Garlic Ginger Jook: a Foodie Flu Shot

Ward off the common cold? Yes jook-an!

Photos by Leah Lizarondo

When I was growing up, chicken soup was not the be-all, end-all answer to every malady. It was “lugaw” (loo-gao)  — sometimes called jook, congee or rice porridge, depending on which Asian country you’re in. The closest analogs I can think of are oatmeal or a risotto that’s a little more brothy.

Flavored with ginger and garlic, it’s the ideal savory comfort food to fortify your body (and soul) in this cold weather. Garlic is well-known for its immunity-boosting powers. I use it everyday, and according to the New York Times, “In such countries as Italy, Korea and China, where a garlic-rich diet seems to be protective against disease, per capita consumption is as high as eight to 12 cloves per day.” To learn more about garlic’s potency, read this.

Ginger is a magic rhizome in Asian cooking that’s not only used for flavor but also as a medicinal ingredient that’s used to cure anything from an upset stomach to arthritis and cancer. It also has immunity-boosting properties that will help you ward off winter colds. More interestingly, ginger is a “warming” food that helps promote sweating, which helps us recover from colds and flus.

I use a lot of both in my porridge. And then top it with more garlic! I swear by it.

Jook is also made with rice — often white rice (although in this recipe I use a mix of both white and brown, and even suggest adding quinoa for more fiber) — which makes it easy to digest. This is important when you want to save your body’s energy toward fighting off the flu.

Try this the next time winter hits you with a cold or if you just want something warming and comforting this season.

Ginger: your immune system's best friend


  Garlic Ginger Jook

Yield: 4 servings (I typically double this)

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 inch piece of ginger , sliced thinly
  • 4-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup short grain brown rice
  • ½ cup white rice (I use sushi rice or Arborio rice)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped greens (I use kale or collards) – optional
  • 2 cups cubed winter squash – optional
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa – optional
  • Optional toppings:
  • Chopped garlic crisp-fried in olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • Chopped scallions or chives
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Lemon juice

1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, saute ginger, garlic and onions in oil, for about 2 minutes, until onions are soft.
2. Add the rice and sauté for a few seconds, until rice is coated.
3. Add the broth (and squash, if using), stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered.
4. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.
5. Once the rice is completely soft, add the greens and cooked quinoa if using, and cook for about 5 minutes more, adding water to get to desired consistency.
6. Serve with toppings on the side.

Stay healthy, ya'll.

Categories: Brazen Kitchen