I have been feeling under the weather lately, and as I had some leftover rice in a ziplock bag, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and see how well my rice cooker performs at making jook. Also called congee, it is renowned throughout Asia as the ideal sick person’s food, as well as a perfect way to transform virtually anything you might have sitting in the fridge into a something that will make you feel better. (I have cooked jook before, but I lack the patience to engage in the constant stirring and endless waiting normally required.)
The recipe here was helpful as a starting point, although it calls for way more water than you need if you’re starting with pre-cooked leftover rice.
Actually, if you want to make jook from dry rice, a slow cooker/crockpot would be a better choice. This salt pork jook slow cooker recipe looks so good that I think I’ll try it sometime. BTW, to make jook in a crock pot is moronically simple — 1 cup rice to 6 1/2 cups water, for 3 hours on high. Or according to this recipe, rice to water in a 1:8 ratio, then four hours on high or eight hours on low. (Obviously, with leftover rice, less water and time would be necessary. Some call for as low as a 1:2 ratio.)
But last night I didn’t have time to experiment making crockpot jook, and as my rice cooker has a porridge setting, I just threw in the leftover rice, and added water, and pushed the button. When it beeped 40 minutes later, I realized that I had used too much water because it was not yet firm (I was not yet sure of the proportions), so I hit the button again, and waited.
Meanwhile, into a pan with hot oil, I threw some chopped onions, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, and last but not least, a small amount of some insanely hot Chinese pepper paste I bought at an Asian store. (There’s no brand name, but I think eating a teaspoonful by itself would have consequences like these.) Into that went a shredded piece of chicken, and when it was cooked I added some water and a little starch to form gravy, then left it covered. (Total prep time was five minutes.)
When the rice cooker beeped the second time, all I needed to do was combine the ingredients. This is the result (before stirring, and without the eye-catching green flecks of scallion or sprigs of cilantro which such pictures traditionally demand):
It was very satisfying, and I felt better immediately. I realize this is hardly a cooking blog (and I am just a hack where it comes to cooking), but I thought I’d present it as another installment of my ongoing love affair with my intelligent rice cooker.