Millet Jook

Millet jook in the rice cooker before any additions
Millet jook with preserved duck egg and a spoonful of Lao Gan Ma

Jook (you may have heard of it by the Mandarin term congee) is a porridge/gruel made by cooking grain (often rice) with a large quantity of water until it's nice and mushy. Savory additions of your choice can be added, anything from meat to fish to preserved duck egg to chopped up vegetables. Finally, season it with whatever you like. I like soy sauce, sesame oil, and about half a spoonful of Lao Gan Ma's Fried Chili Oil.

Today's version: Millet jook with preserved duck egg, pickled radish, and red fermented tofu.

  1. Jook is extremely forgiving on water proportions... If you're a little off, or a lot off, you'll just get a thicker or a thinner porridge out of it. So don't sweat the exact numbers too much. I used a 1:7 ratio of millet to water. That is, I used half a rice cooker cup of millet (about 90 milliliters, or slightly more than 1/3 cups), and then filled my rice cooker to the 1.5 line on the porridge side, which is a little more than 2 cups of water. (My rice cooker is of Japanese manufacture, and the Japanese rice porridge tends to be thicker than the Chinese version.)If you don't have a rice cooker: About 1/2 cup dried millet + 3 cups of water will be more than enough for several generous bowls of jook.
  2. You can cook it just like this (but maybe salted), but you probably want to add things in. Things I really like: fried tofu skin (chopped up into nice thick chunks), preserved duck egg, edamame, bits of chicken... If you’re adding ingredients that need to cook and will absorb water, add a little more water. (But don’t worry too much, the water level is pretty basic.)

    The version pictured above includes pickled radish (crispy! also sour! and a little spicy, depending on what version you get!), cut into little pieces, as well as a few smooshed cubes of red fermented tofu, a bit of cut-up preserved duck egg.

    Just as a note on these ingredients, if you’re looking to buy red fermented tofu in the store, you want to look for the version that has “red yeast rice” as an ingredient, rather than the one that has chili as an ingredient. (You can also buy the chili, but it has a very different flavor). Preserved duck egg is also called century egg or thousand year egg, and it’s usually sold in the refrigerated section of the Asian grocery store. The egg will be dark black/green all the way through. IT IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE THAT, DO NOT FREAK OUT, IT IS DELICIOUS.

  3. If you have a rice cooker with a porridge feature, just set it and you’re done, huzzah!
  4. If you don’t, bring the water + millet to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook until everything is extremely mushy, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. I really, really highly suggest Lao Gan Ma if you can tolerate heat (you can put it on basically everything, but it’s perfect for jook).