I know it seems like all we eat around here is cake and cookies and pie, but we do have healthy food too, I promise! My suitemates and I actually cook and eat dinner together every night. Our meal usually consists of brown rice, a Korean main dish, and a HUGE salad with every single vegetable we have in our fridge. Our friends tell us we eat like rabbits, but we have to since we pig out on sweets so much!
For lunch I usually eat whole grain bread with almond butter or yogurt and granola, but another dish I like to make pretty often is hobak jook, or Korean squash porridge. I don’t like to spend too much time cooking meals during the day, especially when I have classes, but I am willing to make an exception for hobak jook. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I would definitely pick this dish!
Also, this porridge is really healthy, so I can eat as much as I want without feeling guilty. Winter squash is fairly low in calories, and is chock full of nutrients such as several B vitamins, vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and folate. AND it’s yummy! I just love squash. You can use any type of winter squash for this porridge. I used acorn squash, but I have also made hobak jook with kabocha and butternut squash with excellent results. Sugar pumpkins would work too!
But the best part about hobak jook are the little rice cake balls. They are small and chewy, and provide a nice contrast to the smooth, velvety texture of the porridge. They are a little time consuming (annoying) to make, so sometimes I just leave them out, but they really make this dish. If you can bully someone into rolling the rice cake balls with you, it will go A LOT faster.
Usually hobak jook is served warm, but I also like to eat it straight out of the fridge too. Traditionally, this porridge is garnished with pine nuts, but they are ridiculously expensive, so I never buy them. Sometimes I’ll add some dried cranberries, a dollop of sweet red bean paste, or a splash of milk, but honestly, it’s really unnecessary. Hobak jook tastes great plain. Simple and delicious :)
Korean Squash Porridge
Source: adapted from Maangchi
- 1 large acorn squash (or other winter squash)
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (mochiko)
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds with a spoon. Place cut side down on baking sheet and roast in oven for 40-60 minutes, or until tender.
3. While squash is roasting, combine 1/2 cup sweet rice flour and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and mixwith a spoon. When cool enough to handle, knead with your hand until a dough forms. Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for about 20 minutes.
4. Pinch off a small piece of dough, a little larger than a soybean, and roll it into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough. Keep the dough wrapped while making the rice balls to prevent it from drying out.
5. When squash is done roasting and cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and place in a food processor. Puree until smooth, about one minute.
6. Place pureed squash and 1 cup of water in a pot over medium heat. (You can add more water to porridge to bring it to desired consistency). When mixture boils, add rice cake balls to pot and cook for a few more minutes. Stir frequently to prevent rice cakes from sticking to bottom of pot. Rice cakes are done when they float to surface of the porridge.
8. Remove porridge from heat; stir in honey and salt.