Ooh, my favorite!


Jok – Thai-style rice porridge
March 9, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: Food, Health, Recipes, Thai Style

One of the first things I make when I feel a cold coming on is a big pot of Jok (pronounced joke). It is typically served as a breakfast and is basically rice that you cook the hell out of so that it becomes a wonderfully soft and silky porridge. With the addition of garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and a protein of your choice (pork, chicken, fish) you are on the fast-track to feeling better than ever. This is also a miracle cure for upset tummies and nasty hangovers!

I think pretty much every asian country has a version of this (the Chinese call in congee), but for me I’ve never had anything better than a piping hot bowl from a street cart in Bangkok. My awesomely wonderful and crazy Thai dad has a killer version of his own. This is one of those things that you don’t measure, you simply taste and adjust, so I did my best to write the recipe to share with you. It’s a wonderful way to become familiar with how you like to season your food, but just know that much of the details are in the instructions, so this isn’t a measure and move on type of thing.

Jok (Thai-style porridge)

Serves: 4-6

-  4-6 garlic cloves (there is no such thing as too much garlic)

-  2 –inch “knuckle” of ginger (scrape the skin off with the side of a spoon)

-  2 ½ cups rice

-  fish sauce to taste (I’ll help you figure this out below)

-  low sodium soy sauce to taste, preferably organic

-  1 pound ground pork

-  1 Tbs olive oil

-  2 eggs, organic

-  fresh cilantro

-  black pepper

-  water, filtered

In a large soup pot (I used my 5-quart Le Creuset) add the rice and rinse until the water runs clear (usually 2-3 rinses will do), then add about 5 cups of water and place on stovetop on medium heat.

While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Meanwhile, add the garlic and ginger to a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped bits. When the oil is up to temperature add the ground pork, garlic and ginger, 1 Tbs soy sauce, and 1 Tbs fish sauce. Saute until it is mostly cooked through.

Tip: Don’t break up the pork too much. You’ll want larger pieces for texture and flavor. If they are too small, they’ll be lost in the texture of the rice.

Add the cooked pork mixture to the pot of cooking rice and mix in well. At this point add 2 cups of water, 1 Tbs fish sauce, and 1 Tbs soy sauce. Reduce heat slightly, stir, and let simmer.

Keep checking the water level as the rice will absorb a lot pretty quickly. You can’t really overcook the rice, but it’s really about adding the right amount of flavor. It doesn’t have to be this exact, but as a guide at 30 and 45 minutes add 1 cup of water.  At 45 minutes only, add 1 Tbs fish sauce, and 1 Tbs soy sauce and  stir well.

Note: Remember, we have a huge pot of water and rice, and it needs to be seasoned, so don’t be alarmed at the amount of fish and soy sauces. If you are not using low sodium soy sauce, you will want to cut back on that measurement.

Texture at 30 minutes

Texture at 45 minutes

After about an hour the texture and flavors should be set. Try it and adjust as needed. Raise the heat back up to medium-high and add two eggs, one at a time, stirring to break up the yolk and incorporate well.

Let simmer for a few minutes to cook the eggs and prepare to serve. Top with fresh cilantro, fried garlic, and sliced ginger. I don’t always have it on hand, but I added some pickled garlic and added it as a garnish as well.

I realize the detailed instructions may be a bit overwhelming, but I wanted to give you an idea of how the flavoring part works. Please know that this recipe is really very easy, and the instructions are not as scary as they look. Please give it a try and let me know if you have any suggestions for revising the instructions.

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24 Comments so far
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To me, pho is the ultimate hangover cure, so I’m definitely going to have to try this out someday. Now, I have a very important question. How hot/spicy is this? All of the Thai food I have ever had has always been “burn you mouth and lose all sensation in your tongue” hot. lol.

Comment by Des

Pho is an awesome hangover cure! It used to be my go-to, but believe it or not this somehow manages to beat it. Don’t worry this isn’t hot at all. Most people think Thai food is supposed to be crazy spicy, but it doesn’t have to be unless you like it that way. Sometimes the fumes from my dad’s bowl of soup will be enough to knock me out, but I usually stay on the milder side.

I’ll post a Thai-style of pho for you soon. So easy to do at home!

Comment by Natira

[...] – Soups (see my Jok recipe) [...]

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[...] one of my gifts to him will be dish duty after I make his favorite weekend breakfast: a big pot of Jok. Regardless of how I can bend the house rules (or how I have a tendency to steal his towel when he [...]

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Thank you for this delicious recipe. My husband and I just made it for dinner and are in love with the flavor and texture. We just came back from visiting Thailand and were looking forward to making porridge like we tasted over there, now we found our go-to recipe.

