Rice dessert drink

Sikhye 식혜

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! : )

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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:

Ingredients

A package of barley malt powder, 2 cups of rice, 2 cups of sugar (adjust to your taste), 24-30 cups of water, and pine nuts

Directions

  1. 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.3
  2. 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!

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  3. 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.
  4. Add 1 cup of sugar and the cooked rice.
  5. 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.
  6. Throw out the sediments sunk on the bottom of the basin.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Transfer the liquid from the rice cooker to a large pot, and add the saved leftover liquid from #3 if you have it.
  10. Add 1 cup of sugar and bring to a boil.
    * tip: you can add more water and sugar if you want.
  11. Remove the foam floating on the top of the boiling liquid.
  12. Cool it down and transfer it to a glass jar or bottle and keep it refrigerator.11
  13. 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.

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187 Comments:

  1. mokpochica Michigan joined 1/09 & has 89 comments

    I am so happy right now having two large containers of shikhye in my fridge. It is delicious and a hit with everyone. Maybe after the kids are asleep tonight I will take a nice hot shower, make a funny towel hat for myself and then drink a big glass of shikhye so I can pretend I am at a jjimjilbang.

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

    I can just pour 6 cups of water in my rice cooker. is it enough for sikhye when I use it or should I use a bigger basin?

  3. Marisol Malaysia joined 8/10 & has 8 comments

    This morning I checked my sikhye, it seems done and smell good also, now I already boil it and waiting for the sikhye to turn cool and put in refrigerator, after fermented some of the rice will float on the surface of sikhye,the taste of the rice also good. I am using brown sugar so the colour of the sikhye a little bit brownish than what you display on website video. Thanks Maangchi.

  4. Marisol Malaysia joined 8/10 & has 8 comments

    Dear Maangchi,
    I am fermenting the barley malt powder water with sugar and cooked rice
    on the electrical stove, I hope it will success. Thanks so much for the recipe, cann’t wait to try the drink.

  5. Arakaki California joined 9/10 & has 1 comment

    I am new to your site and love it!!! I tried sikhye in a korean restaurant..<3 it!! It had a ginger flavor which was good.

    I'm in the process of fermenting my rice with the barley water. I'm sure I'll be making this again. To save time, can I make and store my clear malted water in the refrigerator the day before?

    Thanks so much…

  6. chocostarrr joined 7/10 & has 2 comments

    that looks delicious~!
    how long did it take you to make that though?

  7. carlam joined 7/10 & has 1 comment

    Can this recipe be made with Brown Short Grain rice??

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

    Hi Maangchi!
    I really love this drink. I got it just ready at a Korean Store. Unfortunately I can`t find the malt powder so I wanted to ask whether I can just use Boricha (Barley tea) and grind it or would that be a bad idea?
    Thank you

  9. monivela joined 12/09 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi…

    I had this drink after a Korean dinner at a restaurant, they called it “rice punch” I believe it was the same. I noticed the flavor of ginger in the drink and really enjoyed the ginger flavor added to the drink.

    At what point can I add the ginger? Perhaps when the mixture is on the stove top to cook the ginger?

    Thank you for your assistance….

    ~Moni

  10. FK07 joined 6/10 & has 2 comments

    I bought the Malted Bailey Powder in US and I made the rice drink successfully. Thank you very much for your recipe.

    Now I’m in my country, Vietnam. I went to the Korean market, they said they didnt have that powder. However, they have other package to make the rice drink. It looks like the bailey or rice seeds, but I dont know how to make it :(
    Can you help me?
    Thanks a lot.

  11. Aislinn21 Boise, ID joined 5/10 & has 2 comments

    Help!
    I dont think my rice cooker is big enough.
    Can I reuse the rice or is there a different way to do this?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      yes,it’s possible to make shikhye without using a rice cooker, especially when you make large quantities.

      Keep it on the stove with low heat and when it reaches hot temperature (more than 40 Celsius), turn the heat off. Then reheat it again when it cools down (about 30 Celsius).

      You will have to keep an eye on it. Don’t let it boil over. If it’s too hot, the rice grains in shikhye will not be fermented.

      Good luck with your shikhye making!!

  12. aqua joined 3/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi! So I finally decided to make this and I bought a package similar to yours that said “malt flour (fine)” but what I found was that it was not flour-like and had more coarse pieces in it. As a result, when I added the water, it did not look like what you had. Here are two pictures: (did I buy the wrong package ?)
    http://i42.tinypic.com/13yj978.jpg
    http://i42.tinypic.com/2dgmbeg.jpg

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      yeah, the package says it’s fine malt powder but it looks coarse in the second photo. Don’t worry much about it. It’s just wrong translation.
      Follow the directions in the recipe, then you will make good shikhye! : )
      Put the mixture of water and coarse barley malt flakes into a strainer and wait for water to drain out. Throw away the stuff in the strainer. Then wait until the fine sediments are sunk on the bottom. You need only clear water to make shikhye.

  13. Brian_Montoya Colorado Springs,Colorado joined 12/09 & has 14 comments

    this is probably a stupid question, but is it possible to make shikye without a rice cooker?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

      Of course it’s possible to make shikhye without using a rice cooker, especially when you make large quantities.
      Keep in mind only one thing keep the temperature warm about 40 Celsius. If it’s too hot, the rice grains in shikhye will not be fermented.

      • Brian_Montoya Colorado Springs,Colorado joined 12/09 & has 14 comments

        so should i just keep it on the stove with the heat barely on and keep checking the temp.?

        oh, and btw, thanks so much for your reply hon, i love your recipes, especially your kimchi, its simply the best, ive tried so many other recipes and none of them are as good or as easy to make, it comes out perfect everytime!!

        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,624 comments

          yes, you are right.
          Keep it on the stove with low heat and when it reaches hot temperature (more than 40 Celsius), turn the heat off. Then reheat it again when it cools down (about 30 Celsius)
          You will have to keep an eye on it. Don’t let it boil over.
          Good luck with your shikhye making!!

  14. domesticjoy joined 3/10 & has 1 comment

    Wow, wonderful delicious sihkye, mine came out delicious! I have been enjoying it nightly for dessert, I love the malted barley flavor, and the sweetness with the ice cubes floating in it. I’m making another batch right now for my nieces, they are going to LOVE it as a drink to go with their salty snacks while they study. So much better than the canned stuff, thanks Maangchi for making this video and recipe available for me to make it!

  15. aqua joined 3/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi maangchi!

    I recently had some cereal drink my korean friend gave me, however, I don’t think it is sikhye. Can you confirm what this drink is and whether the process of making it is similar? http://www.wjfood.com/beverage/morningrice.asp

    Thanks!

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