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Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts

Learn how to make Korean sweet rice dessert (Yaksik)!

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts (Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Welcome back to My Korean Kitchen. As I implied in my last blog post, I want to kick off this year’s first recipe with Korean New Year’s Day food.

You might be thinking that I’m like 3 weeks overdue for sharing new year’s day food? Yeah, that’s true. However, “True” Korean New Year’s Day is yet to come (February 8th, 2016) this year as most Koreans celebrate new year in a lunar calendar system. So I want to share more new year’s day recipes in the next few weeks starting from today. Who’s excited?! 🙂

Today’s recipe is Korean sweet rice with dried fruit and nuts. Its Korean name is Yaksik/Yakshik (약식) or Yakbap (약밥). It means medicinal food. One of the key ingredients used is honey and honey was considered as a medicine in the old days in Korea.

Anyway, Yaksik used to one of my favourite childhood Korean desserts! ? This is also perfect for on the go breakfast or snacks and even suitable for gift giving as well!

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Officially Yaksik is one of the foods you would eat on the first full moon of the new year (in the lunar calendar) – Jeongwol Daeboreum (정월대보름). However, it is also typically served on other festive occasions such as Korean new year’s day (Seollal), Korean harvest festival (Chuseok), at a wedding receptions or at a 60th birthday party.

As you can gather from the descriptive name – sweet rice with dried fruit and nuts – the main ingredients are sweet rice (short grain glutinous rice), dried fruit (e.g. jujubes and raisins/sultanas) and nuts (e.g. chestnuts and pine nuts). However other types of dried fruit and nuts (e.g. cranberries, walnuts, pecan, sunflower seeds etc.) can be used alternatively.

For sauce, honey and/or dark brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and cinnamon powder is used. The texture is quite soft and sticky. The flavour is sweet, slightly salty (according to my friend but it didn’t stand out for me) and loaded with healthy dried fruit and nuts. The aroma from sesame oil adds a marvelous heavenly sensation as well.

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts (Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

When I gave this Yaksik to my daughter for the first time the other day, she was all very excited because she thought she was getting a piece of western style cake. But once she bit a little bit, she made a really funny look – ‘what did you just give me? this is no cake! I was cheated!’. It was really funny watching her disappointed face. Immediately after that, she said she doesn’t like it so she gave it back to me.

Then a few hours later, I was enjoying Yaksik for my afternoon tea and my daughter asked what I was having? I told her it’s Yaksik. Then she told me she wants to try some. I reminded her that she didn’t like it earlier but I still offered some. She bit it and she shouted aloud, “I love it!” And since then she loves eating Yaksik.

So why am I sharing this story? … If you or your family members are not used to having this kind of Korean sweet dessert, you/they might not like it in the first instance, but it can grow on you pretty quickly.  Only time will tell. 🙂

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this sweet treat!

P.S. I used my Cuckoo rice cooker for the recipe below. Alternatively, you can use other programmable pressure cookers such as an instant pot or even a stove top based pressure cooker.

Ingredients for Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts (for 9 large bars)

Main

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

  • 3 cups* sweet rice (short grain glutinous rice)
  • 2 cups* water
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 15 chestnuts (about 120g, 4.2 ounces) – skin peeled and cut into 3 or 4 smaller pieces (I used frozen ones, which are available from a Korean grocery store. You can use fresh ones if you can get them. A tinned version is also available from Korean grocery stores.)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 10 dried pitted jujubes (red dates) – rinsed and halved

Seasoning sauce (mix these in a bowl)

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Decoration (number of required ingredients will vary depending on the size of each bar piece.)

  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 to 3 dried pitted jujubes – rinsed and cut vertically in one corner and roll it up. thinly sliced

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Measurement

  • 1 cup* = 180 ml (using rice measuring cup). This is equivalent to 3/4 standard measuring cup.
  • 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1/3 cup = 80 ml, 1/4 cup = 60 ml

How to Make Korean Sweet Rice With Dried Fruit And Nuts

1. Put the sweet rice into the rice cooker pot and rinse it with cold running water a couple of times (until the water is clear). Drain the water.

