Pumpkin porridge

Hobakjuk 호박죽

Today’s recipe is for hobakjuk, pumpkin porridge. Sweet, smooth, and comforting, with chewy rice cake balls. Hobakjuk is very popular in Korea in the late fall and winter, and my version is a bit of an upscale version because I stuff some of the rice cake balls with pine nuts and I make a pretty flower garnish with persimmon, jujube, and pumpkin seeds.

In the fall my grandmother used to harvest Korean pumpkins from her backyard and store them in her pantry for the winter. They were large, round, short, and tan, about 12 to 15 inches in diameter. Whenever she wanted to make hobakjuk she would take one out and make porridge with it.

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These days in New York City, I can never find Korean pumpkins, but I figured out how to make hobakjuk with other kinds of squash like butternut squash and kabocha (danhobak in Korean). When I went to the market, this wonderful pumpkin really stood out. There were a lot of pumpkins there, but this one was the largest, most beautiful, and perfect. After one month it got some freckles and I decided to make hobakjuk with it and film this video. I brought a backup kabocha in case the pumpkin was not good inside, but it turned out delicious!

Hope you enjoy this recipe, and try making hobakjuk with whatever squash is available to you! It’s just a few simple ingredients, but they will make you and your family feel warm and cozy!

hobakjuk (pumpkin porridge)
Ingredients

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For garnish (optional)

  • 1 large dried jujube
  • 1 dried persimmon
  • a few of shelled pumpkin seeds

Directions

Prepare pumpkin:

  1. Put the pumpkin into a heavy pot, add 3 cups of water and cover. Cook for 15 minutes over medium high heat.
  2. Open, add the beans and cover. Cook another 15 minutes, until it’s soft enough to be scoopable and the beans are cooked. If everything is still hard, cook a little longer. You may have to add more water.
  3. Let it cool down.

Prepare the dough:

  1. Get a large and a small bowl. In the larger one add 1 cup glutinous rice flour and ¼ teaspoon salt. We’ll use this to make our rice balls.
  2. In the smaller one add ¼ cup glutinous rice flour and a pinch of salt. We’ll use this as a reserve for dusting and to make the porridge thicker and stickier later.
  3. Add hot water to the large bowl. Mix it up with a wooden spoon. When it’s cool enough to handle by hand, knead it until you make a lump of smooth and soft dough, about 1 minute. Put the dough in a plastic bag and set aside for 10 minutes.

Make rice cake balls:

  1. Use about 1 tablespoon from the small bowl to dust your cutting board.
  2. Divide the lump of dough into 2 workable portions. While you’re working with the first portion, cover the other with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
  3. Tear off a small piece of dough about ½ inch in diameter. Push a few pine nuts into the center and roll it between your hands into a ball. Put it on the cutting board and repeat until your pine nuts run out. Then start making plain rice cake balls with no pine nuts, and keep going until you’ve used up both portions of dough. Cover the balls with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.rice cake balls

Make pumpkin porridge:

  1. Transfer the cooked pumpkin to a large plate or large bowl. Scoop out the cooked pumpkin flesh with a spoon and put it back into the pot. Discard the skin.
  2. Mash the pumpkin with a potato masher or a wooden spoon until smooth.
  3. Add 3 cups of water and cover. Bring it to a boil for about 7 to 8 minutes over medium high heat.
  4. Add the rice cake balls and stir a few times.
  5. Add ¼ cup water to the smaller bowl of reserved rice flour. Mix it well with a spoon.rice mixture
  6. Put it into the pot, it will make the porridge a little stickier. Stir a few times.
  7. When all the rice cake balls are floating to the surface, cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove from the heat and add ½ teaspoon salt and sugar to your taste.

How to make a jujube-persimmon flower:
If you’d like to make a garnish like I did in the video, here’s how you do it. It’s totally optional.

  1. Hold a jujube in one hand and your knife vertically in the other. Push the blade into the jujube until you feel it touch the seed. Work your knife around the seed and turn the jujube in your hand until the seed is totally cut out of the fruit. Discard the seed.
  2. Roll the sliced jujube fruit into the shape of a cylinder and squeeze it tightly in your hand so it sticks together. Cut it crosswise into 1/8 inch thick slices that look like flowers.
  3. Use your scissors to cut the persimmon along its outer edge to create a thin, 2½ inch long strip.

Serve:

  1. Ladle some porridge into an individual bowl and garnish (if you use) with jujube, dried persimmon strip, and green pumpkin seeds. Serve right away with kimchi or water kimchi, or vegetable and fruit water kimchi.
  2. If you have some leftover, put it into an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 to 2 days. You can serve it cold or reheat it in a small pan and serve warm.

hobakjuk

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172 Comments:

  1. marloesjb Netherlands joined 2/18 & has 2 comments

    Thank you very much for your help!

