From the iconic and lovable dragon, Mushu, to the memorable song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, Mulan has made its mark as a staple of Disney animation since its release in 1998. The Ballad of Mulan originated during the Northern Wei Dynasty (around 400 A.D.). While originally passed down as oral tradition, the story was finally written down during the era of the Tang Dynasty. However, how accurate is the Disney adaptation from the actual folk heroine in Chinese legend? Let’s break it down!
Part I: Breaking Down History
Part II: Recreating History – Chinese Congee (jūk) [Serves 4 individuals]
Now that we broke down the historical accuracy of Mulan, why don’t we recreate a bit of history! Congee, or jūk (which kinda sounds like “jook”), is a staple dish in China with its origin reaching back as far as the Zhou Dynasty (approximately 1000 B.C.). Normally served as a plain rice porridge of varying consistencies, a savory version of the dish can be made with salt, ginger, and various meats. Here is a basic recipe to get you started:
- Wash the rice (approximately 3 washes is good).
- Boil the water and add the rice.
- Stir until it starts to boil, but stop stirring once the water boils again to prevent the rice from burning.
- Cover the pot and cook at medium heat for 25 minutes.
- Whisk the rice rapidly for another 3 minutes until the rice is the consistency of porridge.
- Add the chicken and stir for 2 minutes to cook it in the congee.
- Add the salt and ginger and stir for 30 seconds.
- Serve and add cilantro and green onions as a garnish.