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

2. Add the cooking water and the seasoning sauce into the rice cooker pot and mix them well.

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

3. Add the nuts and fruit on top. Make sure these are evenly spread in the pot.

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

4. Set the “multi steam” function for 35 mins and cook. – This is based on my cuckoo rice cooker setting.

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

5. Once it’s all cooked, gently stir and mix around the rice, dried fruit and nuts with a rice scoop.  Put them into a medium sized square or rectangle mould. (I just used a pyrex container. You can also use a baking mould.) Cool down for 20 to 30 mins in the mould.

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

6. Tip the mould over the cutting board and get the Yaksik out. Decorate Yaksik with pine nuts and sliced jujube with a large gap in between. (Decoration is optional. Imagine the cutting by size first to allow enough room for decoration and cutting. If you’re making smaller ones, you will have to decorate more.)

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

7. Slice the Yaksik into your preferred size.

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts ( Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

8. Serve. For Yaksik that are not for immediate consumption, wrap them individually with food wrap, store them in a container and keep it  in the fridge (for a few days) or freezer (up to a few months).

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts (Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Note

  • As I mentioned earlier, this recipe is used with my rice cooker, which is a short cut way of making Yaksik. The traditional (steamer) method can take 7-10 hours of prepping and cooking time. Rest assured, my recipe version tastes just as good as the traditional method! 🙂
  • Yaksik shape can be round or square. It doesn’t have to be rectangular. You can even use any shapes of cookie cutter (e.g. heart) to make your favourite shaped Yaksik. In this occasion, the decoration will have to be done after the cutting.
  • While Yaksik can be consumed cold (straight from the fridge), it tastes better if it was left out at room temperature for 20 to 30 mins to soften a bit. If it was kept in the freezer,  take them out and thaw for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. (They can be left out overnight for breakfast the next day.)  It is microwavable (about 2 mins if it was frozen).
  • If you want softer and stickier  textured Yaksik and/or if you’re going to store it for more than 2 days, I recommend soaking the rice for 1 hr before cooking (after step 1).


Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts (Yaksik) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts

Korean sweet rice dessert (Yaksik) recipe
4.8 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 433kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

Main

  • 3 cups* sweet rice short grain glutinous rice
  • 2 cups* water
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 15 chestnuts (about 120 g, 4.2 ounces) – skin peeled and cut into 3 or 4 smaller pieces (I used frozen ones, which are available from a Korean grocery store. You can use fresh ones if you can get them. A tinned version is also available from Korean grocery stores.)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 10 pitted dried jujube red dates – rinsed and halved

Seasoning sauce (mix these in a bowl)

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Decoration (number of required ingredients will vary depending on the size of each bar piece.)

  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 to 3 pitted dried jujube , rinsed and cut vertically one corner and roll it up. thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Put the sweet rice into the rice cooker pot and rinse it with cold running water a couple of times (until the water is clear). Drain the water.
  • Add the cooking water and the seasoning sauce into the rice cooker pot and mix them well.
  • Add the nuts and fruit on top. Make sure these are evenly spread in the pot.
  • Set the “multi steam” function for 35 mins and cook. - This is based on my cuckoo rice cooker setting.
  • Once it’s all cooked, gently stir and mix around the rice, dried fruit and nuts with a rice scoop. Put them into a medium sized square or rectangle mould. (I just used a pyrex container. You can also use a baking mould.) Cool down for 20 to 30 mins in the mould.
  • Tip the mould over the cutting board and get the Yaksik out. Decorate Yaksik with pine nuts and sliced jujube with a large gap in between. (Decoration is optional. Imagine the cutting by size first to allow enough room for decoration and cutting. If you're making smaller ones, you will have to decorate more.)
  • Slice the Yaksik into your preferred size.
  • Serve. For Yaksik that are not for immediate consumption, wrap them individually with food wrap, store them in a container and keep it in the fridge (for a few days) or freezer (up to a few months).

