Red bean porridge

Dongji-patjuk 동지팥죽

This popular, delicious porridge (juk: 죽 in Korean) is made from dried azuki beans (pat: 팥 in Korean) with added chewy rice cake balls made from glutinous rice flour. The porridge is creamy, nutty, and a little sweet.

The texture of the mashed beans is similar to Mexican refried beans, but thinner. I was surprised when I went to Mexico and tasted their frijole porridge, it was very similar to Korean patjuk!

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This recipe is actually pretty simple. It’s just a few ingredients, but every household makes it differently. Traditionally Koreans eat it on winter solstice (dongjitnal: 동짓날 in Korean), which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. After the solstice, the days get longer and the nights shorter, so Koreans see it as a “little new year’s day” and something to celebrate. We wish our families and neighbors a happy, successful, and safe year to come by making this special red bean porridge for them.

In Korea, red bean porridge is served year-round as a popular snack or one-bowl meal, but the rice cake balls make this special for dongjitnal. It’s delicious, but also has a lot of symbolism.

The white rice cake balls look like small birds’ eggs and symbolize new life, freshness, and prosperity. They are a little smaller than quail eggs and celebrate the longer days to come.

Koreans believe that the color red wards off evil spirits, so this red porridge wishes good luck for the new year. My grandmother used to smear some porridge on her front door for good measure, and many people would leave a little bowl of it in front of their houses. Go away, evil spirits!

This special porridge is meant to be shared with friends, family, and neighbors. When I was a kid, my mom used to send me out to deliver some of her dongji-patjuk to the neighbors, bowl by bowl, on winter solstice. And the neighbors’ kids brought dongji-patjuk to our house, too. Everyone’s house in the neighborhood would be full of porridge and well-wishes for the upcoming year.

I continued the tradition after I grew up and got married, sending my kids out with porridge on winter solstice.I think it’s a wonderful, warm tradition to be shared with my family and the community.

The video was shot a few weeks ago, and while editing it, my mouth was watering! Tomorrow is winter solstice day, so I’m making a huge pot of dongji-patjuk tonight. I’m not sure my neighbors in New York City will like this traditional Korean porridge, but if I tell them it will give them good luck in the upcoming year in a very delicious way, I’m sure they’ll be happy to try it out! : )

Ingredients (4 servings)

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Directions

You can use a pressure cooker or just a regular pot to prepare the beans for the porridge. The goal is the same: make the beans soft enough to mash. Once the beans are prepared, make your rice cake balls and then put it all together!

Soften the red beans in a pressure cooker

  1. Add the beans and 8 cups of water to the cooker. Set your pressure cooker to the porridge making function. It should take about 1½ hours to cook.

Soften the red beans in a pot

  1. Wash the red beans and strain. Put them in a large pot with 10 cups of water.azuki beans (red beans: 팥)
  2. Boil over medium high heat for 30 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and cook for another 1½ hours until the beans are very tender and mashable. If the beans are still hard, add more water and cook longer.
  3. Let cool for 20-30 minutes

Mash the red beans

  1. Set a coarse strainer over a large bowl. Pour the cooked beans and the water into the strainer. Mash the beans with a wooden spoon so that the beans go through the strainer and the skins stay in the strainer.patjuk (red bean porridge: 팥죽)
  2. Squeeze the bean skins with your hands and discard.
  3. Put the bean mixture into the pot. If there are less than 8 cups’ worth, add water to make it up to 8 cups.

Make rice cake balls

  1. Put 2 cups of glutinous rice flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and mix it well with a wooden spoon. When it cools enough to touch, knead the dough with your hand for 1 minute and put it  in a plastic bag. Let it sit for 20 minutes.patjuk (red bean porridge: 팥죽)
  2. Knead the dough again for a couple of minutes until smooth. If it’s too sticky, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of glutinous rice flour.
  3. Take some of the dough in your palms and roll it into a ½ inch ball. Repeat to make rice cake balls out of all the dough, about 55-60 balls. Sprinkle some glutinous rice flour over them as you go so they don’t stick to each other.patjuk (red bean porridge: 팥죽)

Put it all together

  1. Stir the bean mixture and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Add the rice cake balls and stir them in well. Cover and let it cook for 8 to 10 minutes until all the rice cake balls float to the surface.
  2. Mix ½ cup glutinous rice flour and 1 cup of water in a mixing bowl and pour it into the boiling porridge, stirring with a wooden spoon. The porridge will thicken a bit.
    patjuk (red bean porridge: 팥죽)
  3. Add 2 teaspoons salt and stir well.patjuk (red bean porridge: 팥죽)

Serve

  1. Serve hot right away.
  2. Prepare some sugar in a small bowl so your guests can add a bit of sugar to taste as they like. Kimchi also makes an excellent side dish.
  3. Keep the leftovers in the fridge up to 3 days.

patjuk (red bean porridge: 팥죽)

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22 Comments:

  1. HeyPreston USA joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    I made this patjuk today. It is delicious! Thank you so much for sharing.

