Korean glutinous rice balls in red bean porridge

Just came across this wonderful food blog, 小小米桶的寫食廚房, by a Taiwanese housewife and published food writer, whose nickname is “Xiao Xiao Mitong” (Tiny Rice Tub). The large collection of recipes, including Japanese and Korean ones, is accompanied by plenty of stunning photographs, and annotated with Mitong’s cooking comments.

With Winter Solstice just a couple of days away, the latest posting is for a Korean variation on Chinese tang yuan in red bean soup. Mitong also has a numerous archived recipes for glutinous rice balls, which are also traditionally eaten on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, Yuan Xiao. See her 2007 recipes here and 2006 ones here. They include filled glutinous rice balls, Hakka savoury tang yuan as well as Japanese-style ones.

Click here to see Mitong’s instructions (in Chinese) and her her delectable photographs for Winter Solstice red bean porridge 冬至紅豆粥 / 동지팥죽.

Unlike the tang yuan in red bean soup I made earlier, the red bean here has been combined with a porridge of glutinous rice (cooked in the liquid from cooking the red beans), and the tang yuan added to this mixture. See also my other postings on glutinous rice balls.

22/12/07 update: Mitong has very kindly allowed me to put up my English translation of her recipe; just in time for Dong Zhi 冬至 today!

Red Bean Porridge with Glutinous Rice Balls

NB 1: The photographs here show a chunky red bean soup, however the in the original Korean recipe, the red bean soup is meant to be a smooth paste. Use a blender to pulverise the cooked beans if you prefer a smooth texture.

NB 2: Do not add anything to the red beans as they are cooking. When serving, you can add a bit of salt or sugar to taste into the serving bowl.

Serves 2-3

Red beans…. 2 cups
Glutinous rice (a.k.a. Japanese sweet rice)…. 1 cup [can substitute with 1/2 glutinous rice, 1/2 regular white rice]
Brown or dark brown sugar OR salt (to taste)
Glutinous rice flour…. 1 cup
Warm water… enough to form the glutinous rice flour into balls

1. Wash red beans, soak in clean water for half a day. Put in pot and boil until soft. Separate the cooked beans from the liquid. Process the red beans into a paste by passing through a sieve or using a blender. The smoother the better.

2. Wash the glutinous rice, soak in water for 2 hrs. Then put into the red bean liquid from (1) and boil until the rice is thoroughly cooked. Occasionally check on the rice while it is cooking and add more water if required so as to control the consistency.

3. When the glutinous rice has been cooked to a porridge consistency, add it to the red bean paste and mix evenly.

4. While the rice porridge is cooking, prepare the glutinous rice balls by mixing the glutinous rice balls with a bit of warm water. You may wish to add 1 small spoonful of ginger juice to the warm water as this will enhance the flavour of the glutinous rice balls.

5. Finally, cook the glutinous rice balls by putting them into the red bean porridge mixture and heating up the porridge. Alternatively, you can cook the glutinous rice balls in a separate pot of hot water, then add them to the red bean porridge.

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