Comment by Alexandra Jacobo-Mares

This makes me so incredibly happy! Thanks so much, Alexandra. I’m glad this recipe could help bring some of the tastes of Thailand to your kitchen. Be sure to try it with white fish or lump crab too!

Comment by Natira

Thank you!!!! My husband and I have been traveling throughout Asia for the past 4 months and I eat jok every chance I get and I knew it’d be something I would miss the most when we get back home… but maybe not with this recipe! Can’t wait to test it out in my kitchen! :)

Comment by Christa

I hope so, Christa! There’s nothing quite like a bowl straight from a street cart, but this recipe usually does the trick when I have a craving. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback on the recipe. And welcome home!

Comment by Natira

Followed your excellent recipe last night and instant comfort followed! Thank you!

Comment by Becca Dean

No way, really?!! I’m so glad you liked it! It’s one of my all time favorites.

Comment by Natira

Sawadee! I lived in Thailand on and off for eight years, mostly up country, and jok was one of my favorite breakfasts, even if I had to get up early to go to the market to buy it. I have created my own version of the recipe and have it most mornings. To make the cooking easier and quicker ( for one), I use half tbspn rice flour and one heaped tbspn ground rice and two cups of water. If I use dried shrimp, I put in half teaspoon of powdered fish stock. If I use ground pork, I use half teaspoon powdered pork stock, and the same for ground chicken, half teaspoon powdered chicken stock. Fresh finely diced ginger, fresh lemon grass ( or powdered if I can’t get fresh), a few dried chilli flakes and splash of fish sauce, just bring to the boil and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring all the time. When it starts to thicken add one fresh egg and stir to break it up and serve topped with fresh coriander, dried fried garlic and fried onion flakes.

Comment by Wayne Sund

Your recipes sound perfect, and reminds me of Thailand, I love the dried shrimp especially! The rice flour and the ground rice is a great idea to help speed things along.

You must have the most wonderful pantry at home.

Comment by Natira

Hey, I tried your recipe and it was closed to the Jok that I ate in Thailand. Now I have to try to make Pla Tong Go to go with that Jok! Thanks for the recipe.

Comment by Thomas Moore

Thanks so much, Thomas. I’m so happy that it reminded you of Thailand, that’s everything I could hope for. I, too, need to learn how to make those awesome little donuts! They’re dangerous. :)

Comment by Natira

My Thai hubby came down with the flu a couple of days ago and mumbled something about rice porridge with meat in between bouts of coughing. I happily stumbled across your website – the instructions were perfect. Although I omitted the egg as I needed it to last overnight on a very low simmer. He ate two big bowls of it last night and is much better today. Magic!

Comment by Rosemary

That’s so great, Rosemary. I’m glad I could help your sweetheart recover! We all know how guys can be when they are sick. :)

Comment by Natira

I’m so glad I came across this recipe. I worked at a small family owned Thai restaurant for a number of years and they always made a home cooked meal for the people working that night. They made jok quite often and it is one of my favorites (especially on cold snowy days). I can’t wait to make it, and was wondering what type of rice your typically use.

Comment by Caroline

Thank you Caroline! I’m excited to hear how the recipe worked for you. I use organic Thai jasmine rice, but you can use any rice since it was initially meant to use leftovers. In Thailand they often use the seconds, or broken rice, and that is what gives it such a creamy texture. Please holler if you have any other questions when you try the dish!

Comment by Natira

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I am Thai and born in the states but my mother never taught me how to cook. What I learned to cook was from memory and I LOVE jok–especially in the winter. I can’t wait to try your recipe!

Comment by Keow

Thank you, Keow. I hope the recipe worked for you. Jok is one of my very favorite dishes and it makes me so happy when other people enjoy it as well. Please holler if you have any questions!

Comment by Natira

This sounds wonderful – can I third the ingredients for just one person? If I make the whole thing can it be re-heated? or frozen? There is only me – what do you think is best?

Comment by parrish rhodes

Thanks Parrish! Since it’s kind of slow in the making I usually make a larger pot and graze on it for a few days. It’s definitely good for a few re-heats, in fact, often times it’s even better the next day. I’ve never tried freezing because it doesn’t long enough to try. It may change the texture too much, so I’d try halving the recipe first. I hope you like it!!

Comment by Natira

Well, I never had enough left to try to freeze..made half the recipe and it really is a ‘winner’ – will double the recipe next time and freeze some for icy wintery days like today when a bit of comfort food is just the ticket! Many thanks -

Comment by parrish rhodes

I use 1 tablespoon( more or less) of ground rice ( from jasmine rice that I have ground previously) and about 3/4 tablespoon of rice flour. Much quicker than boiling normal rice for ever:-)

Comment by wayne sund




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