[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]
(As advised to Sonja Swanson.)
Once I was rising up in Korea, proper across the time when the fields turned golden yellow and other people started to organize for the chilly winter, we’d harvest a giant, previous, wrinkled pumpkins the colour of dusty orange clay. We’d all the time have a number of of those pumpkins within the storage room for winter, and one pumpkin was sufficient to feed a household of eight. My grandmother would make an enormous pot of hobak beombeok (호박범벅, rustic pumpkin porridge), which is loaded with beans, chestnuts, jujubes, candy potatoes, and little rice-size bits of dough. It’s chunky and hearty, all sure along with the cooked-down squash. It doesn’t fairly have the silkiness of juk (a kind of porridge) or the density of plain rice, however one thing in-between.
Rising up, we frequently ate hobak beombeok (pronounced “bum-buck”) as a snack, or typically as a easy meal with a aspect of kimchi, however I believe it makes a terrific breakfast since most individuals like one thing just a little candy within the morning.
In Korea, we normally use neulgeun hobak (늙은 호박, previous pumpkin), a big and not-too-sweet pumpkin that used to develop on the stone partitions and straw roofs of individuals’s homes again within the day. As of late, yow will discover them at conventional markets, although they’re not usually bought in chain grocery shops anymore. A single neulgeun hobak is fairly huge (I lately purchased one which was 5 kilograms), so I simply freeze my leftovers and pull them out for breakfast with my husband. In case you can’t discover neulgeun hobak, attempt butternut squash or a winter squash with an identical stage of sweetness. My recipe additionally calls for 2 sorts of beans—adzuki beans (a small, spherical crimson bean) and gangnang beans (강낭콩), that are mainly kidney beans. The adzuki may be cooked with out soaking them first, however the dried gangnang/kidney beans ought to be soaked in salted lukewarm water in a single day.
Beombeok is normally thickened with a starchy base. You should utilize wheat flour to make a type of positive, shaggy dough that each thickens the broth and provides you tiny dumpling-like grains, or you should utilize candy rice flour (for a stickier, extra velvety base), which is what most individuals use. I discover that the candy rice flour will get just a little gooey, and my grandmother used wheat flour, in order that’s what I name for right here. Plus, the wheat flour offers you these enjoyable chewy dough bits!
My grandmother lived by way of hungrier instances, and so she made a beombeok that was virtually half flour and half mashed pumpkin, to which she’d then add beans and no matter different root greens she had readily available. In the present day we will make beombeok with a ratio of elements that we discover most interesting, not simply the ratio that is most filling. With winter right here, it is the proper time to share this recipe for hobak beombeok, in reminiscence of my grandmother’s cooking. Right here’s make it.
Step 1: Prep the Adzuki and Kidney Beans
Pink adzuki beans are normally bought dried. I par-boil them for 2 minutes, drain the water, refill the pot, and cook dinner them till they’re simply shy of being absolutely tender. In case you begin to see cracks creating on the surface, you’ve overcooked the beans, so keep watch over them!
In Korea, I soak the gangnang (kidney) beans in a single day, then cook dinner them with the pumpkin till the pumpkin breaks down right into a mash and the beans are tender. When cross-testing this recipe utilizing dried kidney beans bought in america, I wasn’t capable of get them tender sufficient by cooking them with the squash. To account for this, the recipe I’m sharing right here has you boil them individually, additionally till they’re simply shy of being absolutely tender.
Step 2: Peel and Boil the Pumpkin
Precisely how a lot water you want will rely on the squash you employ. The large, previous Korean pumpkins can launch plenty of water throughout cooking; I solely add sufficient water to cowl half the extent of the pumpkin within the pot when utilizing it. Butternut squash releases much less water and infrequently wants fairly a bit extra water to cook dinner absolutely with out drying out. The very best strategy is to start out with the identical stage of water—midway up the pumpkin—however add extra as wanted if issues get too dry (that is true all through the cooking course of for beombeok; you’ll be able to all the time add extra water if it’s too dry).
Step 3: Prep Candy Potato and Chestnuts
In the meantime, wash and minimize the candy potatoes into roughly bite-sized items (maintain these skins, they add nice texture). In case you can, attempt to discover small Korean candy potatoes, which have a purplish pores and skin and really gentle yellow flesh. In case you can’t discover them, the candy potatoes extra generally bought in US shops will work.
Peel and clear the chestnuts, too. In case you discover this process overly tedious, you’ll be able to all the time purchase pre-peeled chestnuts.
Step 4: Make the Jujube Garnish
Jujubes are spherical, reddish fruit which can be native to Asia, they usually’re bought dried at Korean markets. To arrange the dried jujubes, press your paring knife into the lengthy aspect of the fruit and rotate, carving out the arduous seed within the middle utilizing the identical movement you’d use to peel an apple. You’ll find yourself with a “sheet” of jujube fruit that you simply’ll then minimize into slivers for a garnish.
Step 5: Mash Pumpkin and Add elements
When the pumpkin flesh begins to offer just a little while you press it gently, it’s prepared. The previous pumpkins I take advantage of in Korea break down shortly on their very own, however butternut squash typically wants some assist; if it does, merely mash it with a potato masher or whisk to make a chunky, moist purée. Then add the candy potatoes, boiled adzuki and kidney beans, and chestnuts. Proceed to cook dinner till the potatoes and beans are absolutely tender; add water at any level if the greens and beans must cook dinner extra however the porridge has grow to be too dry.
Step 6: Make and Incorporate the Doughy Bits, Then Add the Jujubes
Put together the shaggy dough by drizzling water right into a bowl of flour whereas mixing every little thing round with the opposite hand. You’ll desire a dry shaggy dough made up of small, separate bits; go slowly as a result of in the event you add an excessive amount of water, you’ll be able to simply slip previous the proper stage and find yourself with a extra cohesive dough ball. It’s higher to err on the aspect of too little water, even when which means a few of the flour stays powdery: the chunks of dough that do kind shall be enjoyable to chew, and the additional flour will assist create a thicker consistency for the porridge. Add the dough base to the pot and stir continuously because the porridge thickens. Add the sliced jujubes. When the dough is cooked, your beombeok is prepared.
Beombeok may be served sizzling or chilly, however on these chilly winter days, consuming it sizzling is bound to heat your abdomen, similar to it used to heat mine when my grandmother made it for me.

This publish could include hyperlinks to Amazon or different companions; your purchases by way of these hyperlinks can profit Critical Eats. Learn extra about our affiliate linking coverage.