Pumpkin Platters: A Round-Up of Different Ways to Enjoy the Fruit

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Pumpkin Platters: A Round-Up of Different Ways to Enjoy the Fruit

The pumpkin (hobak in Korean) has been a favorite food in Korea since the Shilla Dynasty, perhaps as early as the sixth century. This golden tuber is also the prime ingredient in several traditional dishes, and when ripe, the flesh is soft and sweet. There is also a green variety, which tastes superb when steamed and served immediately. They both can be good for making traditional Korean dishes. Hobakyeot, a kind of taffy, and hobakssi, dried pumpkin seeds, are a popular snack. Hobaknip or steamed pumpkin leaves is a great choice for food lovers in the fall - wrap a small portion of steamed rice with a green but tender leaf and dip in red chili pepper sauce. Hobakcha, bittersweet tea brewed from the pumpkin's outer skin, is thought to have medicinal qualities.

The Korean pumpkin is high in carbohydrates, is a fat-free source of energy, and is also high in minerals, such as calcium and iron. It is a source of important vitamins, such as beta-carotene and vitamins A and C.

In Korea, the most popular dish made from the pumpkin is hobakjuk, a porridge made from the pumpkin's naturally sweet flesh. The porridge is often included in Korean traditional full course meal, served as breakfast or as an in-between meal snack.

Now that it is the best time to try hobakjuk at home, so the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition introduces an easy-to-follow recipe to make a classic pumpkin porridge.

How to Make Classic Hobakjuk

Ingredients: 1/4 of a medium-size pumpkin, 1/2 cup of red beans(pat in Korean), 1/2 cup of sticky rice or 1 cup of sticky rice powder(chapssalgaru), a dash of salt and brown sugar.

1. Boil red beans in 3 cups water until beans become tender. Drain and set aside.

2. If using sticky rice, put rice in 3 cups water for at least 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

3. Wash pumpkin and remove seeds. Peel skin.

4. Cut flesh of the pumpkin into about 1-2 inch cubes.

5. In the pot, put pumpkin cubes, red beans and sticky rice. Add about 6 cups water.

6. Simmer until ingredients turn soft. If you're using sticky rice powder, add powder when pumpkin and red beans are tender. You can add more water to attain desired thickness.

7. To make porridge less grainy, you can mash ingredients using wooden spatula. If you prefer creamy version, put ingredients in blender and puree for few minutes.

8. Cook again on low flame for 10 minutes, and add salt, sugar to taste. Serve immediately.

by In? Cho

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