In Korea, 죽 ‘juk’ dishes are savoury porridges made from rice. Some are the same consistency of porridge or oatmeal, while others are more like soup with dumplings of rice. Juk is a popular comfort food in Korea and is commonly eaten when ill as it is simple and easy on the stomach, but tasty and good for the body.
While Juk is usually homemade, you can easily buy instant mix in Korea – however, it is incredibly salty!! It is best served warm, but most dishes can be enjoyed cold.
My first experiences of ‘juk’ were packets of instant 소고기죽 (Beef porridge) and, while saltier than a mouthful of seawater, was really nice! I’d never had any experience of savoury porridge before, so it was very new to me. When I started making it, I was dubious that the mix would even work. It seemed too small a quantity and too fine to expand into anything substantial, but sure enough it worked! This made me curious about how hard it could be to make it myself.
Being a big fan of butternut squash, I was so happy when I saw a recipe online for 호박죽. But this rice porridge was different from the one I tried. Instead of being an oatmeal-y mix, it seemed to be a kind of soup with dumplings. But, instead of suit, wheat flour and herbs, these dumplings were made of just sweet rice flour, water and a pinch of salt!
It’s so simple, but SO good
The recipe I used came from a lovely website and Youtube channel called Maangchi, which teaches a wide array of Korean recipes.
Maangchi is funny, cute, an incredibly talented cook and beautiful (inside and out). Her videos and articles sharing her recipes are clear and fun to make – and all delivered with charisma and a unique sparkle!
After one try, the 호박죽 turned out perfectly. And I can see why it is considered such a good comfort food! It’s so wholesome, yet simple! It’s not too rich, yet it’s so satisfying.
And Maangchi has literally hundreds of other fantastic recipes to try, including:
Roast Seaweed snacks
Korean style fried chicken
And Jjajangmyeon (짜장면)
After the brilliant success of the 호박죽, I will definitely be trying as many of her recipes as I can!