Chicken and Mushroom Juk (Korean Rice Porridge) With Kimchi
A Warm Hug in a Bowl of Porridge
For at least 3,000 years, this soothing staple rice gruel has been cooked in various ways throughout Asia, deeply rooted in a number of culinary traditions. In its most basic form, the dish is comprised of grains, such as rice or barley, and water or stock, simmered together until they form a thick, cream-like porridge. Juk’s popularity is due in part to its healing and nourishing characteristics. It’s warming to the body, highly hydrating, and soothing for the stomach, and when made with a good stock or bone broth, is rich in protein and collagen. The comforting porridge is a quintessential sick day food, especially for an upset stomach. Mothers even also use juk to wean their babies, and the elderly often eat it to ward off disease.
Serves 4 portions
For the Rice Porridge
- 1 cup short grain rice
- 4 1/2 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, plus 4 extra for garnish, stems removed
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- Rinse and soak the rice, with enough water to cover the rice, for at least 30 minutes or longer. Drain well and set aside.
- While the rice is soaking, cut the mushrooms into 1/3-inch cubes. Set aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot or a Dutch oven, heat the sesame oil over medium-low heat until just fragrant, but do not burn.
- Add drained rice and lightly toast it, for about 2 minutes, while stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and keep stirring to sauté another 1 to 2 minutes, until very dry. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan often to prevent the rice and mushrooms from sticking.
- Pour the chicken stock into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir well. Lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 45 minutes until liquid is reduced, and rice is plump and broken. While simmering, make sure to stir the rice every 15 minutes to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Meanwhile, prepare the toppings to serve: Shred the chicken meat, set aside. Chop the kimchi, set aside. Slice the reserved 4 mushrooms thinly and place them in a lightly greased or a non-stick frying pan with a pinch of salt over medium heat. Toast the mushrooms until they are light brown in color on both sides. Set aside.
- To serve, warm up the shredded chicken meat. Divide the rice porridge between 4 bowls and garnish with warm shredded chicken meat, chopped kimchi, toasted mushroom slices, fried shallots, chopped chives, and black sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately with soy sauce on the side.