Korean Pumpkin Porridge, just right for Goldilocks

Korean Pumpkin Porridge


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We all know the story, “Goldilocks and the three bears”. Too big, too small…, too hot, too cold…,  after all the ordeal Goldilocks finally finds her perfect “just right” things in the bear family house, and gets comfy. The story sometimes makes me compare Goldilocks as my own image in life. Yes, there is some lesson we learn from the story, though. Respecting other people’s possessions or importance of having a good manner…

I realize that I often find myself becoming like Goldilocks, looking for my “just right” everything around the house. Dress, shoes, mattress, food, house, marriage, kids, friends, camera, lenses, pots and pans…, and even spatulas. I am not a picky person but I do have my “just right” taste on everything, not too much of this or not too little of that…

I learned that finding the ultimate “just right”of everything in life really depends on how you handle it. Life is not perfect and it is not supposed to be. To gain the “just right” on everything we seek for, we just have to get it to work.

Today’s recipe, “Korean pumpkin porridge, 호박죽(Hobaak Jook)”, is your Goldilocks challenge. Not too sweet and not too bland. But the good side is; this is perhaps the simplest Korean porridge you will find. All you need is a slice of aged pumpkin, rice, some sugars, and salt to taste.
The hardest part? Finding your “just right” sweetness…
It really depends on your personal taste.

What kind of pumpkin to use? Well, any kind that has deep bright orange color in the flesh. Pumpkins are in season now. So grab one that you like and let’s make some good old porridge, in Korean style!


You will need;

Look at this gorgeous pumpkin slice.

I use sweet rice, which is glutenous short grain rice.
We call it “찹쌀(Chapssal)”

You can use regular short grain instead if you can’t find the sweet kind.

Rinse the rice several times, and soak them in the water for at least 1 hour.

Not too long and not too short…

 Scrape off all the fibers and the seeds out of the pumpkin with a spoon.

Cut into chunks and slice them

 Boil the pumpkin slices in the water until they get very tender and soft.
If you are lucky to have a hand blender,

that will be the “just right” tool for pureeing these pumpkin in the pot.

 If you are the unfortunate one like myself,
either mash with fork or use regular blender to puree them.

Keep the pumpkin broth in the pot.

Drain the rice and put them in a food processor or blender with a little bit of water.
Blender will create smoother texture.

Puree until foamy and the rice gets granulated.

Mix pumpkin puree and the broth over medium heat, add the pureed rice.

 Stirring often with whisk so that the rice granules won’t stick to the bottom of pan.
Continue to cook for 5 minutes in gentle boil over medium heat.

Add more water if your porridge seems too thick.

 Add sugars, both white and light brown.
You can use all brown sugar if you prefer…
(Brown sugar gives nice flavor but can darken the color of the soup)
Find your “just right” sweetness according to your taste.
You can add more sugars but I wouldn’t make it too sweet.
Remember! not too sweet, not too bland…

Cook for 5 more minutes until the rice granules feels “just right” soft with a little body.
Season with some salt.
Do not overcook the porridge.

 It can develop weird smell.

That’s all!
Serve with some chopped walnuts or pine nuts on top as garnish.
This porridge reheats beautifully in the microwave.

So make a batch and keep them in the fridge.

Perfect for mid-night snack or quick breakfast.
Or simply when you need “just right” comfort…
 I had my bowl of pumpkin porridge.
It was not too hot, or not too cold,

not too sweet, not too bland, …just right for me.

I need to find my “just right” bed to take a nap…

z z z z…

Korean Pumpkin Porridge (hobak-jook)

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serving Size: 6-8

Korean Pumpkin Porridge (hobak-jook)


  • 1 1/2 -2 lb pumpkin, seeded and peeled
  • 3/4 C sweet rice or short grain rice
  • 4-5 C water
  • 3-4 Tbsp white sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • salt to taste
  • chopped walnuts or pine nuts for garnish, optional


  1. Rinse the rice a few times and soak in a big bowl for at least 1 hour (overnight is even better).
  2. Slice the pumpkin and put them in a big pot with 4 cup of water. Boil and cook until the pumpkin gets very soft and tender. Puree them with hand blender or in a food processor (Do not discard the broth).
  3. When the rice is fully soaked and hydrated, drain them. Put rice in a blender or food processor with a little bit of water and puree them until they get finely granulated.
  4. Combine the rice puree, pumpkin puree with its broth in a big pot over medium heat, Keep stirring so the rice won't stick to the bottom of the pot, cook for about 5 minutes. Add more broth(water) if the porridge feels too thick. Add sugars and salt to taste, cook for 5-7 more minutes stirring often until the rice granules feels soft.
  5. Taste the porridge and adjust sweetness according to your taste. Do not overcook the porridge.
  6. Garnish with some chopped nuts and serve warm.


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  1. 1


    I ate this last week in Seoul too…:) Thank you for dropping by. You have a beautiful blog, I will be back for more..

    My other favourite korean dishes are Soondubu and Jigae with rice. Simple things.. My colleague said he will take me to eat dog meat next time… :(

  2. 3


    A warming and nice porridge, isn't it! I also love making dessert with sticky rice. Habitually, I always add pumpkins or sweet potatoes into the porridge … in chunks : ).

  3. 5

    Anonymous says

    wow, i love your blog! i'm a korean who lives in italy. thats why i cook so strange?!( for example, i did this porridge tonight with some normal '백미').
    so nice to find this blog. be back again..

  4. 11


    Um, this looks absolutely amazing! I am totally starring this one for future use. I've been trying to get in touch w my roots and cook more korean food lately, but I'd really love to incorporate some produce that's in season. this is perfect. thank you!

  5. 14

    Katherine Crandall says

    Do you think I can freeze this after I make it? My pumpkin is about to go bad, so I need to use it right away. But my sister (she loves this stuff and told me to make it) will be at college for 2 more weeks. If I made it and put it in the freezer, would it hold 2 weeks?

  6. 16

    Irene says

    Hello, I just found your website. I have a kabocha pumpkin that I was wondering what else I could do with it. I believe I have all the ingredients in my pantry. :) now I just need to get brave enough to make kimchi.

    • 17

      Holly says

      Hi Irene
      For your Kabocha pumpkin, you can try this porridge recipes or dice them in to big bite size chunks then add to the rice to cook together in a rice cooker. Or cook pumpkin and mash, then add to the hotteok batter to make pumpkin flavored hottek, which is very good too. Or simply grate the pumpkin, add some flour, a few pinch salt, and water, mix it up then fry in the oil to make pumpkin pancakes. Kimchi is fun to make and very rewarding. Hope you get to try. :)

  7. 18

    Erin says

    I made hobakjuk about 12 days ago and have some left in the refrigerator. I took some out now and tastes still fine. But how long is it good for in the refrigerator, until it’s bad so you shouldn’t consume it?

  8. 23

    Leigh says

    Thank you for the recipe. I’ve been dearly missing hobbakjuk since moving back to Canada and your recipe hit the spot. It did taste a little more ricey than I remember. Maybe not enough pumpkin? Or the pumpkin needed to be more ripe? What do you think?

  9. 24

    Leigh says

    Actually, disregard my last comment. I had some hobakjuk the next day and it was perfect! Thank you so much for the recipe!


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