Boosted Jook

January 13, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

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.


Food52 Review: 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

Serves: 4


  • 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
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Soup|Grains|Make Ahead|Vegetarian|Vegan|Gluten-Free|Entree|Breakfast

Reviews (42) Questions (0)

42 Reviews

Brian January 22, 2018
Jook is from Korea!
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.
Transcendancing February 5, 2016
Question, has anyone frozen any excess Jook?
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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!! :)
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2016
I love me some chicken thighs! This sounds delicious!
Trena H. February 9, 2015
vvvanessa - Congatulations on your win! I've just had my first bowl of jook as I'm currently living in Penang. A friend of mine made me a bowl and I'm hooked!
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2016
A belated thank you. Once you get on the jook train, it's hard to get off!
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.
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
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!
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.<br />Delicious!
Author Comment
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!
vrunka February 4, 2015
yum yum yum! Jook is what gets me through the gloomy Pacific NW winters.
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Jook is the best!
Lydia K. January 31, 2015
if you use dried scallops (soak overnight to rehydrate) and shred them, add to the pot while cooking, it adds nice flavor. also helps to salt whatever protein you're using the night before.
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Good advice! I would use dried scallops were it not for an allergy to shellfish (boo!). But yes, such good flavor there.
notoriousBiC January 31, 2015
Delicious with an onsen egg and a dash of fish sauce for umami.
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Oh, yeah! I have eaten so many eggs in/on jook! So good.
cheesypennies January 30, 2015
Would this work with brown rice? I'm off white rice but this looks so delicious! Congratulations!!!
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Thank you! Yes, it will work with brown rice. I have a medium grain rice that I use. I imagine the timing will be about the same, but maybe you'll need to go a little longer and/or add a little more water. It also works just fine with cooked rice-- the total cooking time will just be a bit shorter.
gingerroot January 30, 2015
Congrats, vvvanessa!! Jook is my go-to food when I'm starting to feel sick as well. Growing up we called it "okai" - a shortened version "okayu" (Japanese version of jook). We actually make jook every year after Thanksgiving using the turkey carcass -- I highly recommend turkey jook!! Thanksgiving is already my favorite day of the year - but post-Thanksgiving turkey jook makes it even better. We love to top our jook with all the different varieties of tsukemono - pickled eggplant, cucumber, pearl onion, turnip and ginger (especially beni shoga - my favorite for jook).
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
I love turkey-carcass jook! I love that it is a blank slate for pretty much anything you have a taste for. I love tsukemono on mine, but I never seem to have it around. When I was a kid, we always used to have pork floss, which was salty and porky and so good.
stephanieRD January 30, 2015
Looking delicious! One of my favorite go-to's when I'm under the weather as well. And you forgot to mention one of my fave toppings- the preserved duck egg. Nice, creamy, gelatinous and salty bite go well with the rice porridge. :)
Author Comment
vvvanessa February 5, 2015
Thank you! And oh, yes. Those creamy preserved eggs! The original list of toppings I had in the recipe did not include them, but the list was so long, I had to whittle it way, way down. It would have been easier to make a list of things *not* to put on jook!