Sandwiches only last so long, and despite my confidence I thought that I should take some time on the first day to make something both nourishing and that would be ready to eat in case I was too tired later: jook, or congee, super easy to make, tasty, and healthy. It was also one of Caitlin’s favorite meals in the hospital.
Jook is rice porridge made with chicken broth. The basic recipe is to put broth, rice, and a chunk of ginger in a pot, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer on the lowest heat for a couple of hours. The ratio of broth to rice is about 8:1 but isn’t critical. It cooks really well in a slow cooker, but whether you use a slow cooker or a pot, stir it when you can and add water if you need to so it doesn’t dry out. You can’t exactly set it and forget it, but it’s close. Here’s a recipe that looks more like a recipe, adapted from here:
1 quart of chicken bone broth
3/4 cup rice
a chunk of ginger (you don’t have to peel it)
Put all the things in a pot or slow cooker, bring to a boil, then simmer on low for a couple of hours or until the rice has fallen apart and the whole thing looks like porridge.
You can optionally add garlic or other things, and if you don’t have broth on hand you can make it in the same pot by adding some bone-in, skin-on chicken parts like wings. When you take those out you can strip the meet off and add it to the jook.
Jook is a traditional Chinese breakfast food, so you can eat it whenever – not that day and night will mean much for a while. Put the jook into individual serving size containers and let it cool before you put it in the fridge, preferably on ice. Let it cool so it doesn’t warm up and spoil other stuff in the fridge, and cool it on ice so it will cool quickly and not develop bacteria.
Lastly, put a little water in the pot or cooker immediately to make it easier to clean. Even better, boil water in the pot before you clean it and it will make everything come out with no problem.