It has rained like a bazillion inches of rain in San Francisco in the last few weeks. When it rains here it seems like everything goes bazerk. Streets flood, roads wash away, BART trains get stuck, Uber surges skyrocket, your bus home runs over something in the road and stops working, causing everyone to exit the bus in Chinatown while it's down pouring, leaving you stranded and soaked through your clothes and you're carrying a bunch of bananas that you don't want to bruise and you can't ditch them because you promised to make banana bread. Bah. It sucks. But it helps with the drought... so whatever.
I also just recovered from my 3rd cold in the last 3 months and the rain was not helping. So while it rains, I'm pretty much living in blankets and consuming all the soups, stews, and jook! Jook or congee is a savory Chinese rice porridge. It is super comforting especially when the weather is being a big jerk.
I grew up on so. much. jook. This was probably the first non-baby formula meal my mom fed me as a wee dumpling. And hers is really the best. I get all blushing-emoji-face when I think of topping my bowl of jook with a mountain of crispy onions and getting my hands on a Chinese donut to dip into it : )
So here is a simple recipe for when you want a hug in a bowl. You can really flavor it in an infinite amount of ways. My mom adds pork and dried scallops to hers. And my Grandma adds thousand year old eggs (yum!) and leftover turkey (after Christmas or Thanksgiving) to hers. I love both, but adding chicken, ginger, garlic, and green onions will make you happy if you don't live near a good Asian market.
Note that jook takes a little bit of time, be prepared to hang around your simmering pot for at least 45 minutes to stir and make sure your rice doesn't stick to the bottom! Check Instagram. Call your mom. Confirm with her that you are actually making it right and discuss your respective progressive in re-watching Gilmore Girls. Once you both agree that Rory is actually pretty awful and that Jess is better off without her your jook will be ready!
Ginger Chicken Jook
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 large cloves of minced garlic
3 green onion stems chopped - white and green portions separated, greens for garnish.
1 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp for chicken
1 C long grain rice - I use Jasmine
6 C water
4 C chicken broth
1 lb chicken tenders - cut into 1" cubes
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp salt + more to taste
Pepper - to taste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce - optional but highly recommended, it's my mom's secret ingredient for everything!
Crispy Fried Onions
- Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven to medium heat. Throw in ginger, garlic, and green onion whites, sauté for 3-4 mins until slightly toasted and aromatic. Stir occassionly so that the bits don't burn.
- Add water and chicken broth to pot. Once boiling, add rice to pot and stir. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
- Cook jook for 45-60 mins and stir for 15 sec every 5-10 mins. You'll want to keep an eye on it to make sure rice is not settling to the bottom and burning.
- While your jook is simmering, marinade your chicken in oil, cornstarch, and pinch of s&p. The cornstarch will help tenderize your chicken and thicken the jook.
- Once your jook has been cooking for 30 mins, add your chicken to the pot. Season jook with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- After 45-60 mins your rice will have broken down and the jook has thickened. Serve jook in bowls and top with green onions and crispy onions.
* Bonus points if you add a poached egg! omg, you won't regret it.