On Donjinal (December 22): Patjuk, a red bean porridge is cooked and eaten throughout Korea. It’s popularity stems from the seasonal scarcity of fresh meat and vegetables as a mid-winter food which eventually sustained as an entire meal minus all the side dishes one would normally consume during other seasons.
A popular mysterious belief is that the food drives evil spirits away, brings good harvest in the coming months, and of course good luck. It is typically served with glutinous rice flour cakes formed into small balls that resemble a quail’s egg.
I tweaked my recipe from the traditional method by incorporating cooked rice instead of using raw grain rice to cook the porridge. After all- tis the holidays and less work means more time for other things!
1 cup dry red beans
1 cup cooked medium grain glutinous rice
100 grams glutinous rice flour
6 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoons salt
6-8 cups water
Soak red beans overnight in a medium bowl with water (about 3-4 cups) to cover. Drain water before use.
Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Add red beans and allow to cook for about an hour uncovered on a simmer.
Stir in cooked rice, season with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour on a simmer. Mash with a potato masher and stir in steamed rice cakes.
The beauty of this dish is that you can buy your rice cakes instead of making them yourself (which is a labor of love in itself). If you’re like me, you’ve made the rice cakes a few weeks in advance and stored them in the freezer. They’re actually very easy to make, and shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes total prep and cooking time.
Combine salt and flour.
Have your boiling water handy and stir in one tablespoon at a time. Your dough shouldn’t be too mushy or too dry.
Knead your dough for about 5 minutes. Form into small quail size balls and steam them for about 15 minutes until they are completely cooked through. The center should be moist, not dry.
Transfer rice cakes into red bean porridge and serve with kimchi or other banchan on the side. You can also enjoy this on its own!