What Is Rice Gruel?

Written by sarah clark
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What Is Rice Gruel?
Thickened rice is the base of traditional rice gruel. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Rice gruel is made by thickening rice into a porridge. It is a traditional dish of China, India and other Asian countries. Rice gruel can be eaten alone or with other flavourful ingredients. It also functions as a therapeutic food for sick people and as a special food for certain religious holidays in some countries

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Basic Rice Gruel

Rice gruel is a thick dish that is similar to porridge. It is made by cooking white, long grain or glutinous rice in water, stock or both. One recipe suggests that you combine 3 cups water, 3 cups chicken stock, 1/4 cup glutinous rice and 1 cup white rice. It then suggests that you bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for about one hour, or until the mixture has thickened. This recipe produces enough rice gruel for four servings.

Nutritional Value

Rice gruel provides its consumers with some nutritional value. A generalised estimation of the dish, also called Chinese rice porridge, shows that a cup of rice gruel contains seven grams protein, which is about 14 per cent of a person's daily protein needs. It also provides 96 calories, two grams of fat and 10 grams carbohydrates. Rice gruel has 312 milligrams sodium, or about 13 per cent of a person's daily sodium needs. The dish does not contain any fibre, sugars or essential vitamins.

Added Ingredients

Rice gruel is a relatively plain dish that lacks extra flavours or ingredients in its most basic form. However, it is versatile enough to use in other dishes or have ingredients added to it to enhance its flavour. It can be combined with cooked chicken, beef, ham, pork or shrimp. You can also add mushrooms, ginger, turnips, spring onions, tea melon slices, coriander and other types of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to plain rice gruel.

Asian Cuisine

Variations of rice gruel are served throughout Asia, with different twists for each country. In China rice gruel is called "congee" or "jook." Japan's versions of the gruel include okayu and zosui, which is made from leftover cooked rice. Koreans pulverise rice before cooking their variation, called "jott jook." Bhutan's tukpa and southern India's kanji are versions of rice gruel that are preferred breakfast foods. Other countries vary their cooking techniques, serving temperatures and added ingredients.

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