Red Bean Porridge
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
According to old customs, red bean porridge is eaten on the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice (Dongji). Bowls of red bean porridge were presented to the household shrine, placed in rooms and in the shed. The red bean (red being the color of Yang, the sun, the positive, the masculine) was supposed to chase away evil spirits, who had the greatest strength when the days were short. The porridge was also applied to the main gate or the walls to the main gate of the house. When the porridge cooled, the family shared a meal to celebrate the solstice, the day the sun comes to life again.
NOTE: After you’ve added the rice, adjust the thickness of the porridge to your liking. If the mixture is too thick, add a little bit of water at a time, stirring and adding until you have the right consistency. If the mixture is too thin, simmer a bit longer until some of the water evaporates.
Makes5 to 6 servings
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Mealbreakfast, dinner, lunch
Taste and Texturecreamy, savory, sweet
Type of Dishsoup
- 2 cups red beans
- ½ cup rice
- About 2 dozen Sweet Rice Balls
Place the red beans and 16 cups (1 gallon) water in a large pot. Simmer for about 2 hours until soft, stirring occasionally, then more frequently as the liquid thickens. Remove from heat and let cool. Drain the beans, but retain the water. Then push the beans through a mesh strainer, adding some of the reserved water to help strain. Discard the peels and residue. Pour the strained bean soup back into the pot.
Wash and soak the rice in cold water for about 20 minutes. Add the rice to the soup and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the rice balls and cook for a few minutes longer.
Serve either hot or at room temperature with either a side of salt or honey, depending if you like your porridge savory or sweet.
2005 Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee