Simone Appetit: Turkey encore — it’s got me all jook up |

Simone Appetit: Turkey encore — it’s got me all jook up

Turkey jook, also called turkey congee, will breathe new life into your leftover turkey -- and you.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain |

In my household, the days following Thanksgiving sound something like that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba is reciting the numerous dishes you can make with shrimp, only substituting turkey.

“You got your turkey sandwiches, turkey tacos, Turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pie…” This was, of course, before I introduced turkey jook to the leftover bird menu.

Now, with the exception of the occasional request for the turkey reuben (grilled turkey, Swiss and sauerkraut on rye with Russian dressing) it’s all about the jook. Little known fact: AC/DC was performing in Asia when they wrote their classic “You shook me all night long,” the chorus originally resounding with “Yeah you! Jook me all night long!) Yes, I’m jooking.

This rice porridge originated in Asia and in my travels throughout that part of the world I have encountered many variations, but I am hooked on a jook (stop me!) my father makes using ginger, white pepper and brown rice. It is my favorite post-Thanksgiving porridge — also my only post-Thanksgiving porridge.

Though I did discover Jook while traveling the equator and other tropical climes, for this goldie locks (sounds so much better than gray locks) it really hits the spot on a brisk fall or winter day.

Recipe: Turkey jook

This is supposed to be an easy-does-it, very thick soup. I was at a New Year’s party in Malaysia where the hostess started preparing the Jook right after dinner was finished so it would be ready just after midnight. Apparently it is a great hangover cure. It did not work for me.


Carcass of one large turkey, with most of the meat stripped off

4 celery stalks, chopped, plus the celery tops

1 large chopped round onion or two medium onions

4-5 slices of fresh ginger (about 1/4-inch thick), peeled

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 chicken bullion cubes

1 bunch parsley, chopped

2 cups brown rice

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tsp dried cilantro

1 tbls. sesame oil

3 medium carrots, chopped

1 cup straw mushroom whole, or, if using large mushrooms, chopped

Salt and white pepper to taste


Put the carcass in the pot and cover with water. Heat on high until the water comes to a full boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer with the lid on until most of the meat scraps fall off the carcass, about 3 hours.

Then, using a slotted spoon or strainer, take all the bones and the rest of the solids out (not the turkey meat) and discard them.

Next, add everything else. Let the soup cook, covered, for at least another hour or more, simmering on a very low heat, until the rice is fully cooked and the soup starts to thicken (let it thicken).

This soup gets better every day. Just bring it to a full boil every day for a minute or two. The rice will soak up a lot of liquid so you might wish to add more chicken broth, but it is supposed to be a bit thick.

Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news @

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