The recipe book I’m following calls it joak, or thick rice soup. The internet spells it jook. It’s also called congee, which my man says is the American word for it, which I’ve never heard in my life, but rice porridge sounds more like what Americans would call it. Whatever you call it, it is a common Chinese breakfast, but can be eaten for lunch or even dinner if you please! It can be served with meat or made vegetarian easily, so that’s what we are going to do! The original recipe calls for homemade pork balls, so I wanted to be able to replicate that. It also says that it can be served with salted, or century, eggs if you are not using meat. That I cannot replicate so easily, so we’ll stick with the faux pork!
While at the asian market, I found this product that I have never seen before and wanted to give it a try. If you cannot find this certain product, fear not! You can easily use a different pork substitute or even mushrooms to make the pork balls.
If you have had spam or ham, this stuff is pretty similar smelling and tasting to me. I personally didn’t like those things when I did eat meat, so the smell and the taste are not my favorite. The fiancé says it was interesting, but neither of us thought it was bad. It taste pretty strong, so I can’t just eat them on their own, but they taste much better to me soaked in the jook! So don’t put them off right away if they are a little off to you! Or if you don’t want to risk not liking it, stick with a meat substitute you know and like, but I’m always excited to try new vegan products I find! You never know when you might find a winner.
To start your jook, you need to soak your rice overnight or for about 8 hours. For your broth, you can either use low sodium vegetable broth or water, or a combination of both like I did. As for how much broth you need, that depends on how watery you want the jook. The recipe in the book told me to use 5 quarts of broth for 1 cup of rice, which was waaaaay too much! I had to drain so much of the liquid out to get it to the right consistency, so I’m going to guesstimate the amount of broth/water combo I actually used, but you may have to personally play with the amounts you need.
In a pot, I combined the water, broth, and rice, then brought it all to a boil. Lower the temperature so that it is at a simmer for two or three hours until the rice has completely broken down and the soup is thick and creamy, or at whatever texture you prefer. Be sure to stir every thirty minutes or so to keep the rice from burning and sticking to the bottom. While you wait, start the the meat balls immediately!
You’ll need half a pound of the vegan pork, or whatever substitute you want to use. You will also need water chestnuts, green onion, black soy sauce, and vegan egg substitute called Ener-G.
Make two Ener-G eggs, add it to the blended ham, and mix by hand until well incorporated. Add the soy sauce, green onions, and water chestnuts and mix it all together again. It should kind of look like cat food when it’s all done.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place the ‘pork’ balls on the sheet spaced out and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let them sit afterwards for 10 minutes and gently take them off the parchment.
This makes two servings, do double or triple the recipe depending on how many mouths you need to feed!
The Ingredients: (serves 2 people)
- 1/2 cup of long grain rice
- 2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 pound of vegan ham or other vegan pork meat or mushrooms
- Ener-G egg replacer (make two “eggs”)
- 1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 green onion stalks
- 6 water chestnuts
- light soy sauce
- white pepper
- green onion
- chopped peanuts
- sesame oil (use lightly)
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in clean water overnight or for at least eight hours.
- Bring water, vegetable broth, and rice to a boil, then turn the heat down so there is a simmer for about 2 to 3 hours or until all the rice has broken down and the jook has become thick and creamy. Be sure to stir every thirty minutes or so to keep the rice from burning and sticking to the bottom.
- While the jook is cooking, start making the pork balls immediately. Take your pork substitute and process it until it is broken down finely.
- Mix up two vegan eggs based off the instructions on the Ener-G egg box. Add it to the processed “pork” and add the dark soy sauce as well. Mix well with your hands or a spoon.
- Finely dice the two green onion stalks and the water chestnuts and add it to the pork mixture. Incorporate it well, it may look a little like cat food!
- Shape the mixture into small balls, about one inch balls. Place on plastic wrap that is over a plate, and then cover the balls with more plastic wrap. Let them sit in the fridge for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper, place the balls evenly spaced, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let them sit for 10 minutes after baking and then gently take them off the baking sheet.
- Chop up the cilantro and green onions if you are using them for toppings.
- Serve the jook in individual bowls and top your jook with the pork balls, and which ever toppings you are using. My favorites are green onion, cilantro, white pepper, and light soy sauce!