Hi all! Long time, no blog (as usual). Alright, let me cut to the chase: jook, aka congee = Chinese soul food. It doesn’t get any more basic than this: water + rice. The thick rice porridge provides a blank canvas upon which other ingredients – 1000 year old eggs and salted pork (my personal favorite), fish and lettuce, dried scallops and peanuts, etc- can be applied, so in the end you can have an endless variety of delicious tableaus and landscapes. For me, it’s comfort food, plain and simple. I crave it when I’m under the weather, when I’m homesick, and when I just want to eat something I know is going to be absolutely satisfying to my body and soul. My mom used to make it when I was a kid and I remember the way the whole kitchen would steam up and smell of cooking rice. When I visit my grandmother in Hong Kong, the first meal we have together is at a nearby jook joint. Quite simply, jook tastes of home and family.
But because jook is so basic and near and dear to my heart, it never occurred to me to post a recipe of it. Enter my friend Jason. Thankfully, he filmed his mom making her version of jook and was kind enough to let me post it here. Not only does her version look delicious but watching the video I was also glad to see the special place the dish occupies in her family. That’s how soul food is: universal but also entirely personal.
Alright, enough from me. Here’s Jason:
Last week, my wonderful mom came over to teach us the steps to making her version of congee. I grew up calling this Chinese porridge “jook” but have recently learned the new name as it is served every day at my Grandma’s nursing center.
The day of this shoot, we had a surprise visit from her brother, Ben Fong-Torres, and his wife. This put my mom and her brother at the stove together–a sight I had never seen before. This must have brought back memories for them as they grew up in the family restaurant together helping their father.
I am proud to present our third cooking video: Mom Makes Congee. I have been so lucky to grow up with my mother’s version of this dish in my life and hope you find time to make it for a loved one. Enjoy!