Almost all my Chinese friends and the elderly family members told me about making porridge or “jok” in Chinese for babies and toddlers. Because Caleb went from puree straight to eating chicken chunks, I didn’t bother to make him any porridge. Why filling up the belly with rice instead of chicken meat since there’s a lot more nutrition in chicken? For the longest time, I gave Caleb chicken and a vegetable for dinner. Occasionally, but rarely, rice was part of his dinner. And then I discovered the time-saving benefit of making porridge using rice cooker, I then tossed into the rice cooker ground butternut squash and a little bit of rice. This lasted until I realized Caleb has been missing out on red meat. My parents have been nagging me about giving Caleb red meat because they worried that he didn’t get enough iron. They also worried that chicken chunks are harder for the little belly to digest. So here I am, feeling like making a step backwards, making Caleb some real “jok”. But as it turned out, not only Caleb likes it (that’s always a thumbs up for me), the method is so versatile that I can mix in any meat and vegetable. It can be served as one dish meal which is easier to feed.
Since I was pretty much clueless on how to make jok for toddlers, I asked family members, friends, and even random Chinese moms that I encountered. They all told me the same thing – make a broth using pork bones and/or chicken, then using that broth to make the jok base, and add ground meat and vegetable. Ah ha! so the essence of baby jok is the broth. Why not packaged organic broth? Well, in this case, it is not so much of the flavor, it’s the calcium from the bones that been boiled for a long time. So it’s like calcium fortified! So far, I find it easier to make a big pot of broth each week and make a small amount of jok each day adding different meat and vegetable. Because Caleb’s now able to take more chunky and thicker food, the consistency of jok is really like a soft cooked rice…think risotto.
2 lbs of pork bones
1 quarter of a chicken (or a few drumsticks if you have that instead)
however much water to cover the ingredients and to fill up the pot
a few pinches of salt
– Before start making the broth, boil all the ingredients in hot water for 10-15 minutes to get rid of the fat and strong porky smell. Rinse all the ingredients cold water. Put them all back to the pot and boil for 3-4 hours or until the liquid turns milky white. You will need to add boiling water during the process. (Tip: cool down the broth into the fridge over night. You can skim off the fat on top the next day.)
Soft Cooked Rice (Caleb’s 1 meal portion..which is not a lot. Feel free to adjust accordingly):
2 tablespoon of rice
2 cups of broth
1/4 cup of chopped spinach
1/8 cup of mash cooked salmon (I used wild salmon which is a safer choice than the farm ones and steam cooked it.)
– Cook the rice with broth. Check and stir frequently for softness and consistency. Add salmon and spinach when the rice reach to desire consistency.
Fish – wild salmon, wild cod, sole, tilapia