Many people think the Korean word hobak (호박) means pumpkin, but it actually means squash. A pumpkin is really a kind of squash. So in Korea, we make this recipe with pumpkins. But here in the West I can’t easily find the kind of pumpkin Koreans use for hobakjuk. So I learned to make it out of butternut squash, which is available everywhere here.
The recipe for Hobakjuk needs only a few ingredients. But making the small rice cake balls takes some time. I recommend you make the rice cake balls with your family members or friends together. Whenever I make this porridge, I remember my grandmother and my family members. We all made the rice cake balls together. I miss them and all of us who had a great time while making the rice cake balls!
How to prepare butternut squash:
- Wash the exterior of the butternut squashes in cold water.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy stuff with a spoon.
- Place the butternut squash in a large pot. Pour 3 cups of water over them and bring to a boil over medium high heat for 30 minutes, until the contents become soft.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool down.
- When it’s cooled down, scrape the cooked insides out with a spoon.
- Place 3 cups of the cooked squash insides into a large pot and add 4 or 5 cups of water and boil
Make rice cake balls:
- Boil some water.
- Make rice cake dough by mixing 2 cups of sweet rice flour, ¼ ts salt, and ¾ cup of hot water. Mix it up with a wooden spoon at first, and then knead it for a few minutes with your hand after it cools down.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set it aside for about 20-30 minutes.
- Put about 3 tbs of sweet rice flour into a large bowl (this will prevent the rice cake balls from sticking together).
- Take a bit of dough and roll a rice cake ball (the size should be a little larger than soy bean). Put it into the bowl with the sweet rice flour.
*tip: to prevent the dough from getting dried out, always wrap the dough in plastic wrap while you are making the rice cake balls
Let’s make porridge!
- When the mixture of squash and water starts boiling, add the rice cake balls to the pot. Stir it with a wooden spoon and cook it for a few more minutes.
*tip: when it’s cooked, all the rice cake balls will be floating on the surface of the porridge.
- Turn off the heat and add 1 ts salt and ¼ cup of sugar and stir it for a few seconds before serving.
Yayee! You made butternut squash porridge!