  2. marloesjb Netherlands joined 2/18 & has 2 comments

    Hi,

    It’s very hard to find glutinous rice flour where I live. Is it possible to leave out the rice balls?
    (Love your recipes)

  3. ellebelle joined 10/10 & has 5 comments

    It’s Halloween 2017 and I’m making this as an after-school snack for my kids. I substituted pumpkin with acorn squash and used canned beans and butternut squash puree. My 5 yr old son enjoyed playing with dough and learning to roll the dough into balls. As always, thank you for sharing your recipe. Each one i make is foolproof and delicious.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,273 comments

      It sounds like you had a lot of fun making this! Listening to your 5 year old son’s story makes me smile.
      I should try out acorn squash, too! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 78 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I ended up coming back to your site to double check this recipe. Yesterday i went to market and found a great big pumpkin with thick flesh, so I bought it. I cut it into 4 and roast it in the oven with a sprinkle of brown sugar for 2 full hours at 200 degrees centigrade. The result was amazing. After getting a whole lot of pumpkin flesh, i freeze some, use some for pumpkin pie and the leftover pumpkin flesh went into this recipe. My goodness it was so good. I use store bought rice balls for my hobakjuk. It was still tasty.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with the world.

    Btw last week my korean friend came over with an onggi and gave me some money then he told me to fill up his onggi with kimchi i make using your recipe. Isn’t that funny? I ended up making him 10kg of kimchi. I also gave him 2 servings of this juk and have his driver to pick them all up. He was happy when he called me this morning. He said that my online korean mom a.k.a you Maangchi has taught me well.

    So now I adopt you as my korean mom as well…lol

    Thanks again

    Ima

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,273 comments

      Hi Ima,
      I heard from a few of my readers that they make and sell kimchi. Sounds like you have a new korean food-making business! :) I love the fact that you gave a bonus hobakjuk. From the sounds of it, you have a warm heart and treat your customers well, I think you’ll be very successful!

  5. ipontchi indonesia joined 5/14 & has 4 comments

    Hi maangchi, what if I change the water with milk, it will taste good? Thank you :))

    • Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 78 comments

      Don’t use milk. It tastes strange. It taste better with coconut milk if you want to try it. Replace the sugar with palm sugar too. It’s divine.

  6. weirdingway San Diego, CA joined 11/11 & has 8 comments

    I was feeling homey tonight, so instead of going out I decided to make hobakjuk. I used kabocha for this one. It finally got a little cool in San Diego today so it was perfect for dinner!

  7. brooks540 Virginia joined 9/12 & has 2 comments

    A friend just gave me a Korean pumpkin that she grew this year, now I know what to make. Can’t wait to try this!

  8. purpleshammrock california joined 9/12 & has 2 comments

    so glad to find this recipe. A friend gave me 2 of this large butternut squash and I had no idea what to do with it. I can’t wait to try this! BTW, I have made cubed radishes and Kimchi over the weekend and it looked and smelled so good. Can’t wait to taste it, my family is really impressed. Thank you so much Maangchi for sharing your cooking.

    Dee

  9. ijil Maine joined 9/12 & has 2 comments

    How much sweet rice flour should I use and how if I wanted to skip the rice cake balls?

  10. janicedale Australia joined 2/12 & has 16 comments

    I’ve tasted this similar to this recipe which is pumpkin soup. The pumpkin soup has croutons to add texture for the soup. It’ll be my first time to try butternut squash porridge with the main ingredients is a rice cake ball. I guess the taste would be the same, the only different is the rice cake ball.

  11. lovekpop2689 murrieta joined 1/12 & has 2 comments

    hi maangchi !!!
    I were dying from looking at your yummy soup but there no way for me to get the porridge, can i use sweet potatoes instead. i will tried to find the porridge, i’ve been looking for it like 3 days already soooo ^ ( ^

    Thanks A Lot

  12. jordanmattes Arlington, WA, USA joined 11/11 & has 14 comments

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabocha

    Is this the same as the “hobak” in Korea? It’s easy to find here in Washington, I hope you eventually found it where you are!

  13. mokpochica Michigan joined 1/09 & has 87 comments

    I just love this recipe and make it a lot in the fall, but I am not really satisfied with my ddeok. I think I am making the dough too wet because they just don’t seem to have the right texture after I cook them. I think they are too wet and not chewy enough. My husband says that his mother made hobak jook with wheat flour sometimes–she made the dumplings flat, like in sujebi. I tried that once and it was good. The ddeok in hobak jook and kimchi jeon are just two dishes I have a lot of trouble with and can’t seem to master. My husband does these much better than me, so maybe I should just let them be his thing, but truthfully–it really bothers me!

  14. Toto Bonn, Germany joined 6/10 & has 34 comments

    Oh I love squash and pumpkin :) it reminds me to autumn. This porridge is a really nice harvest food, I think :D
    I’ve got a question: could you post, someday, how to make hobaktteok?
    Thank you really much and 감사합니다 :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,273 comments

      ” This porridge is a really nice harvest food, I think :D” yeah, that’s true! I’m always excited to see different kinds, colors, and sizes of pumpkins and squashes in the fall.

      Hobaktteok (pumpkin rice cake) is included in the list of my upcoming recipes. Thanks!

  15. mochilliboo joined 5/11 & has 1 comment

    thank you maangchi! i love hobakjuk…but i must admit…when i’m lazy i use jarred butternut squash babyfood! it works pretty well! i have one question…

    i had some mochiko (japanese brand)flour at home so i made it with that…but after the porridge sits in the fridge…the rice flour thins out and its not thick anymore, even when i heat it back up again! what am i doing wrong and how do i prevent this? thanks so much!

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