the spot! My boyfriend doubled the recipe so we’d have enough for the week and we topped with grated carrots, peas, green onions, and a hard boiled egg. We used bone broth in place of water and skipped the bones (we are wimps). So delicious!
Brian January 22, 2018
Jook is from Korea!
Jta August 20, 2021
Brian, same comments as I made in other posts. I'm Cantonese, and jook is rice porridge, which is what this is. English usually refers to the Chinese versions as congee, but the Cantonese dialect and people call it jook. It is not just Korean (btw, I had a Korean roommate in college and it was really cool to see the overlap in words between Cantonese and Korean--much more than in Mandarin and Korean).
Jude May 1, 2017
I'm of European extraction but my friends say I should be Asian from my food preferences. I've been making jook for a number of decades now and it's one of my comfort foods. I especially love it made using pork stock I make in big batches and freeze. The extras I add is a combination of soy sauce and fish sauce, lots of roughly grated ginger and garlic, chopped scallions and cilantro, and something that's usually used in a Chinese dessert soup - snow fungus. I add quite a bit seeing it absorbs flavours. It's good for the lungs and increasing yin. Although I don't get colds or other infections, I had pleurisy when young and have had pneumonia three times in my life. A pneumococcal vaccination and snow fungus often serve to protect me.
Ink March 17, 2016
Jook, 죽, is Korean traditional porridge.
Jta August 20, 2021
Ink, same comments as I made in other posts. I'm Cantonese, and jook is rice porridge, which is what this is. English usually refers to the Chinese versions as congee, but the Cantonese dialect and people call it jook. It is not just Korean (btw, I had a Korean roommate in college and it was really cool to see the overlap in words between Cantonese and Korean--much more than in Mandarin and Korean).
Transcendancing February 5, 2016
Question, has anyone frozen any excess Jook?
vvvanessa February 5, 2016
Yes, definitely! I find that when I reheat it, the rice is quite broken down, but I like that.
Ruthan October 18, 2015
I've only had jook once before, at dim sum. More than I could have held in both hands, and its mark went in the "cheap" category of our tab. It had some slivers of what I think were organ meats in it, and scallions on top, and it made me wish I were sick so I'd have a good excuse to make it and eat loads. Lucky me it's cold season!
vvvanessa February 5, 2016
Cheap and tasty and filling and good for you! The best combo!
Transcendancing September 26, 2015
This was AMAZING! I've been meaning to try this for ages and we finally got around to it this week. Based on one of the other comments, we used a leftover turkey carcass from Christmas that I'd had in the freezer and needed using - so so so good! Added Chinese Sausage, coriander (cilantro) and a few other things and it was just incredible! Will definitely make this again!
vvvanessa February 5, 2016
Thank you so much! I'm glad it worked well for you!
Whitney February 23, 2015
I was home sick from work today and decided to give this a try. SO glad I did - it's absolutely delicious and exactly what I needed. Thanks so much for sharing!! :)
vvvanessa February 5, 2016
I'm so glad you liked it. It always makes me feel better. Thanks for the feedback.
Connie T. February 17, 2015
Ah, chicken and rice soup is also my restorative go-to, but I make the Filipino version called arroz caldo, Spanish for hot rice. I am surprised no one has mentioned this amazing variation. I start out with boneless thighs cut into small chunks, browned in a heavy pot along with lots of chopped ginger, thin slices of the white part of green onion, and a few garlic cloves. When garlic and ginger are aromatic, I add the rice and water and stir up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. I start with 1 cup of rice and four cups of water, then just add water pretty much all day till it is the thickness I like. I add soy sauce or sea salt to taste. Now here's the big variation--a can of coconut milk. This enriches the soup and increases the nutritional value as well. In the Philippines, this is served garnished with thinly sliced green onion tops, a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon or two of Rufino Fish Sauce (also called patis, say pah-teese. Don't buy that fishy Thai version at the grocery store!) Rufino adds a nutty umami note to the dish and is wonderfully comforting.
vvvanessa February 5, 2016
I love me some chicken thighs! This sounds delicious!
Mary February 6, 2015
Delicious! Found some chicken back and neck bones at Whole Foods for about $1.50/lb, and used 8 cups of water. I cooked for about 3 hours on high in my slow cooker, and it was perfect. Thank you for the great recipe.
vvvanessa February 8, 2015
Perfect! I'm also partial to chicken feet when making stocks-- they make for a nicely gelatinous one. And thank you!
Regine February 6, 2015
Nice, feel good, restorative soup. However, I ended up adding 14 not 8 cups of water as I like it more watery, 2 garlic, more salt, and some turneric to enhance color and also for its health benefits. I added on top some green onions and cilantro. Lovely recipe that lends itself to lots of variations.
vvvanessa February 8, 2015
I'm so glad you like it! This was actually one of the harder recipes to write because it does lend itself to so many variations, and it seemed impossible to list them all. Sometimes I go for a very watery version, and sometimes it's thick enough to stand a spoon in. I pretty loosey-goosey on most of the condiments, using whatever is in the fridge, but I am pretty firm on needing green onions and cilantro every time!
linzarella February 4, 2015
This is amazing, I made a big batch and have been eating it for breakfast all week! I added some dried shitaake mushrooms in the last half hour of cooking and it came out great!
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Yum! I'm so glad it worked well for you. It is possibly my all-time favorite breakfast.
Regine February 4, 2015
Hmm. Never had or saw (at least not that I know of) chicken or pork bones . Do most supermarkets carry packages of these bones, or do I have to make a special request? I wonder if I could replace with i.e., beef stew meat?
Meaghan F. February 4, 2015
You can save your own bones and carcasses in ziploc bags in the freezer - another poster mentioned making jook with their Thanksgiving turkey carcass.
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Check at a butcher shop or at the butcher counter of your grocery store if it has one. They often stock bones and chicken carcasses for stock. I also sometimes use bone-in chicken thighs or some pork shoulder. If you're into beef, that will work, too, and stew meat would be perfect (and you won't need much). I hope it works out for you!
piggledy June 17, 2019
We love hook, or congee. Make it in the rice cooker on the porridge cycle. When we get a rotisserie chicken (Costco’s roast chicken is less expensive than raw!!) I immediately roast the bones in the toaster oven, and make broth from them in the rice cooker. Once it is done, we simply strain the broth from the bones and set it up. Sometimes add a few chunks of chicken. We love this extra meal from outer roast chicken! I wonder, has anyone tried making this with a miso broth?
piggledy June 17, 2019
Jook, not hook. Danger spell checker!
piggledy June 17, 2019
Danged, not danger. Same problem!
jpriddy July 7, 2019
I am mostly vegetarian, but I save all my veggie scraps in a freezer container and then make stock about once a week.
Hannah M. February 4, 2015
Yum! I added two bay leaves, some pepper corns, some whole cloves, half an onion and a few cloves of garlic (vegan here, but never up for missing out on flavour that would otherwise come from meat/bones). I also used 10 cups of water in total.
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Mmm. Sounds delicious! That's the wonder of jook-- easy to make vegan or not and with pretty much any flavor or topping you like. I'll have to try a version with bay some time!