Thai Foods Ep.10


by Thomas M. Tillman
Although “rice porridge” doesn’t sound like the most exciting or enticing dish, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually incredibly delicious. The boyfriend has always talked about rice porridge, known as jok in Thai, as a great breakfast food.  It was usually brought up in the context of a mild, easy-on-the-stomach kind of dish, perfect for young kids, the elderly, and especially the sick.  Never having tasted it before, I always imaged jok to be a thin, lifeless, and completely bland rice soup, kind of like the equivalent of a dry piece of toast. Fortunately, my initial image of jok couldn’t have been further from the truth.  This rice porridge is fantastically flavorful, while being warm and comforting at the same time.   It’s made of broken jasmine rice that is cooked with water until it takes on a soft, slightly thick consistency.  To this base, we add ground pork seasoned with generous amounts of fresh garlic and ginger.  The tender pork provides substance and depth of flavor while the fresh herbs bring a wonderful aroma and slight spice to the rice.  The dish is then seasoned with thin soy sauce and/or fish sauce to create a rice porridge that is as savory and flavorful as it is comforting. Jok is typically topped with green onions, white pepper powder, and additional finely sliced ginger, along with a soft boiled egg.  The boyfriend also really likes adding some dried shrimp that have been deep fried on top, as they provide an element of crunch as well as an umami-like saltiness, although this isn’t exactly traditional. I was blown away by my first taste of this lovely rice porridge, and have been a huge fan of it ever since.  And as soon as I realized how delicious this rice porridge is, I kicked myself for shying away from it for so long… So, if you’ve never had jok before, I encourage you to make it now!  I promise – you won’t be disappointed. INGREDIENTS

Rice Porridge:

  • 1 cup broken jasmine rice
  • 10 + cups water
  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger chopped finely
  • 3 Tablespoons fish sauce divided
  • 3 Tablespoons thin soy sauce divided


  • 2 Tablespoons green onions sliced thinly
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger sliced thinly
  • 2 Tablespoons dried shrimp deep fried
  • dash of ground white pepper


  • Add broken jasmine rice to a large pot and rinse. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a gentle boil. Once the rice has reached a boil, turn the heat down to medium low.
  • While the rice is cooking, heat a separate pan over medium high heat. Add a small amount of mild-flavored oil and then cook the ground pork with the finely chopped garlic and ginger. When the pork is cooked through, add 1 Tablespoon each of fish sauce and soy sauce, stir to incorporate, and remove from heat. Add the cooked pork mixture to the cooking rice.
  • Stir the rice and assess its consistency. If it is becoming too thick, add additional water. I tend to add at least 4 additional cups of water after 1 hour of cooking (for a total of 10 cups). The longer it cooks, the more water you will need, and the creamier the consistency will be.
  • Once the rice porridge is as creamy as you like, add the remaining 2 Tablespoons soy sauce and fish sauce. Taste and adjust as needed.
  • Scoop single servings of jok into bowls and top with sliced green onions and ginger, a dash of white pepper powder, deep fried dried shrimp, or any other toppings you like. Enjoy!