I’ve been really missing home lately. Because I go to school on the other side of the country, I only get to go home twice a year, for winter and summer breaks. However, this year, I decided to spend a disgustingly hot and humid summer in Cleveland to work and study for the GRE, so I haven’t been home for nearly a year. I never really get homesick, but I’m really looking forward to being back in Portland for the holidays.
My parents and siblings have visited me a couple of times in Cleveland, though, which was nice. They always bring me lots of awesome gifts, including my mom’s special homemade treats like jam and baked goods. This week, I received a care package from home that was stuffed with fresh persimmons, as well as dried persimmons and apples that my mom dehydrated herself, hazelnuts that my mom gathered from a farm near our house, and some of my favorite teas.
These care packages are always appreciated because I know it takes a lot of time and thought to prepare them. I love getting these delicious little bites of home and I can’t wait to be back in Portland so I can devour even more of my mom’s yummy food. I think the reason that I’ve been posting more Korean recipes lately is because they remind me of home. My mom makes scrumptious hobak jook, and baking with goguma was partially inspired by my mom’s delicious goguma cheesecake.
Whenever I go home, my mom makes a HUGE batch of yak shik because she knows how much I like it. Yak shik is Korean sweet rice pudding, and it literally means “medicine food.” It’s wonderfully chewy (love!), sticky, and full of fall flavors. I make my yak shik with raisins and chestnuts, but dried dates and pine nuts are commonly used ingredients as well. I love this recipe because all you have to do is mix together the ingredients and throw them into the rice cooker. So easy!
The recipe I use is almost identical to my mom’s, but for some reason, it always tastes so much better when she makes it for me. I can’t wait to be back in my kitchen at home drinking tea and eating yak shik to my heart’s content 🙂
Korean Steamed Sweet Rice Pudding – Yak Shik
Source: adapted from Migi’s Kitchen
- 2 cups sweet rice (chapssal)
- 2/3 cup peeled, chopped chestnuts
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Wash sweet rice and soak in water for at least six hours, or overnight.
2. Drain sweet rice and combine with chestnuts and raisins in rice cooker.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together water, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ground cinnamon. Pour mixture into rice cooker with sweet rice, chestnuts and raisins, and stir well.
4. Close rice cooker and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. When the yak shik is finished cooking, let it sit on the “keep warm” setting for 5-10 minutes.
5. Mix the yak shik well, then transfer it to a 13×9 inch glass baking dish. Press mixture evenly into baking dish and cool completely before cutting into squares.