Korean Pumpkin Porridge (Hobakjuk)
Learn how to make authentic Korean Pumpkin Porridge (Hobakjuk, 호박죽) with our easy recipe. This versatile, velvety dish is perfect for any meal and offers health benefits. Ideal for fall and winter comfort food.
The beautiful golden-yellow color of pumpkin porridge almost seems to celebrate the autumn harvest season all on it’s own. It is warm, mildly sweet, and so comforting—no wonder it is so popular during the fall and winter seasons in Korea.
Made with fresh pumpkin and sweet rice (aka glutenous rice) with a hint of sugar, you can serve this Korean pumpkin soup as a light meal, appetizer before the full main course, or even as a pumpkin dessert after a meal (if you make it sweeter).
Why You Should Make This Korean Pumpkin Porridge (Hobakjuk) Recipe
- Golden-Yellow Color: This Korean pumpkin dish is as visually stunning as it is delicious, embodying the essence of the fall harvest season.
- Multi-Purpose Dish: Serve it as an appetizer, a light meal, a quick breakfast, or even a pumpkin dessert.
- Flavors Improve Over Time: Believe it or not, the flavor profile becomes richer when you eat it the next day. So making a larger batch is a good idea!
Choosing the Right Ingredients
- Korean Varieties: In Korea, the term “Hobak” is used broadly for pumpkins. Specifically for Hobakjuk, aged pumpkin (neulgeun hobak) and sweet pumpkin (dan-hobak) are commonly used.
- U.S. Alternative: Kabocha squash is a readily available and suitable substitute that mimics the texture and sweetness of traditional Korean pumpkins.
- Alternatively, you can also opt for butternut squash or another deep orange-colored pumpkin as a replacement.
See Also: Check out our Kabocha Squash Salad Recipe for more ways to use this versatile pumpkin.
Sweet Rice: A Crucial Element
White glutinous short-grain rice is an integral element that contributes to its unique texture and taste profile of Korean pumpkin porrdige. Often referred to as “sticky rice,” “waxy rice,” or even “mochi rice,” this specific variety of rice offers the following advantages:
- Creamy Consistency: This type of rice contributes to the porridge’s signature velvety and creamy texture, making it a crucial ingredient for achieving the right consistency.
- Flavor Depth: The natural sweetness of the rice complements the pumpkin, subtly enhancing the dish’s overall flavor.
- Quick Cooking: White glutinous rice cooks faster than other types, making Hobakjuk a practical option for quick meals.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Porridge
Pumpkin offers various health benefits:
- For Koreans, pumpkin is known for reducing swelling after surgery or injury. It also makes a great comfort soup for those who are in the recovery stage.
- If you eliminate the sweetener in the porridge, it makes a great baby food as well. High in Vitamin A and carotenoids, it is ideal for boosting immunity.
- Pumpkin is known for being high in fiber. With the addition of sweet rice, they aid the digestion process and even improve gut health.
Ingredients You’ll Need
You will only need 5 ingredients, plus water, for this recipe.
- Pumpkin: Aged pumpkin or Kabocha work best.
- Sweet rice (chapssal): White glutinous short-grain rice. Substitute with Mochiko flour if not available.
- Sweeteners: A combination of white sugar and honey
- Salt: To balance flavors
How to Make Korean Pumpkin Porridge
Step 1: Prep the Ingredients
- Rinse the sweet glutenous rice several times and soak it in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel off the skin and remove the seeds in the center. Slice the pumpkin into large chunks.
Step 2. Cooking Process
- Put pumpkin pieces and sweet rice in a large soup pot and add 4 cups of water. Cover with a lid and bring it to boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin and rice are very soft and tender. Stir occasionally.
Step 3. Puree and Season
- Using a hand blender, puree the pumpkin and rice until smooth (or slightly grainy).
- Alternatively, transfer the mixture to a blender to process until smooth.
- Season the porridge with salt and sugar according to your taste. Garnish porridge with pine nuts (if using) and serve it warm.
How to Store and Reheat Hobakjuk
Believe it or not, the delicious flavors of this Korean pumpkin porridge, or hobakjuk, actually improve with time. When stored properly, you can continue to enjoy this comforting dish days after you’ve made it.
Storing Leftover Hobakjuk
Place the remaining porridge in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe zip bag.
To reheat, simply cover a bowl of the refrigerated porridge with a loose piece of paper towel. Microwave until hot. Alternatively, you can reheat the porridge on the stovetop until it reaches your desired temperature.
Freezing for Longer Storage
Hobakjuk also freezes remarkably well. For long-term storage, spoon the cooled porridge into freezer-safe zip bags and store for up to 3 months.
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Korean Pumpkin Salad
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
- Korean Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- Pumpkin Pie Crunch Cake
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Korean Pumpkin Porridge (Hobakjuk)
- 1 1/2 lb Kabocha pumpkin, or other deep orange fleshed pumpkin
- 2/3 cup Korean sweet rice (chapssal)
- 4 cup water
- 3-4 tbsp white sugar
- 1-2 tbsp honey, or light brown sugar
- salt , to taste
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, to garnish, optional
- Rinse the sweet glutenous rice several times and soak it in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, peel off the skin and remove the seeds in the center. Cut the pumpkin into large chunks.
- Put pumpkin pieces and sweet rice in a large soup pot and add water. Cover with a lid and bring it to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin and rice are very soft and tender. Stir occasionally.
- Turn off the heat. Using a hand blender, puree the pumpkin and rice until smooth. Alternatively, transfer the mixture to a blender to process until smooth (or slightly grainy). Add more water if the consistency seems too thick.
- Season the porridge with sugar and salt according to your taste. Add more sugar if you prefer sweeter taste. Garnish porridge with pine nuts (if using) and serve it warm.