imagine someone asking you, "if you could only pick one, what food would be the one that always makes you stop, and think of home?" how would you answer? well i'm asking you now. what is that special dish? for me, it is this.
no matter the season, at any time of day, and regardless of my mood, my father's jok halts me. it's an incredibly simple dish, the 'poor man's feast', but it makes me stop, and savor it in along with the memories that are inherently tied to it. my father, serving it as breakfast before we ran out the door, always a few minutes late; my aunt, making me drink a seemingly enormous glass of water before i could dig into my soy milk and jok with doughnut - to assure i didn't overeat; being hungry late at night, and knowing there would be a pot of it in the refrigerator; being under the weather, and this being the only thing bearable to eat, there was that time i had my wisdom teeth taken out too...; seeing our 'ol reliable stock pot bubbling on the stove, donning dried streaks along the sides, evidence of it having boiled over; coming home after a long, often sleepless week at college, knowing that i'd be headed back with a gallon ziplock full to the brim, along with other goodies; and now sharing it with the love of my life, thinking about how it may be the beloved comfort food for my own children.
this soup is made with only four ingredients, but it has supported countless memories and satisfied many a finicky palate.
I honestly don't know why it took me this long to finally make it on my own.
pronounced 'chjoke', something like that; aka congee
1 part rice (2 cups)
5 part water (10+ cups)
bones and skin of a chicken turkey or ham carcass or bouillon
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil per 'part' of rice (2 Tablespoons)
salt, to taste
If you are going to make your own stock, combine the chicken bones with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a couple hours. Then remove bones, skim off the oil that accumulates on top, strain the stock, and proceed with preparing the rice.
Rinse out the rice, until the water runs clear. Drizzle the rice with the oil and add the salt; mix it a little to assure that all the rice is coated with the oil.
let sit for about 15 minutes.
Combine the bouillon with the water, or the stock with enough water to make the necessary amount, and bring to a rolling boil.
Add the rice. Once the rice is brought back up to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover, and let simmer for an hour or two; or three. Stir every once in a while to assure no rice sticks to the bottom of the pan and to help the rice break apart, this is very important. if there is the amount of liquid is dwindling, go ahead and add more as necessary, one cup at a time.
A little before you’re ready to serve, discard any more bones, add extra meat pieces - previously cooked and warmed, and flavorings: fish sauce, salt, pepper etc. Garnish with chopped green onions, century eggs, whatever you fancy.