Korean Cooking: Pumpkin Porridge For Breakfast (호박죽)
With the coming of incessant rains I feel the urge to eat hot soups and stews, unlike Koreans who opt for makkoli (rice wine) and pajeon (pancakes).
I think it is the Ohio girl in me that expects the rains to cool the temperatures and expecting a chill I go for the stews. Let’s be honest though, in Korea the monsoon rains do not cool the temperatures and so I end up sitting at a table with hot soup in my bowl and sweat sliding down my forehead and cheeks. Still, I can’t help myself and this morning was no different. I decided to try my hand at Korean pumpkin porridge (or hobak juk) for breakfast.
The dish takes quite a bit of preparation but with only three ingredients it’s not terribly difficult to put together.
1 small pumpkin
3/4 cup short grain rice
4 Tbs brown sugar
Salt to taste
1. Clean the rice by rinsing several times and then soak the rice in water for 1 hour. Set aside while you begin to prepare the pumpkin.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half and peel it and scrape the insides clean. Cutting in half was the most difficult part for me and I got my husband to do the heavy lifting. It gets easier to slice after it’s been halved. Set the seeds aside (They won’t be used in this recipe, but are a rather tasty snack after an hour in the oven which I’ll get to later.)
4. Boil the pumpkin in 4 cups of water until they are tender. It shouldn’t take too long so keep an eye on them.
5. Keep the broth. Remove the pumpkin slices and either use a hand blender or if you’re like me and don’t have one you can use a food processer or blender to puree the pumpkin. Add the broth slowly until it’s all pureed and mixed together and pour the mixture back into the pot.
6. Rinse your blender/food processer and once the rice has been soaking for an hour it is time to puree the rice as well. Drain the rice except for a bit of water and blend it until it is a smooth and a little foamy.
8. Continuously stir the stew so that the rice doesn’t burn and when it is thick enough it’s ready to serve.
After I dished up the porridge and had my fill, which wasn’t terribly much because it is quite filling, I went back for the pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin Seeds Snack Recipe
3. Spread the seeds on a pan and put it in the oven at 300F for an hour or so. They should end up lightly toasted.