Hobakjuk Revisited (Pumpkin Porridge with Rice Dumplings)

HobakJuk (Pumpkin Porridge with Rice "Mochi" Dumplings) by cHowDivine.com

I’m not crazy about cold weather. My threshold for cold weather is pretty low. If the temperature dips below 60, I just want to hibernate. But I love seasonal produce that comes with every season. Fall is no exception.

It’s not fall in our household without the cold-weather squashes. I love butternut and acorn squash. But they don’t hold a candle to my favorite winter squash of them all, kabocha squash. I love its sweetness and drier texture. It’s reminiscent of goguma (Korean sweet potato) and bahm (chestnuts), two of my favorite fall/winter treats. I love kabocha squash simply roasted or steamed. But they are wonderful in dishes as well. One of my favorite kabocha squash dishes is hobakjuk.

I’ve done a post on hobakjuk when I first started this blog. I intended to just update the photo on that post. But I decided to keep that photo as a reminder of how this blog started and how far it’s come. That was actually the first post that I shared with my family and friends! So I’m doing a new post with an updated recipe.

Just to get back to the basics, “hobak” in Korean means squash or pumpkins. So a zucchini as well as a pumpkin would both be called “hobak.” And “juk” (as I’m sure you’ve already guessed) means porridge. Hobajuk can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be served as an appetizer, an entree, and even as a dessert due to its sweetness. I personally love it as breakfast. Just hit it with an extra bit of maple syrup or brown sugar, and a handful of nuts or seeds. It’s just perfect as a healthy and hearty breakfast.

Hobakjuk is very easy to make. It’s similar to making puréed winter squash soups. But traditional hobakjuk calls for sweet rice dumplings and a sweet rice flour solution that gives the dish its silky texture. You can make this without the rice flour solution. But it wouldn’t truly be hobakjuk. It would more accurately be squash or pumpkin soup, because it’s the addition of the sweet rice solution that gives it the texture of “juk” or porridge.

The porridge is delicious on its own, but the rice dumplings really take this dish to another level. They have the texture of mochi, and they’re so delicious smothered in the sweetness of the kabocha porridge. So please don’t skip them. It takes mere minutes to put them together. Believe me. It will be worth your (very short) while.

Pumpkin Porridge with "Mochi" Dumplings by cHowDivine.com

HobakJuk (Pumpkin Porridge with Rice "Mochi" Dumplings) by cHowDivine.com

Hobakjuk (Pumpkin Porridge with Rice Dumplings) Recipe
Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 lb kabocha squash (without seeds and peel)
1/4 cup sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour
4 cups + 3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB brown sugar or maple syrup
20-25 (1/2-inch) rice dumplings (recipe below)
1/4 cup adzuki beans, cooked (optional)
toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
salt to taste

For Dumplings
1/2 cup sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
3 TB warm water + more if necessary
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Peel and seed the kabocha squash. Place the kabocha squash in a steamer and steam for about 20 minutes until soft. Check for doneness by poking the pieces with a fork. Let them cool. Add the squash and 2 cups of water to a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the contents into a pot. Add 2 more cups of water to a blender and pulse to get the bits of kabocha stuck to the blender. Pour the contents into the same pot.
  2. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir well and lower the heat to medium.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of sweet rice flour and 3/4 cup of water. Slowly add this to the pot while stirring. Make sure to stir well to prevent the mixture from forming lumps. Once the contents come to a boil, lower the heat further and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir regularly to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. The contents of the pot should now look thicker. Don’t be afraid to add water if it becomes too thick.
  4. While the porridge is simmering, make the rice dumplings. Mix together 1/2 cup sweet rice flour and 3 TB of water. Knead until you achieve a dough that feels like soft play-doh. Form them into 1/2-inch balls. You may need extra flour to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
  5. Stir in brown sugar (or maple syrup) and salt. Add the rice balls to the pot. Let them cook on low boil for about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook. The rice balls will become mushy. The rice dumplings should have the consistency of mochi. Stir in beans, if using, with about 1 minute left of cooking time.
  6. If necessary, salt to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Toasted pumpkin seeds and additional brown sugar or maple syrup can be added if desired.

