Sweetened rice with dried fruits and nuts

Yaksik 약식

Yaksik is a kind of Korean rice cake made with glutinous rice, honey, nuts, and dried fruits. It’s a sweet, delicious treat that’s packed full of flavor and healthy ingredients. Even the name is healthy – in Korean, yak means “medicine,” and sik means “food.” Koreans have long believed that honey is a medicine that’s beneficial to your health, so anything with honey is good for you. We feel the same way about jujubes and pine nuts, too, so yaksik is good for you. It’s also delicious!

Like many Korean housewives, I used to make yaksik in my pressure cooker. It’s very easy to do: just mix in all the ingredients, turn the pressure cooker on, and let it get to work. How to make yaksik with a pressure cooker is below.

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But yaksik made in a pressure cooker can’t be compared with the taste and texture of yaksik made the traditional way. Each grain of rice becomes firm and chewy rice cake, and the flavors of all the ingredients are more distinct and alive.

Whichever way you decide to make it, I guarantee you’ll love this delectable, delightful snack. I make a lot of them and then save them for my breakfast or snack, but they are delicious any time of day.

Enjoy my recipe! Let me know how your yaksik turns out.

Ingredients (9 servings)

2 cups glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked in cold water for 5 hours

for caramel sauce:

  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water

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for seasoning sauce:

  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Fruits, nuts, honey:

  • 14-16 large dried jujubes, rinsed, deseeded, cut into halves (or replace them with 1 cup dried cranberries)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, tips removed
  • 1 can of chestnuts, strained

Directions

Make caramel sauce:

  1. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a small saucepan on high heat. Don’t stir, or the sugar might crystallize.
  2. When it starts to boil, move the pan around to mix it up.
  3. 6 minutes later it will start to bubble. Turn the heat down low and swirl the sauce around in the saucepan to mix it up.
  4. 2 minutes later, when it gets a little smoky and turns dark brown, remove from the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of water and tilt and move the pan so it all mixes well. Let it cool.

caramel-sauce

Make seasoning sauce:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cinnamon powder in a small bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the sugar is dissolved.

yaksik seasoning-sauce

Mix fruits and nuts:
yaksik-ingredients

  1. Combine jujubes, raisins, pine nuts, chestnuts, and the dried cranberries (if used) in a large bowl.

yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)

Steam rice:

  1. Strain the rice. Put into a steamer basket lined with a cotton cloth. Cover the rice with the edges of the cotton cloth. Add 5 cups of water to the steamer, cover and cook for 40 minutes over medium high heat.
    soaked-rice
  2. Open and turn the rice over a few times with a wooden spoon so it cooks evenly. Lower the heat to medium and cook another 20 minutes.steamed-rice
  3. Remove from the heat.

Put it all together:

  1. Transfer the cooked rice to the large bowl with the fruits and nuts. Add the seasoning sauce, caramel sauce, and honey.
    yaksik making
  2. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
    yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)
  3. Put everything back into the steamer basket lined with the cotton cloth. Cover with the edges of the cotton cloth, add 1 cup of water to the steamer, and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Remove from the heat.

Serve:
You can serve right away, scooping out pieces or even rolling handfuls of yaksik into balls. Or separate into squares for later use:

  1. Put the hot steamed yaksik into a 8 x 8 inch baking pan lined with plastic wrap. Mix well with a wooden spoon so the fruits and nuts get evenly distributed through the rice. Pack it down slightly so it all sticks together.
    yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)
  2. Let it cool for about 20 minutes and flip the pan upside down over a cutting board so the rice cake comes out. Cut into 9 even size pieces. Wrap each one in tightly plastic wrap, into squares.

yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)

Freeze for later use:

  1. Put the wrapped yaksik into a plastic bag and freeze up to 1 month.
  2. When you want to eat one, take it out of the freezer and microwave for 2 minutes, or thaw it out at room temperature for about 30 minutes until it’s soft and chewy again.

How to make yaksik in a pressure cooker

  1. Put 2 cups of washed and drained rice in a pressure cooker. No need to soak it.
  2. Add the caramel sauce, seasoning sauce, honey, jujubes, raisins, pine nuts, chestnuts, and the dried cranberries (if used).
  3. Add 1 cup of water and set the pressure cooker to make rice.

yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)yaksik (Sweetened Rice with Dried Fruits and Nuts: 약식)

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31 Comments:

  1. reoccurringoctopus joined 12/15
    Posted December 31st, 2015 at 2:47 pm | # |

    Hello Maanchi! :) I love watching your videos!!

    I tried making this recipe (and am actually in the process currently), but when I steamed the rice, all of the water vanished before the first forty minutes was up and now my pot is melted to the stove. O.O; I followed your directions and added five cups of water to my steamer pot with two cups of sweet glutinous rice wrapped in cheesecloth. But I did something very wrong and I don’t know what. D: Any thoughts?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 31st, 2015 at 3:13 pm | # |

      Everybody’s stove has different heat, so you will need to adjust for that. Add more water and lower the heat and cook longer until the rice is fully cooked. Good luck!

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  2. fiokorea joined 12/15
    Posted December 22nd, 2015 at 6:20 am | # |

    Amazingly delicious! I’ve bought this many times and I’m so happy to be able to make it myself now! I made it in our rice cooker and it turned out great, though it’s not a regular rice cooker and has different functions. This is such a great winter snack for my children, they’re gobbling it up as I write this!

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 24th, 2015 at 9:32 am | # |

      I’m happy to know that you made delicious yaksik with your rice cooker. I think your rice cooker is a pressure cooker.

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  3. bbimvip Arizona, USA joined 12/14
    Posted September 18th, 2015 at 11:35 pm | # |

    Can a different rice (short grain”sushi”) be used instead?