    My rice balls are kind of grainy. Is this normal? It seems like the texture near the outside of the ball is soft and creamy but they are more grainy texture in the middle. Is this normal? Are they underhydrated? Maybe undercooked?

    Thank you for the suggestion to enjoy with kimchi—that’s a great, unexpected pairing.

    :)


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,304 comments

      It looks wonderful! 5 cute balls in a bowl, it looks so good!
      If the middle part is a little grainy, it means they are undercooked. Lower the heat and simmer until all the rice cakes are well cooked and tender. You may need to add a little water, too.

  2. Rizzlah Prague CZ joined 10/17 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi. Maybe stupid question, do i need to boil adzuki at all before cooking the whole porridge ? I let them in water overnight and they’re soft enough to mush.
    Can i just mush them cold ?

    Thank you

    • Dhalgren Truth or Consequences, NM joined 11/17 & has 3 comments

      It’s not stupid :) But the recipe says you will cook them for 30 min before the whole porridge. This will make the texture right–I think if you just soaked them, the consistency wouldn’t come out the same. Boiling helps the skins come off as well.

  3. jenn950421 joined 4/15 & has 1 comment

    Happy New Year! I know I’m saying this so late. I need to ask you a question about the ddeok. I tried to mix the sweet rice flour with the 1 cup of hot water but it keeps turning to mush. It doesn’t come out like the ddeok in your video. What am I doing wrong? I tried to dry the mixture out by putting more flour but it’s still too watery; it turned from a sort of white rice stew to a rice paste but it won’t turn into ddeok. :(

  4. Blakmagiq Orlando, Fl joined 12/16 & has 1 comment

    Happy Winter Solstice, Maangchi and Happy New Year! I just tried this red bean porridge today and it came out amazing! So delicious! Thank you, Maangchi! It reminded me of when I was a child and would have a bowl of porridge with a little brown sugar on a cold winter day, but tastes even better with the turbinado sugar. Happy Holidays Maangchi and everyone! Here’s a photo I took of my bowl. Yummy!!!


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,304 comments

      Happy Holidays to you and your family, too! Your patjuk looks so delicious! “It reminded me of when I was a child and would have a bowl of porridge with a little brown sugar on a cold winter day,” : )

  5. palack India joined 8/16 & has 2 comments

    Thank you for your reply.

  6. palack India joined 8/16 & has 2 comments

    Hello Maangchi,

    I am following you for past one year through YouTube, I really like your dishes. The bad thing is I can’t find proper ingredients here in India and online deliveries are also not available in my hometown. In this recipe can I use kidney beans in place of red beans? I am a hardcore vegetarian, I will appreciate if you share some main course vegetarian dises also. Thank you I really enjoy Korean cooking.

  7. lovex3jennyy New York joined 6/12 & has 8 comments

    In my culture we also have a sweet been porrige called habichuelas con dulce :) Im mix with chinese and dominican to my surprise both cultures have similarities. So cool! This looks so yummy.

  8. rami chan AMERICA joined 6/16 & has 7 comments

    oh thats looks sooooo tasty but i cant eat it i have sensitivity from beans what should i doooooo !!!!

  9. Anissa Poland joined 1/16 & has 7 comments

    안녕하세요!
    I discovered Korean cuisine not so long ago and already tried few dishes and can’t wait for more! I fell in love with it!
    Here, in Poland, Korean cuisine is not so popular. Actually, it’s not popular at all and that makes me sad, especially because it’s really hard to find many basic ingredients. And that’s why I’m so glad I found about your site – You often show how to make some ingredients yourself, at home (like rice flour) and also offer some replecements, so I can still make Korean dishes here. I also like that you always put names for dishes in Korean – I appreciate it, because I started learning Korean few months ago.
    I’m really thankful for your hard work and please, keep it up! You’re amazing!
    I’m your fan, Maangchi!

  10. Sadiqah joined 12/15 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    My husband and I made this two days ago and it was delicious! This was our first adventure in making Korean food and I have ingredients for Kimchi on order thanks to your online grocery store listing. Your written directions and video were easy to follow and I’m excited to try more. Have a Happy New Year!

    Debi and Ricardo

  11. ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

    Hi Maangchi!

    I made your red bean porridge as my contribution to our family’s winter solstice celebration. This was my first time making red bean porridge and it turned out very delicious! My youngest brother’s wife and her sister especially, really loved it and in fact had it the next day for lunch!

    As always, thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and stories with us! 고맙습니다~^^

    Dave


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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,304 comments

      Dave!
      Thank you so much for sharing this photo! I just counted the rice cake balls. 66 balls are right? “my contribution to our family’s winter solstice celebration..” LOL! I’d like to meet all your family someday!

      • ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

        Haha! 66! That’s right! Making this is a labor of love and well worth the effort when you see your family enjoying it! Thank you Maangchi~ I would love for you to meet my family someday! I want to wish you & your family and all my fellow Maangchi fans a 메리 크리스마스/Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

        Dave

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