Cold-busting in more ways than one and boiled down with lots of love, this Chinese-style chicken jook is quintessential Asian comfort food. Essentially rice boiled down with broth into a thick porridge, it's what my mom used to make whenever I was sick and sniffly. Soft rice is easy on an upset stomach, and the ginger and garlic combo is a cure-all for just about everything - not to mention delicious.
Traditionally served for breakfast, you can eat this savory porridge as is or enjoy it with an assortment of flavorful toppings - my favorite part. My family used to set everything out on the kitchen counter for each person to add at their preference: flavorful chopped cilantro, white Chinese pepper, crispy fried garlic, and a little less traditional - lots of hot chili sauce. It's filling, easy, and delicious. What more could you ask for?
Chicken (Jook) for the soul
for 10 servings
One whole chicken, raw
1.5 inch piece fresh ginger, skin peeled
1 tsp salt
10 cups water
1 tbsp dried shrimp
2 smashed garlic cloves
1 cup jasmine rice
2 tsp fish sauce
dried mushrooms (optional)
5-6 cloves chopped garlic
2 tbsp oil
fresh green onion, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped
Sriracha hot sauce
Chinese white pepper
1. Soak dried shrimp in hot water for ten minutes.
2. Chop the raw chicken into 10-12 pieces. If this sounds intimidating, there are lots of videos like this one you can use for reference. I always just find it cheaper and easier to buy a whole chicken - the added bones make the broth richer and more flavorful, and you get so much more meat. However, you can substitute this step with a mix of white and dark meats and store-bought chicken broth if it's more comfortable.
3. Place chicken pieces in a large pot and cover them with 10 cups of water. Mince ginger and add to chicken along with salt, garlic, soaked shrimp, and jasmine rice.
4. Bring all ingredients to a boil, then lower heat and cover. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the rice has broken down into a thick, porridge-like consistency.
5. Transfer chicken pieces to a cutting board. When they have cooled sufficiently, use your hands to shred the meat, discarding bones and cartilage. Stir the shredded meat back into pot, then season porridge with fish sauce as needed.
Fry chopped garlic in oil on medium high heat until light brown all over and crispy.
Ladle jook into bowls and drizzle with sesame oil. Top as desired with any combination of fried garlic, chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, sesame seeds, Chinese white pepper, and Sriracha.
If you're feeling under the weather, enjoy this one next to a fresh mug of hot green tea with lots of lemon and honey. Go back for seconds, take your time, and enjoy.