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  4. garlic_e_scape Minnesota joined 11/14
    Posted August 9th, 2015 at 2:26 pm | # |

    Can you use roasted chestnuts? I have a bag of roasted chestnuts.

    What can I use in lieu of a steam basket or a pressure cooker?

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  5. Enelisa joined 6/15
    Posted June 30th, 2015 at 8:24 am | # |

    My pressure cooker doesnt hv the timer function. How long should I cook it for please? (How long does it take for your pressure cooker?)

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 30th, 2015 at 10:10 am | # |

      You can make it just as you make your rice.

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  6. mikesadal joined 6/15
    Posted June 30th, 2015 at 3:12 am | # |

    Annyeong Maangchi this recipe was more delicious than I anticipated.

    I made the recipe for my mom but didnt use chestnuts(couldnt find) jujubes(i know she doesnt like them) and pine nuts (very expensive where Im from) but used pecans, almonds, cranberries and dark raisins. She loved it and told me to thank you!

    멕시코에서 감사합니다!!


    See full size image

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 30th, 2015 at 10:31 am | # |

      yes, pine nuts are expensive everywhere! : ) You made awesome yaksik with available ingredients! Congratulations!

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  7. sopisacat Virginia joined 3/15
    Posted May 23rd, 2015 at 11:43 am | # |

    Do you have a recommended substitute for the canned chestnuts, or would you recommend just leaving them out? I’ve looked in several Asian market close to where I live and can’t find them anywhere.

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    • Home Cooking Foodie Virginia joined 3/15
      Posted June 22nd, 2015 at 3:04 am | # |

      Since I couldn’t find the canned chestnuts, I used other items. I used about 1 cup of cranberries, 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, 2 Tbsp of golden raisins, 2 Tbsp of chopped dates & 2 Tbsp of pine nuts. I think it turned out pretty well. I think slivered almonds would work well also.

      Yaksik makes me think of a Korean version of granola, actually. Rice instead of oats, of course. I’ve enclosed a picture below. I was so excited to try it that we ate a piece before I remembered to take a picture. I also tried it for breakfast. It was very good. :)


      See full size image

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      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
        Posted June 22nd, 2015 at 3:48 pm | # |

        It looks sweet and chewy! Congratulations!

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  8. smedmonds joined 5/15
    Posted May 3rd, 2015 at 8:39 pm | # |

    Can we use regular rice cooker for this recipe? If so, how much water?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 3rd, 2015 at 8:46 pm | # |

      I think you should use a pressure cooker.

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      • mrskimchi san francisco joined 6/13
        Posted May 14th, 2015 at 7:34 am | # |

        If we use a pressure cooker, can you tell us how to adjust the recipe? What settings etc? Thanks!

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        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
          Posted May 14th, 2015 at 10:14 am | # |

          Check out “How to make yaksik in a pressure cooker” in the recipe, please.

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          • mrskimchi san francisco joined 6/13
            Posted May 14th, 2015 at 10:16 am | # |

            OH my goodness, I’m so sorry I missed that at the bottom! Thank you :) Would you say the quality turns out as tasty either way it’s made?

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          • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
            Posted May 14th, 2015 at 10:25 am | # |

            no problem! It looks like I hid that part in the recipe. : )
            “yaksik made in a pressure cooker can’t be compared with the taste and texture of yaksik made the traditional way. Each grain of rice becomes firm and chewy rice cake, and the flavors of all the ingredients are more distinct and alive.”

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  9. grandgazou joined 5/15
    Posted May 3rd, 2015 at 11:19 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi.

    Is it possible to use a rice cooker instead of a pressure cooker?

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  10. Tosin_Oc London, UK joined 3/15
    Posted April 29th, 2015 at 1:34 am | # |

    Maangchiiiiiiii! How do you eat such delicious rich foods and stay so lovely and slim?? What’s your secret? I feel my jeans getting tighter already haha!

    Lots of Love!

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 29th, 2015 at 10:21 am | # |

      Thanks for your compliment but it’s very difficult for me to control my weight. I simply eat less when I feel my body is heavier. : ) And I eat low calorie dish like bok choy muchim. http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/bok-choy-muchim

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      • Tosin_Oc London, UK joined 3/15
        Posted May 3rd, 2015 at 6:13 am | # |

        You’re right, portion control is very important. It’s just so hard with your delicious food lol! Maangchi, next time you’re in London, you have to visit me!!! I live 10 minutes away from Korea Town (New Malden) with a huge H-Mart and everything you would ever need for Korean cooking. It would be a pleasure and an honour to host you and to cook with you. Let me know when you’re coming!!

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  11. TaeguChadd New Jersey joined 2/11
    Posted April 26th, 2015 at 11:29 pm | # |

    Another PERFECT recipe from you! SOOOO delicious! I can’t wit for your cookbook to arrive!! :-)


    See full size image

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  12. Tosin_Oc London, UK joined 3/15
    Posted April 23rd, 2015 at 3:31 pm | # |

    I made this and it was out of this world. Completely blew me away! Maangchi you’re a genius and a brilliant teacher!! Posting pics soon yay!

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2015 at 3:36 pm | # |

      omg! I can’t wait to see the photo!

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  13. Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13
    Posted April 21st, 2015 at 5:18 pm | # |

    Yay!!! You NEVER fail me, ever! This is by far my favorite Korean dessert recipe!!!! I need to try this soon~~~thanks so much!

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2015 at 10:54 am | # |

      ok, let me know how yours turns out! : )

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  14. salina Malaysia joined 8/11
    Posted April 21st, 2015 at 2:58 am | # |

    Selamat Petang Maangchi :)

    I check almost everyday for your recipes & its finally here :) can’t wait to try this recipes & add its to my collections of your recipes :) hoping mine will do yours justice :)

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