Though now is the perfect time to stay indoors, there are always several street vendors braving the cold to sell their warming food. Pumpkin porridge (호박죽) is one of these favorites, popularly sold within open-air markets. This recipe is a simple re-imagination of the traditional soup. In place of glutinous rice flour, I chose to use on-hand mixed grains as a thickener, and raspberries were used in place of the traditional sweet red beans (팥), to create tang and a refreshing break from the mono-texture of porridge. Serve this porridge immediately to enjoy hot, or add a little extra water before chilling to enjoy cold.
Note: In Korea, porridge is simply made, with very little seasoning (if any at all). Due to its blandness, doctors often recommend eating porridge to those recovering from stomach and intestinal illnesses.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
1/2 – 1 lb pumpkin
1 cup cooked mixed grains
1 cup raspberries or blackberries + extra for garnish
If using frozen berries, take them out to thaw.
Cut your pumpkin into wedges while scooping out the seeds and extra pulp. Place the wedges on a baking sheet and roast them at 400 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, until tender and a bit brown on top. Allow the wedges to cool before removing the soft flesh from the skins. Cube the roasted pumpkin before placing in a sturdy food processor (you may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your food processor). Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and pulse, pulse, pulse until the pumpkin puree is very smooth, with a slight sheen.
Place half of the pumpkin puree in a soup pot on the stove over low heat.
Take 1/2 cup of the cooked mixed grains and puree it with the remaining puree until smooth. Add the puree to the soup pot, along with the remaining 1/2 cup cooked mixed grains.
Cook over low heat to warm the porridge throughout. Add water a tablespoon at a time until you are satisfied with the consistency. Good porridge should be incredibly tender, with minimal chewing needed. It should be thick and not too soupy, but certainly not dry. It should also be necessary to consume it with a spoon.
Turn the heat off and gently stir in the berries. To enjoy hot, immediately serve the porridge with a few extra berries on top.