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Korean Porridges: Soothing Juk Recipes

Korean Porridges: Soothing Juk Recipes

Korean Porridges: Soothing Juk Recipes

Comfort in a Bowl: Discovering the Warmth of Korean Porridge

As the crisp, cool air of winter settles in around Boston, there’s nothing quite as soothing and comforting as a steaming bowl of Korean porridge, known as juk. Growing up, the mere mention of my grandmother’s homemade dak juk (chicken porridge) was enough to make my mouth water with anticipation. The velvety texture, the savory aroma, and the nourishing warmth it provided – it was like a hug in a bowl.

[1] Porridge, or “juk” in Korean, is an exceptionally popular dish across many Asian cultures. Each region has its own unique spin, whether it’s the chicken-based dak juk, the sweet and creamy pumpkin hobak juk, or the earthy pine nut jatjuk. But what unites them all is their ability to nourish the body and soothe the soul. As Jean Choi from What Great Grandma Ate describes, “Dishes like Dak Juk and Chicken Congee are really a soup of love.”[1]

A Versatile Comfort Food

One of the things I love most about Korean porridge is its versatility. It can be a comforting breakfast, a light lunch, or a restorative meal when you’re feeling under the weather. [2] As Seoyoung Jung from Korean Bapsang notes, porridge is “commonly served to the ill, elderly, and babies” due to its easy digestibility and nourishing qualities.[2] But don’t let that fool you – juk is enjoyed by people of all ages and health statuses.

[3] In fact, as Serious Eats contributor Vicky Wasik explains, the mild flavor and soft texture of juk make it the perfect comfort food, “for feeding the sick, the elderly, and babies, but it’s definitely not limited to those groups—anyone can enjoy a warming bowl of juk at any time.”[3] Whether you’re battling a cold, craving a cozy meal on a chilly day, or simply looking for a satisfying dish, Korean porridge is sure to hit the spot.

Unlocking the Secrets of Juk

While the concept of porridge may seem simple, there are a few key techniques that elevate a good juk into a truly extraordinary one. [4] As Olivia Yi from Olivia Yi explains, the secret lies in the quality of the broth, the fine chopping of the vegetables, and the crucial step of sautéing the rice in oil before adding the liquid.[4] These details may seem small, but they make all the difference in creating a porridge that is both creamy and “still alive” with distinct grains of rice.

[5] Another important factor is the type of rice used. [5] Traditionally, Korean porridge is made with short-grain rice or sweet rice, which lend a creamier, stickier texture compared to long-grain varieties. [5] As Olivia Yi notes, “Sweet rice (aka glutinous rice, chapssal 찹쌀 in Korean) gives the porridge a creamier texture and a sweeter taste.”[5] The rice is often toasted in sesame oil before simmering, adding a delightful nutty flavor to the final dish.

Endless Variations

While the classic dak juk is undoubtedly a beloved favorite, the world of Korean porridge extends far beyond just chicken. [2] As Seoyoung Jung from Korean Bapsang explains, “Along with this chicken porridge (dakjuk), red bean (patjuk,팥죽), pumpkin (hobakjuk, 호박죽), pine nuts (jatjuk, 잣죽) and abalone (jeonbokjuk, 전복죽) porridges are some of the popular varieties.”[2]

Each variation offers its own unique flavor profile and nutritional benefits. The rich, earthy patjuk is perfect for a cozy winter morning, while the vibrant hobakjuk showcases the sweetness of fresh pumpkin. [6] For a truly decadent treat, the jeonbokjuk, made with premium abalone, is a luxurious indulgence.[6]

No matter which type of juk you choose, the end result is always a comforting, nourishing dish that warms the body and soothes the soul. It’s the kind of food that transcends cultures and generations, uniting us through the universal language of wholesome, heartwarming sustenance.

Crafting Your Own Juk Masterpiece

Ready to embark on your own Korean porridge journey? [1] The process is surprisingly straightforward, as Jean Choi from What Great Grandma Ate explains: “All it takes is 30 minutes to cook up this amazing and comforting chicken congee recipe.”[1] The key is to have a stash of leftover rice on hand, which can dramatically cut down the cooking time.

[4] For a classic dak juk, start by simmering a whole chicken or some bone-in chicken pieces in water with aromatic veggies like onion, garlic, and ginger. [4] Once the chicken is cooked through, shred the meat and reserve the flavorful broth. [4] Then, sauté the rice in sesame oil before slowly simmering it in the chicken broth, along with finely chopped vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. [4]

[5] Alternatively, you can use store-bought chicken stock and leftover roasted chicken to streamline the process even further. [5] As Olivia Yi suggests, “The leftovers from a store-bought rotisserie chicken work as well.”[5] The key is to maximize the flavor by using high-quality ingredients and paying attention to the small details.

No matter which route you choose, the end result will be a comforting, nourishing bowl of juk that’s sure to warm your soul. So grab your apron, fire up the stove, and get ready to embark on a delicious journey through the world of Korean porridge. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you.


Korean porridge, or juk, is a true testament to the power of simple, wholesome ingredients. [3] As Serious Eats’ Vicky Wasik eloquently puts it, “This is a dish of few ingredients, after all, so the ones you use really show through.”[3] With its soothing texture, nourishing qualities, and endless flavor variations, juk is the ultimate comfort food for any time of year.

Whether you’re seeking a warming breakfast, a light lunch, or a restorative meal when you’re feeling under the weather, a bowl of Korean porridge is sure to hit the spot. [1] As Jean Choi from What Great Grandma Ate says, “Whatever you call it, Dak Juk, Chicken Congee, Korean Rice Porridge with Chicken, or any other name, I hope you feel the love in this dish like I do!”[1]

So why not step outside your culinary comfort zone and explore the rich, comforting world of Korean porridge? With a little time and care, you can craft your own juk masterpiece that will nourish both your body and your soul. Grab a spoon, dig in, and let the soothing warmth of this timeless dish transport you to a cozy, comforting place.


[1] Choi, J. (2023, January 11). Leftover Rice Dak Juk (Korean Rice Porridge). What Great Grandma Ate.

[2] Jung, S. (n.d.). Dakjuk (Korean Chicken Porridge). Korean Bapsang.

[3] Wasik, V. (2018, December 16). Korean Chicken and Rice Porridge (Dak Juk). Serious Eats.

[4] Yi, O. (n.d.). Korean Rice Porridge. Olivia Yi.

[5] Oh, D. (2020, October 21). Dakjuk – Korean Chicken Rice Porridge. FutureDish.

[6] Cho, C. (2023, December 9). Dak Juk or Chicken Porridge is a comfort food for many Asians. Chef Chris Cho.