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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38 Comments:

  1. Alexsa home joined 9/18 & has 1 comment

    Looks fantastic ! Whats is the shelf life if stored at room temperature ?

  2. LiljaS Iceland joined 3/18 & has 11 comments

    This recipe has been on my to-do list for quite some time now. Finally I got round to do it. Turned out beautifully. Tasty and perfectly chewy and sticky… or so I hope. I really don’t have much to compare to, haha. Thank you very much fir tge recipe, I was very happy that you made one without having to use a pressure cooker since I don’t have one.


    See full size image

  3. Bryan2003 Hawaii joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    Would we be able to use different fruits?

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