Sikhye is a traditional Korean beverage made with barley malt powder (yeotkiereum 엿기름) and rice. The taste is sweet and cold, with its own particular subtle flavor coming from barley malt. I love sikhye because of the flavor! Without the flavor, it will be like a bowl of sweet water and rice.
It’s known to help your digestion which is true for me! After eating lots of delicious food on festival days, I would drink sikhye for a dessert and for my digestion. I believe it cures my clogged stomach! : )
I am surprised by the fact that so many people have requested this beverage. I had thought Sikhye would be one of a few dishes not likable to people from another culture. This was my thought when I was requested this food for the first time: “Wha? Sikhye is popular to people from other cultures, too?”
I found that most people who requested this food had known about it. They say, “Maangchi, what’s the white drink served at a Korean restaurant? If you can, please post the recipe.”
“Whenever I go to my favorite Korean restaurant, they serve delicious cold rice drink, can I request the recipe?”
When I lived in Korea, one day I gave sikhye to my American friend. I remember what he said at that time after sipping a little sikhye. “oops! What is this!… it looks like cereal with sugar water and the taste is kinda weird!” : ) I thought it was very funny, I could put myself into his shoes. I may feel the same way if I taste something very new to me and I find it’s totally different from the taste that I expect!
Don’t expect the taste of a bowl of cereal with sugar water!
Here’s the recipe:
- Put 1 package of barley malted powder (1 pound) in a large basin and mix it with 24-30 cups of water. Let it sit for 2 hours until all the dregs are sunk to the bottom of the basin.
- Make rice and set it aside.
How to make rice using a pot:
- Wash 2 cups of short grain rice. Drain and put in a pot with thick bottom.
- Pour 1.5 cups of water into the pot. Soak it for an hour and close the lid.
- Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Open the lid and turn the rice over with a rice scoop or spoon.
- Simmer it over low heat for another 10 minutes! You will have nice fluffy rice!
- When the mixed liquid of barley malt powder and water is completely separated (it takes about 1.5 hours-2 hours), pour the clear liquid from the top into your rice cooker.
*tip: if you have leftover clear liquid, save it and keep it in the refrigerator. We are going to use it later.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and the cooked rice.
- Stir it and set the rice cooker’s function to “warm” for 4- 5 hours. Be sure not to set it “cook.” The reason for setting it to “warm” is to ferment the rice so that the starch from the rice converts to sugar. If you boil it, the fermenting process will stop.
- Throw out the sediments sunk on the bottom of the basin.
- 4 hours later, check to see if the rice is fermented or not. When the rice is fermented, a few grains of rice will float to the top of liquid.
- Strain the rice and rinse it in cold water. Set it aside in a container. Add a little cold water and keep it in the refrigerator.
- Transfer the liquid from the rice cooker to a large pot, and add the saved leftover liquid from #3 if you have it.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and bring to a boil.
* tip: you can add more water and sugar if you want.
- Remove the foam floating on the top of the boiling liquid.
- Cool it down and transfer it to a glass jar or bottle and keep it refrigerator.
- To eat, serve it cold in a bowl with a scoop of rice from #8. Drop in a few pine nuts, just before serving it.
* tip: you can add crushed ice made with sikhye liquid. If you like all your rice grains to float, add 1 tbs of sugar and mix it right before serving it.