Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bento Side With Black Rice Jook

Bento Side To Go With Jook, originally uploaded by sherimiya ♥.
I'm only showing part of MisterMan's bento today. It includes pomelo (or jabong), cherries and carrots. The rest of it will be packed in the thermal jar you see in the background, right before he gets in the car to go to school. It's not the greatest container for keeping food warm, but I tested it with boiling water and it stayed pretty hot after 3 hours. Today I made jook, but this time I used black (Forbidden) rice to see if it was possible, and if so, how it would turn out. Perhaps you've read recently about the health benefits being attributed to black rice (high in iron and fiber, rich in antioxidants, cancer-fighting, improves memory, etc). Well, I've seen people make black rice pudding, and I thought it would be cool to make black rice jook. I actually made two different batches; one with black and white mixed in a 3:1 ratio, and one with black rice alone. I discovered that the white rice is necessary to provide the glutinous thickness we love about congee. The batch with black rice only kind of turned out like thin rice gruel, as you can see from the picture.
I wish I had taken a picture of the other batch to compare, but that got eaten up quick. I even cooked it longer than usual (about 2 hours), to see if it would eventually become thick and creamy. Nope. Anyway, it's still good -- I added roast duck, baby bok choy and green onions to give it flavor. It's cool how it came out very black. Even after rinsing the rice thoroughly, the black color is released when the rice breaks apart, and you can see it's a regular white color inside the grain. If you try it, don't forget to add some white rice. The resulting jook looks more purplish too; very cool-looking! In case you are interested, my basic jook recipe is here.

Basic Jook Recipe
1C rice
6C water (or more -- up to 8C, depending on how thin you like it)
2C broth (chicken or vegetable -- you can also increase the broth instead if you like)
Diced kabocha (as much as you like)

Bring rice and liquids to a bubbling simmer, and maintain, stirring occasionally, until soup is of desired consistency. About an hour. Add the diced kabocha near the end of cooking, to soften in the soup about 20 minutes or so (or less, if you like it firmer). Add salt to taste. Other things to add: chicken / turkey / duck bones with meat (remove bones after cooking), shiitake mushrooms, salted pork, salted salmon, green onions.


  1. is it taste good? what does the black rice taste?

  2. It was delicious! The black rice tastes nutty and chewy, in a substantial way, when cooked normally. In jook, it just tastes like rice soup, and takes on the flavors of what ever you put in the broth. This one tasted like duck.

  3. You've encouraged me to try packing soup too.

    That is one good-looking soup.


  4. Thanks Debra. Now I'm on the hunt for a true thermal bento, what with all this cold weather.

  5. How interesting to use black rice! I saw it at the organic section in our supermarket and the price is very expensive here. I love Thermos ( products so much to store cold or hot foods, excellent quality :)

  6. I love jook! My mom made this for us when she was out of meal making ideas and when the weather turned cold. It was also our meals when we were sick and I loved it. Especially with anything crunchy or spicy to eat with it (i.e. daikon and kimchi). This though is amazing! My mom would definitely love this version, and I do too. I think I might prefer the 'watery' version. Mm.. btw: Love that cute bento box!
    Sheri: You're a risk taker and we love it!

  7. Very interesting to use black rice, I think I would like the jook without mixing the white , soupy with crunchiness in the middle. Have you tried sobagome soup (buckwheat soup)? It is nice too ^_^.
    Wonder if I can find forbidden rice here. Should check the asian groceries downtown.

    Your kids eat very healthy! You are a good mommy ;)

  8. Looks good I want to try it. I usually just add the black rice to my mixed rice and grains. It's good to know a spoonful of black rice has more antioxidants than blueberries (because I just don't like blueberries) I've always felt bad not eating blueberries. Now I can feel good and just eat my rice. :D

    I love the pick in the bento...too cute!

  9. Lia, Really? I always thought black rice originated in Asia and you might have better access. I can buy it in bulk at the regular grocery here. I am leaning toward the Thermos brand too. I need something completely leakproof for my lunchbag-swinging boy!

    That sound fantastic. I find myself thinking a lot about comfort foods from childhood too! Hopefully we can help create the same memories for our little ones :) Thank you for your constant encouragement and support. Every comment from you brings a smile to my face. Mwah.

    Thank you karaimame! I am surprised how many of you prefer "watery" jook! I haven't tried sobagome! How do you make it? I do like buckwheat so I think it would be good for me...

    I'm like you. Fresh blueberries don't taste that great to me! A bowl of black rice, on the other hand -- so substantial and satisfying. Funny!

  10. Mmmm! Jook! Thank you thank you sheri! I made my first batch of jook yesterday using your recipe. I added chunks of kabocha and a small amount of diced bbq pork. It was sooooo good, and super easy to make. Similar to risotto, but not as dense. I have a new favorite to add to my repertoire. :)

  11. That's awesome Michelle!
    Great to hear :)