It’s been a year since I moved to Houston. Exactly this time last year, I was drowning in boxes, packages and more boxes. Man, now I look back, I don’t even know how I could unpack and arrange everything in place so neatly. It liked a miracle or something. I’m a neat freak but still, if you saw the enormous amount of boxes that floated around my place back then, you would be surprised of how I did it too. To be honest, I was not happy with the move because this is the thing that I had to do not I wanted to do so … you can understand the f*cked up feeling I had year ago.
A year after my moving, I have a food blog that keeps track of what I have cooked and shared with the world, two incredible cats, a group of incredibly crazy friends, a place where I could practice my yoga daily, a long time boyfriend, and a small shopping center where I wander by myself few times a week to find inspiration, I could not be happier, you know. Oh wait, I forgot, and many Korean restaurants where I can satisfy my love for Korean food almost every other day.
There was no time that I ate that much Korean food like the past year, I’m telling you. When I’m hungry and have no idea what I should eat, here it goes Korean food. When I want to go out and eat something new, again I choose Korean food (at different restaurant, still counts as ‘something new’, right?). When I’m out and have nothing to do in my mind, as a default, I pick a random Korean restaurant on Yelp. I eat Kimchi soup way more than Pho, that I can always promise you. I remember at my last job, there this guy who worked with me always gave me some of his homemade Kimchi (and it was the best, thanks David), and every time I finished his ‘gift’ within 1-2 weeks. He’s Korean by the way. There is nothing better than eating authentic homemade Kimchi. Now, I really miss that flavor and indeed to make friends with some awesome Korean cooks so I hope luckily, they will gift me some of their homemade goodness Kimchi. Still no luck.
Speaking of Korean food, after every meal at my most favorite restaurant, they gave out a dessert drink for free and it really caught my attention. It’s sweet and super refresh, after shoved it down my throat, I swear it did clean completely my palate and made me craving for more Korean BBQ meat. Since then I’m always curious what that drink is and how it made of, after many times doing research, I find out it is called Rice Juice/Punch or in Korean as Sikhye. It’s a drink that usually served as a dessert after a meal that is full with meat or used as a hang-over relief drink. It’s very clear, sweet or semi sweet, and served cold half frozen or with shaved ice. They also include some of fermented rice and pine nuts in the drink. My version of this sweet drink will exclude pine nuts because I’m not a big fan of nuts, but you don’t have to.
It takes a long time to finish this drink but you can always double or even triple the recipe if you need to, however, soaking and fermenting time should be the same, you don’t need to double this part. The hardest part of making the drink is to make sure you do several times of straining. The more you strain, the clearer the final drink will be.
Korean Rice Juice
- 1 c malt barley flour
- 8 c water
- 1 c cooked white or brown rice
- 1/4 c sugar
- Pine nut, optional
In a medium pot, mix together malt barley flour and water. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours.
After that, carefully strain the clear liquid that separated on top through a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth or paper towel to another pot. Discard the left over malt barley that sunk to the bottom.
Let the strained liquid sit for another 30 minutes if it still carries over some of the white impurities. The clearer the liquid, the better the final drink is gonna be. Strain one more time to eliminate these sediments.
Spread 1 cup of cooked rice evenly in your rice cooker. Pour the strained liquid and sugar very slowly in the cooker. Set rice cooker to warm setting and let the mixture fermented for 4 to 5 hours. If you don’t have rice cooker, you can do this in the oven on the lowest temperature setting. After 4 hours, open the lid and check whether the rice is fermented, you should see few rice grains float of top of the liquid. If not, let it continue the process for another hour.
After the mixture done with the fermented process, strain it one more time. Keep the rice separated in cold water, store in refrigerator.
In another pot, bring the fermented rice liquid to boil, add more water. If you want your juice looks a little bit yellow (like mine), add 1 cup. However, if you like your juice looks more white, add 2-3 cups of water (adjust sweetness with sugar if needed). Constantly skim the foam that formed on top of the surface. Boil the rice juice for 5 more minutes to stop the fermented process.
Store rice juice in tight container and refrigerate. Rice juice tastes best with shaved ice or half frozen and cold fermented rice, pine nuts (optional). Enjoy!