A Definitive Guide to Korean Porridge

Compared to trendy green juices and kale salads, rice porridge may not immediately come to mind as a glamorous health food. But do not be fooled. Rice porridge is actually a quintessential and nutritious remedy in Traditional Eastern Medicine for troubled digestive systems. 

In Korean culture, savory rice porridge is extremely common for breakfast or a light meal. Herbs and superfood ingredients like ginger, sesame oil and kimchi are often incorporated to enhance its medicinal properties and address various health concerns. 

Made with rice and what is already in the pantry, rice porridge is a terrific, healthy comfort food that fits any budget. You will definitely want to add a warm bowl of rice porridge to the rotation of easy, satisfying meals, inspired by Korean cuisine. 

Why it’s Great for Digestion

Rice porridge is made with a high ratio of water to grain and then simmered until soft and creamy, making it the ideal combination of being easy to digest and nourishing for the GI tract. Because it’s gentle on the digestive system, rice porridge is a great dish for babies, people with gastro-intestinal issues and long-term ailments. 

How it Nourishes Qi

Rooted in Traditional Eastern Medicine is the concept that the body is a complex system, connected by the body’s blood and Qi. Illness and pain are caused by a disruption of Qi and imbalances in the body. By healing and balancing the digestive system, rice porridge supports Qi and as a result, overall health and wellbeing. 

Diving deeper into Traditional Eastern Medicine, rice porridge assists the organs in functioning properly. The stomach in Western Cultures is actually more akin to the spleen in Traditional Eastern Medicine. According to this eastern philosophy, the digestion of food occurs in the spleen. For the spleen to effectively break down food, it needs to be heated. In Traditional Eastern Medicine, the kidney supplies that warmth the digestive system needs. Rice porridge provides this nourishment, supporting both the kidney and spleen, both essential to the body. 

Making It

Rice porridge can be made with short grain rice or mixed rice. Traditionally, the rice is cooked in sesame oil before adding liquid. Sesame oil is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine and also has a bounty of impressive health benefits, but it adds a deep and delicious nutty flavor to the porridge. 

There are many variations of Korean porridge like Jook Korean Porridge, and the healing benefits can be enhanced with different vegetables, herbs and meats. Because the water from the rice strengthens the spleen, additional ingredients can be better absorbed by the body. 

Common ingredients to flavor the porridge include different types of broth, ginger, garlic and coconut milk. Chopped vegetables can be incorporated into the porridge or added as garnishes, adding delightful flavors and health benefits. Options include bean sprouts, carrots, celery, green onions, mushrooms and truly any vegetables already in the fridge. 

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