Notes

  1. 1 cup* = 180 ml (using rice measuring cup). This is equivalent to 3/4 standard measuring cup.
  2. 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1/3 cup = 80 ml, 1/4 cup = 60 ml

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

 

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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29 thoughts on “Korean Sweet Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts”

  1. Hello. Thank you for posting this recipe for yakshik! I have an Instant Pot. What setting do I use and how many minutes should I set it for?
    How should the pressure be released?
    Thank you very much!

  2. In Korea, sweet rice is called “chapssal”, which literally means “sticky rice” since it becomes soft and sticky when cooked. It is good for those with digestive problems since it is not irritating to your stomach lining and it is easy to digest.

  3. Where did the recipe go? Ive been so looking forward to making this and now that I have the time, all that will load is comments. I hope this gets resolved soon and they looked wonderful.

    • Hi Kathy, Recipe is now back on here! There was a technical glitch and some of my recipes got hidden. I’m glad that it’s fixed now! Hope you like it! 🙂

        • Kathy, did you make this dish using the printed recipe? I hope you didn’t! Because my recipe card (print recipe area) isn’t fully working at the moment. I recently updated my recipe plugin and haven’t had the time to manually review them all yet. (It’s a manual process and I have to review 200 or so recipes.)
          At the moment, my recipes within the contents (in the middle of the post) are fine. But if you get the recipe from the recipe card (at the end of the post), then they won’t be accurate.

          • Thank you for your concern! I ended up copying and pasting the recipe onto word pad. (had to make a few adjustments in word pad after pasting) not a big deal. Saved it to my desktop and then printed it from there. Sadly I have to wait until next weekend to make them, but make them I will! Will be a nice treat for the weekend.

          • Sorry about the trouble you had to go through. I just fixed this recipe for printing (if you need it again!). Hope you enjoy my Yaksik recipe!

  4. Hi,
    I just happened to visit your blog for the first time and love it! Yasik is my favorite and would like to make this soon. My korean rice cooker has: Mixed, narungi, porridge setting. Would any of these settings work? Thank you for posting awesome recipes!

    • Hi Sharon, Do you happen to have the multi steam function? It reads like this in Korean -> 만능찜. In fact, it’s right next to the nurungji setting with my rice cooker. 🙂

  5. I just made this tonight and it tastes pretty good. The only concern I have is that there was a thick layer of burnt rice on the bottom of my pot that took awhile to get cleaned. Any suggestions for this? Or is this supposed to happen?
    Thanks!

  6. This looks absolutely lovely, I really want to try it, but I don’t have a rice cooker or a pressure cooker. Could I make this by soaking the rice as you do when normally preparing sticky rice and then cook it in a pot, covered and with at the ingredients as it shows in the steps here?

    • You will have to use a steamer, not just a normal pot. After soaking the sticky rice for a few hours, steam it initially until partially soften. Then take the rice out, mix with the rest of ingredients then put them back into the steamer. Cook further until they are fully cooked. It’s a long process! Good luck!

  7. I am also curious about the rice cooking method used here. What consistency are we looking for the rice to be? I remember snacks like these from when I lived in Seoul, but since I usually only cook for myself, I don’t feel as if the Cuckoo would be a worthwhile investment. And I don’t really have a regular use for a pressure cooker.

    • If you follow my recipe exactly, you can feel the rice texture a bit. I think this texture would be similar to the one made by traditional method. If you want more softer and stickier texture (you won’t notice the rice grain texture much) then soak the rice in some water before start cooking it. The time will vary depending on the cooking method. e.g. for pressure cooking 1 hr is enough. for traditional method about 5 hrs.

  8. This looks delicious! I’m heading to the Korean market now to get supplies. One question though. I’m living in the stone ages and don’t have a rice cooker (?!!?). Can this be prepared by cooking on the stove?

    Thanks for all your great recipes. My family loves trying them out!

    • Hi Pix, yes, you can make this on the stove. Do you have a pressure cooker for stove top? That’s the easiest way. All the steps are the same except that it will be done on the stove. (And cooking time will be shorter than 35 mins.)
      If you don’t have a pressure cooker, then you will have to make it traditional way using a steamer. This one takes 7 hrs + as you will have to soak the sweet rice for about 5 hrs and cook everything for 2 hours. I will update my recipe to accommodate this traditional method later.

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