Monday, August 8, 2022

Jeonbokjuk Recipe - Korean Abalone Porridge From Jeju Island

Jeonbokjuk, or Korean abalone porridge is one of the most delicious and comforting porridge that there is.

Soak 1/2 rice cup of glutinous rice in 4 rice cups of water for 1 hour. After an hour, strain the rice and retain the rice water. 

If you prefer to have a thicker consistency, simply reduce the amount of rice water used to 2 or 3 cups instead. We prefer our Jeonbokjuk to be more broth like and not too starchy. 

Use a toothbrush to scrape off the sides of 8 fresh abalones of any excess dirt. Use a spoon to remove each abalone from the shell and remove the greenish intestinal parts for use later. 

Be sure to remove the teeth at the front of each abalone too. Blend the intestines into a thick greenish paste. Slice 4 of the abalones thinly and set aside. 

Add the glutinous rice to a rice cooker and mix it well with the blended paste. Add 1/2 finely diced onion, 2 stalks finely diced white parts of scallion and 1/2 finely diced carrot. 

Add the thinly sliced abalones into the rice cooker. Add 4 cups of the rice water. Cook the rice for 1 hour.

After 30 minutes, open the rice cooker lid and season with 2 tbsp of a good quality fish sauce. Add the 4 remaining abalones, 1/2 finely diced carrot and 2 stalks finely diced green scallion. Close the lid and cook for another 30 minutes. 

After 1 hour, open the rice cooker lid and the porridge should be fully cooked. Give everything a good stir. Simply spoon the porridge into serving bowls and garnish with more finely diced scallion. 

You may wish to drizzle some sesame oil to give the abalone porridge an extra appetising fragrance.

A refreshing and flavourful porridge that has the briny yet clean taste of the ocean and supremely comforting. It’s no wonder that Jeonbokjuk is known to Koreans as the king of porridge.

Jeonbokjuk, which literally translated in Korean means abalone (jeonbok) porridge (juk) originated back as early as the Joseon era. It was served mainly for the royals and kings of the era as abalone was very exclusive and expensive then.

The abalones used during that time were almost entirely taken from the Jeju island region, and once harvested were transported to the royal family for consumption. 

It was and is still thought to be a very prized ingredient as abalone is high in protein, minerals and vitamins, with very little fat content. Hence, it is not only a delicacy but also serves as a nutritional supplement to aid digestion for the elderly and sick. 

Which was probably why the Joseon royals so enjoyed abalones and were often presented as gifts to the royal Joseon family. And it was said that the king’s favourite way to consume abalone was as a porridge dish.

These days, you can easily find Jeonbokjuk at most Jeju island eateries and it can be prepared in 2 ways - one with the intestines and the other way is without. The preferred way is with the intestines as it gives a much stronger, more briny abalone flavour when cooked as a porridge. 

Despite it’s garish looking greenish colour, the abalone porridge is one of the tastiest porridge that there is as it has an ocean abalone sweetness. It is just about one of the most comforting dishes you can eat. 

Fresh abalones are required as canned ones simply will not have the intestines and freshness required. And when you have it once, you will want to have it again and again.

It also serves as the best food during this highly endemic time and will provide the best form of recovery booster for many that need something light and refreshing. 

But even during normal periods and on cold days, this Jeonbokjuk will be especially delicious and heartwarming.

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