Cook’s Note*

You can bake or microwave kabocha squash. If you are going to bake, don’t add any oil to the squash.

I used a small kabocha squash that weighed about 2 1/4 pounds before peeling and seeding. Kabocha squash is best for this porridge, but you can use a butternut squash or a sugar pumpkin instead.

Make sure to use sweet rice flour for this. This is what give the porridge its thick silky texture and the rice dumplings their chewy (“mochi”) texture.

I used canned Eden adzuki beans. They are the only canned bean product I use. Lining for their canned products is BPA-free.


01. November 2013 by gomo
Categories: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Korean Food, Main Dish, Soups/Stew, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , | 19 comments

Comments (19)

  1. I love kabocha too! I love eating it just by itself or using it in different dishes. I think the last thing I used it for was kabocha crème brulee. I haven’t tried it in juk yet cuz I don’t really eat juk much…just once in a while. Yours looks really good!

    So that was your first post, eh? You took delicious looking pics from the start! My photo taking skills still need work. I am still using my iphone for all my pics. What kind of camera do you use?

    • Hi Miss Kim! I become obsessed with kabocha during the colder months. I just love them. This isn’t really “juk” in the traditional sense, since it’s the flour that added & not rice. You should try it, especially if you like puréed soups. I LOVE the rice dumplings in this; they are basically mochi balls. So good!

      Thanks for you kind words. This was among my first posts. My camera is all but falling apart. I need to upgrade soon.

  2. Great dish! I don’t know Hobakjuk, but it sounds wonderful. And those rice dumplings look terrific! Really fun recipe – thanks.

  3. Glad to meet another turtle. I started tucking into my shell about a month ago. 🙂 This soup looks like the perfect warm me up and I’ve never had anything like it. Love the idea of rice dumplings in a winter squash soup. I can see how it would add some texture that I find missing in pureed soups. I love this!

    • Hi five MJ! I would stay in the warmth of my apartment for the next six months if I could. This porridge is wonderful for the cold months. And the rice dumplings give it a heartiness I crave in the fall and winter. Thanks! I hope you’re having a wonderful week!!

  4. It really looks yummy! I will try this weekend. Thanks for reminding me the recipe!

    • I will make it for you if I see you before the weather warms up.:) If you make it, let me know how it turns out. Hope you’re having fun with your little angel(s)!!

  5. I can almost feel the softness and slight chewiness of these perfectly shaped dumplings… I love the chewiness of the Korean rice cakes and somehow feel that these are their more sophisticated, delicate cousins. The bowl looks fantastic!

    • The rice dumplings are probably my favorite part of this dish. The chewiness is just heavenly. They are one of my favorite things to eat period. Thanks for your kind words as always. Hope you are well!!

  6. Awesome blog. Made this a few days ago. It was fantastic! Thank you for sharing!

  7. I made it last thursday, I turned out AMAZING Love the chewy texture of the rice balls. I add shredded chicken to the mix. Thank you so much!

    • Yay! So happy you hear that you enjoyed it. The shredded chicken sounds delicious. I bet it made it extra hearty and comforting. Have a great weekend Sandrine!

  8. Agreed, kabocha is the best of all pumpkins out there. Since it’s really hard to find over here my mum has been growing it in her garden for me. Sadly, I still can only eat for a few months a year when it’s in season. However, we can usually find butternut all year round so I might try this dish with it. I’m really intrigued by the mochi dumplings. I just picked up mochi rice for the first time and am wondering if I could just grind that up as a sub for the sweet rice flour? Because I figure that’s what it’d be? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Miss Polkadot,
      Sweet rice flour is VERY fine in texture. I don’t think you can get that texture through grinding in a food processor. If possible, try getting it online.

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  10. Are there any other types of pumpkin that would work especially well with this dish? Kabocha is very hard to get where I live. 🙁

    • Hi Sylvana,
      A sweet butternut squash or an acorn squash could act as a substitute. But kabochas really make this porridge. If you can find a Korean market or just an Asian market, you should be able to get your hands on some kabochas.

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