22 January, 2009

Mama Jok Cup

Yes, of course, what self-respecting food blogger with a taste for the unusual and a puerile sense of humor can possibly resist the allure of Mama brand Jok Cup, an instant rice porridge/soup concoction from Thailand? Not me, I can tell you, even though I know that Thais pronounce the word as "joke," not "jock."

I had no idea what to expect when I put this in my cart at the Asian supermarket, but thought it would make a decent fast lunch at my desk. Alas, it was indeed fast, but also about as contrary to my taste and preferences as I could possibly have chosen.

I hate almost all cooked cereals. Oatmeal, cream of wheat/farina, cream of rice - I loathe every milled particle of those vomitous vile masses. And Jok Cup is simply a very thin and runny form of cream of rice. ::gag::

It's as simple to make as cup noodles: all one needs to do is open the lid, pour in boiling water, and allow the cup to stand for a few minutes while the soup rehydrates. Mama makes it as convenient to prepare and eat as possible - when the the foil lid is peeled back, one finds a small plastic Asian-style spoon inside.

The ingredients are wholesome enough for an instant cup - rice flour, chicken flavoring, bits of leek and ginger root, pepper, and garlic - and I admit that the flavor wasn't so bad. But the texture. Ugh. Baby food. Nasty runny stuff, it triggers my gag reflex every time. I tried to eat it, I really did, but I just couldn't do it. This shit is not for me - I'm sticking with Mama's noodle varieties.

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3 comments:

Jess said...

Hey, where's your Asian market? I'm down in Branford...looks like you're closer to MA. :(

Dave said...

I go to A. Dong's Supermarket on Shield Street in West Hartford. I also go to a small hole-in-the-wall place called Saigon Market, on Belmont Street in Springfield.

AStanhope said...

Look for the Knorr brand version of this - in a yellow foil packet (standard Knorr colors). It's not quite instant - you've got to boil it up and stir the shit out of it.

They come with dehydrated pork or chicken or seafood. The seafood flavor is gross, imo.

Unfortunately, the Asian markets around here stopped selling it a year or two ago. I've since seen it in Thailand - Knorr still makes it for the Thai marketplace (with the label in Thai instead of English) but they may have abandoned their US customers.

My Thai wife and I have since come up with a simple recipe that is just as good.

You can play with the proportions and technique... The key ingredient, however, is plain old American "Cream of Rice" next to "Cream of Wheat" in the Quaker Oats section of the grocery store. It comes in a small box.

Ingredients:

* Cream of Rice
* a cube or two of chicken bullion
* a touch of ginger (powdered, chopped, minced or pureed...)
* water (of course)

That's the basic recipe.

The Chinese like to add minced "preserved duck egg" and chopped green onions.

Thai folks usually eat this dish with several condiments on the table - chili slices in vinegar, chopped chili in a fish sauce/lime solution, misc. pickled vegetables from cans or jars (you can always find these at any Asian grocery - things like "spicy soy radish strips"). Thai people will often stir a chicken egg into the soup just before serving.

Finally, for the record, I think the "Mama Jok Cup" tastes like shit, too.

The best Mama products are the shiny Tom Yam noodle packets AND the "creamy" Tom Yam noodle variety. My wife and I prefer the former. Our Thai-American teenager prefers the latter. "Creamy" is an inaccurate name for the flavor - it's nearly identical to the other Tom Yam, but there is perhaps a half-teaspoon of powdered milk in it which makes it slightly opaque. It doesn't thicken the broth in the least.