Jeonbok juk (전복죽, abalone porridge), like many kinds of juk, or porridge, is especially good for soothing the stomach and the soul. With abalone, considered by many to be a pricey and hard-to-get ingredient, this porridge becomes the kind of dish you might cook for your parents if they’re not feeling well. We say: Feed it to anyone special, including yourself. It doesn’t hurt to treat yourself well every once in a while.
Note: You can add other ingredients to your jeonbok juk as you see fit. In these photos, I’ve added naengi (냉이, shepherd’s purse shoots), which is great in the spring. Blanch and chop them ahead of time, and add them late in the simmering so that they keep their scent.
2 cups white rice, soaked in water for about 2 hours and drained
8 cups water
the innards from 10 abalone
4 to 5 fresh, shucked and sliced abalone
optional: 80g (around 2 handfuls) blanched, chopped naengi
1 tbsp sesame oil
ground roasted sesame seed to garnish
salt to taste
1. Use a knife or kitchen scissors, cut the abalone innards into small pieces. You have to take apart the gut—otherwise, if it is cooked whole, you won’t be able to get that nice green color when your porridge is done, and you’ll also be missing the key flavor point of this dish.
2. Mix the soaked and drained rice thoroughly with the innards.
3. Place the rice into a pot, add sesame oil, sauté on medium high heat for about 5 minutes (one way to think of it: until each grain of rice has touched the pot at least once). Add water. Let simmer on medium low heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning the bottom.
[If you’re adding naengi to your juk, now’s the time to do it: Wait until the rice is about 2/3 done, around 20 or so minutes, before stirring it in.]
4. When your rice becomes plump and there is not too much water left, it’s ready. This may take 30 or more minutes.
5. Serve hot and unsalted—instead, put a little salt on the table for guests to season their bowls individual. If you season this porridge in advance, the texture becomes too loose. Garnish with ground roasted sesame seed.
We served this porridge at our spring workshop in March 2016.