Hobakjuk – Korean Pumpkin Porridge

호박죽 Hobakjuk Korean Pumpkin Squash Porridge

This version of hobakjuk, a Korean porridge made with pumpkins or squashes, is all about texture. Velvety pumpkin puree is mixed with tender azuki beans, chewy sweet rice balls, and crunchy pine nuts. And because everyone knows that pumpkins and spices go hand-in-hand, a light dusting of ground cinnamon ties everything together.

I’m just a bit confused whether hobakjuk should be served as a dessert or as a savory soup. At first glance, it seems like a dessert because it is lightly sweetened. The author then suggests serving the porridge with canisters of salt and pepper, tilting the porridge back to the middle of the sweet-savory scale.

In any case, you don’t have to be Korean to like hobakjuk. Unlike kimchi, this pumpkin porridge will seem instantly familiar even to the most unadventurous of palates. It may necessitate a visit to an Asian grocery store, risking life and limb because the possibility of slipping on errant grains of rice on aisle 7 exists, but try this recipe while pumpkins are in season and you’ll end up saving the pie for later. Much later.

recipe adapted from Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall’s Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen
A Worldly Epicurean’s Delight: Korean hosted by PJ

호박죽 (Hobakjuk)
Korean Pumpkin / Winter Squash Porridge

makes 4 to 5 servings

호박죽 Hobakjuk Korean Pumpkin Squash Roasted
Roasted pumpkin halves.

1/2 cup dried azuki / red beans
1 pumpkin, about 2 to 3 pounds, about the size of a cantaloupe
3/4 cups granulated sugar or honey
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
16 sweet rice balls
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pine nuts
salt and pepper, to taste (optional)


To Cook the Azuki / Red Beans:

Add the azuki beans to a pot filled with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Strain the beans and discard the boiling liquid. Return the beans to the pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Cook the azuki beans for about 45 minutes, or until tender. The beans should still be firm but thoroughly cooked.

To Roast the Pumpkin:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Roast the pumpkin halves for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender.

To Cook the Pumpkin Porridge:

Scoop out the roasted pumpkin and mash with a fork. Dissolve the sweet rice flour in about 1/2 cup of water. In a medium saucepan, mix together the roasted pumpkin flesh and sweet rice flour mixture. Stir frequently over low heat for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Adjust the pumpkin porridge to the desired consistency by adding water or reducing over low heat.

호박죽 Hobakjuk Korean Pumpkin Squash Porridge Texture
Too thick? Too thin? Just right?

To Serve:

Serve warm in shallow bowls. Top with sweet rice balls, cooked azuki beans, pine nuts, and ground cinnamon. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper if desired.

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29 Responses to “Hobakjuk – Korean Pumpkin Porridge”

  1. Y says:

    Jude, you must be single handedly supporting the entire pumpkin industry, what with all your amazing pumpkin recipes! ;P

  2. Rosa says:

    Really interesting and original! This Korean dish looks beautiful and delicious!



  3. Dee says:

    Trust you to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary :) The soup looks amazing, but I’d give anything to raid your cookbook collection!

  4. rainbowbrown says:

    This sounds so good right now. Breakfast is what I’d call it.

  5. Ning says:

    Beautiful pictures! Wow!

  6. Fearless Kitchen says:

    This looks wonderful! I don’t know if I’d think of it as breakfast or dessert, but I’d definitely think of it as sweet, tasty and unique. I’m wondering who I can spring this on…

  7. kat says:

    what an interesting take on squash soup. I love the presentantion

  8. Maryann says:

    Hi Jude! This is wonderful! Perfect for Fall :)

  9. clumbsycookie says:

    I love how you arranged this plate Jude! So elegant and tasteful!

  10. Caitlin says:

    I have a confession – every time I read the name of this porridge, I giggle. Hobakjuk. Hobakjuk. :) With that alone, you made my day.

  11. Vera says:

    How interesting, Jude! With all these pumpkins around this is a great recipe to try!

  12. Vegeyum Ganga says:

    perfectly beautiful.

  13. van says:

    What a wonderful Fall dish. I think it’s perfect thickness.

  14. Y – I’m starting to turn orange. No, really.

    Rosa, Ning – Thanks!

    Dee – It’s under lock and key :)

    Tommi – Mmm pumpkins for breakfast. Sounds good to me.

    Jessica – I hope whoever you spring it on likes it.

    Kat, Maryann, Clumbsy – Thanks!

    Caitlin – Might be fun to repeatedly say it out loud and fast. Until people start staring.

    Vera – Hope you try it!

    Vegeyum, Van – Thanks for dropping by!

  15. Kevin says:

    This porridge sounds really good! I like all of the different textures that the garnishes add.

  16. noobcook says:

    I’m loving all these pumpkin recipes you are posting. Interesting to see how ‘porridge’ looks so different in different cultures :)

  17. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Definitely amazed at the breadth of your pumpkin recipes here.

    Did you have to run this porridge through a sieve to get all smooth?

  18. Elle says:

    I haven’t tried any of your recipes yet, but I just want you to know that I love your pictures! Fantastic!

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  20. Pumpkin whoopie pies and creative variations | Peck the Beak says:

    [...] Korean and incorporate some of the elements of a tradition Korean porridge soup by folding in pine nuts (or any nut for that matter) and azuki/red [...]

  21. Dessert Pumpkin Corn Porridge — Restaurant Baby says:

    [...] Jude’s hobakjuk [...]

  22. Madeline says:

    Looks delicious and beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing.

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  27. Eun Ju Cho says:

    Wow~~~I’m nice to meet my country food. However,this is my favorite food. When I was young, my mother often made pumkin porrige for my family. These days, I also made it for my kids. Pumkin is very sweet and healthful. Thank you for sharing…^^

  28. Gold Price says:

    It is really good article and exciting.This food is really enjoyable and tasty.I have made it for my family.
    Gold Price

  29. jana says:

    Wow, Thanks Million!
    After many contemplation for a few years… I finally launched to go at this pumpkin porridge “That is a Korean style” I came to USA long long time ago from Korea. I never knew how this porridge was made. Every time when I go to Korean town for Korean BBQ buffet restaurant this porridge is the first item I go after. It is always good. The health benefit was rather known later especially for a women. And I am glad I found this site for I went Korean market today driving 85 miles and bought the pumpkin. And I found this site with wonderful instruction. Thanks !!!

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