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Asian Rice Porridge, Cooked to Perfection in Clay (Gruel, Jook, Zhou, Congee)

February 11, 2017

Asian Rice Porridge, Cooked to Perfection in Clay (Gruel, Jook, Zhou, Congee)

In Asian,a rice is eaten at every meal.

For lunch and dinner, there is generally a steamed white rice on the side of several stir-fried dishes with veggies and a bit of meat. Every once in awhile they'll fry some leftover rice with other leftovers for “fried rice.”

And the occasional noodle dish, but mostly, it's just rice.

But what do they do for breakfast?In fact, in Chinese (and probably most Asian languages) the term “eat” translated literally means “eat rice.” It's the basis of all food dishes.

Do they then, too, have a bowl of white rice with a side of dishes?

Sometimes. But more often they will have a rice-based porridge that is really quite good.

It goes by different names:

  • Zhou (Mandarin)
  • Jook (Cantonese)
  • Congee (Hong Kong English translation)
  • Gruel
  • Porridge

It's basically just “rice soup,” or rice porridge, a really watery way to eat rice.

When Asian kids are sick, they feed them this, because it is more easily digested. If a child has a fever, they'll feed them just the watery, starchy portion to get them some nutrients without any solid food.

Plain rice porridge is pretty bland, so sometimes it's paired with some cold, spiced meat or pickled/salted veggies.

Other times it is sold out of a vendor cart on the side of the road with some flavoring already added in: a bit of meat and veggies, or black eggs, which look rotten and disgusting, but it actually tastes really delicious.

Regardless, rice porridge can be a great addition to your recipe arsenal, as a light, versatile base for breakfasts or other meals.

Here are some basic instructions:

Ingredients for Chinese Rice Porridge:

  • 1-2 cups rice of any variety
  • 6-8 cups water or broth
  • Small bits of meat and veggies
  • Pickled, salted or raw vegetables, cut into bits
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions for Chinese Rice Porridge:

  1. Throw everything into VitaClay, except items that you want to use as garnish or stir in at the end
  2. Cook on "fast" setting for 2-4 hours (overnight or all day is fine; can be kept on warm after it finishes cooking)
  3. Make a big batch and heat it up and add different things all week long

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