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Sikhye (Korean Sweet Rice Drink)

Sikhye (Korean sweet rice drink) is one of the most popular Korean drinks. Its moderately sweet flavour and unique barley smell is liked by many who try it!

Sikhye recipe. It's a popular Korean dessert drink! | MyKoreanKitchen.com

I’m so excited about today’s recipe Sikhye (식혜, also known as shikhye or shikae). It has been one of the most requested recipes by you guys as well.

Sikhye is a Korean traditional tea / drink often consumed during the Korean festive holidays (e.g. New Year’s Day and Korean Harvest Festival).

As a child, I never liked the rice that floats on my sikhye drink. I often thought, the rice was in my way to drink this delicious drink fast. 🙂 But now I love having this floating rice. I think it gives a really nice texture!

Sikhye is made with super simple ingredients of water, malted barley flour, sugar and cooked rice. Sounds like a good start!

Sikhye (Shikhye). Korean sweet rice drink | MyKoreanKitchen.com

My Sikhye Story

I’ve been thinking of making Sikhye for a long time, like for a few years. But the traditional method I know is very cumbersome and takes a long long time. (That’s why I have put it off for this long!) Also, that’s why this drink is typically only made during the Korean holidays as a special drink!

But recently, I learnt that it’s not that difficult to make as long as you use the right ingredients. So I was eager to try it out!

The actual recipe is quite straightforward but I tried to include as much information as possible below. So it is long but I hope you find it useful! 🙂

In a quick summery, the time it takes to make sikhye depends on the types of malted barley flour you use. I will share more about it in the recipe below.

I hope you enjoy my sikhye recipe and let me know what you thought of it!

Canned Sikhye (Korean sweet rice drink) by Paldo | MyKoreanKitchen.com

P.S.

Of course, if you’re feeling lazy, there’s a canned version (by Paldo) as well. You can buy this from a Korean grocery store. (But as always, the homemade version is the tastiest!)

Ingredients for Sikhye for 12 Servings

  • 210g / 7.4 ounces malted barley flour (*see below)
  • 15 cups water
  • 1 cup steamed white rice (short grain), you can add more or less per your preference, make sure the rice is cooked slightly drier than normal
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • (Optional) pine nuts, to garnish
  • (Optional) pitted dried jujube, thinly sliced to garnish

*There are three different types of (Korean brand) malted barley flour you can use for this recipe.

The first one is tea bagged malted barley flour. The second one is regular malted barley flour and the third one is coarse flaky malted barley.

The easiest, quickest and my favourite option is tea bagged malted barley flour.

Surprisingly, it gives the most deep authentic flavour like I grew up with. Though it might not be available at all Korean grocery stores. (Even I only discovered it a few weeks ago by accident!)

FYI, the Korean name for malted barley flour is Yeotgireum Garu (엿기름가루).

**You will need a rice cooker. (As a volume indicator, my rice cooker is suitable for making 10 serves of rice.) I also read that it’s possible to make it in the oven too.

***1 Cup = 250 ml

How to Make Sikhye with Tea Bagged Malted Barley Flour (The Easiest and The Quickest Method)

Tea Bagged Malted Barley Flour for Sikhye

1. Put  the tea bagged malted barley flour, water, and cooked rice into a rice cooker pot. (Make sure you don’t over fill as it can boil over). Set the rice cooker to warm for 4 to 8 hours. (Don’t cook them. Just keep them warm.) I normally put these in my rice cooker late at night before I go to sleep and it’s ready for me in the morning (usually 7 hours later). The sign of readiness is when about 20 or so grains of rice float to the top.

Making Sikhye (Korean rice drink) with tea bagged malted barley flour in a rice cooker

 

If you don’t have a rice cooker, apparently you can use your oven. Keep it at the lowest temperature for 4 to 8 hours. The sign of readiness is the same as the rice cooker method above.

2. When it’s ready, remove the tea bags then pour the liquid over to a large pot. (If you want to make the rice to float when you serve, make sure you strain some rice while you’re pouring over the liquid. Rinse the rice in cold running water and move it to a separate container. Add some fresh water into the container.) Add the sugar into the large pot and boil it on high heat until the sugar dissolves (5 to 10 minutes). Cool down the drink then transfer it to the fridge to chill.

Making sikhye

3. To serve, pour the chilled sikhye into a cup. Scoop out some reserved rice from step 2. Add some pine nuts and/or dried jujube to garnish.

How to Make Sikhye (Korean sweet rice drink) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

How to Make Sikhye with Regular Malted Barley Flour (The Second Easiest and Quick Method)

Regular Malted Barley Flour for Sikhye

1. Pour the malted barley flour into a large bowl and add the (lukewarm) water. Let it sit for about 1 hour. (You can use kitchen linen cloth / cheese cloth to hold the malted barley flour. Then all you need to do is just remove the cloth and barley after one hour.) The water will be milky and you will have sunken sediment in the bowl. Gently pour the water into a rice cooker pot and make sure you don’t add the sediment. Add the cooked rice then set the rice cooker on warm for 4 to 8 hours. The sign of readiness is when about 3 or 4 grains of rice float to the top. (I don’t know why but less rice floats when I use regular mated barley flour than tea bagged version.)

Brewing malted barley flour in water

The remaining steps are the same as when you’re using tea bagged malted barley flour.

How to Make Sikhye with Coarse Malted Barley (The Longest Method)

*Disclaimer – I haven’t actually made sikhye using coarse malted barley (since it’s more of an effort for this time poor mummy) but I’ve seen my mum/grandma/aunts doing it when I was a child. So the below instructions are based on my observation and me asking my mum.

1. Soak the coarse malted barley in lukewarm water for 1 hour. Then, gently massage the malted barley several times to get the milky water. Strain and discard the hulls / sprouts / husks.  Rest the milky water for 1 hour to separate the sediment and the water. Pour the water into the rice cooker pot and add the cooked rice. Set the rice cooker on warm for 4 to 8 hours. The sign of readiness is when about 3 or 4 grains of rice float to the top.

The remaining steps are the same as when you’re using tea bagged malted barley flour.

Sikhye (Korean sweet rice drink) with Ice | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Benefits of Sikhye

  • Amongst Koreans, Sikhye is believed to help with digestion because malted barley (the main ingredients of sikhye) contains amlyase, which helps with digestion. That’s why Sikhye is commonly served after having a big feast in Korea. Some Korean BBQ restaurants typically serve it as a  complementary drink along with a Korean cinnamon punch – Sujeonggwa.
  • Some nursing mothers use Sikhye to dry up their breastmilk. More specifically, they use the water that was soaked in malted barley flour. Apparently, many Korean mothers have used this method for a long time (maybe even for centuries? but I haven’t found any written evidence of it yet). If you’re interested in that , you can check out my Korean ingredients to avoid while you’re pregnant article.

*Disclaimer – These are not intended as health or medical advice. If you want health and medical advice, check with your professional health / medical advisor.

Some Questions You Might Ask When Making Sikhye

Q1. Is there any way you can re-use the malted barley flour (the sediment) in other cooking?

A1. I’ve never heard of or seen other Koreans re-using it for cooking purposes. Please enlighten me if you know a way! I just tip mine over to a compost bin for garden use. 🙂

Q2. Do I have to use a Korean branded malted barley flour? Can I use ones that are sold at organic health food shops?

A2. Personally, I’ve only tried Korean malted barley flour, so I don’t know for sure. But I’ve read that it is possible to make sikhye with non-Korean branded malted barley flour. When you do, please let us know how it turns out!

Q3. Can you make sikhye without a rice cooker?

A3. I mentioned it briefly above. I read that it is possible to make sikhye in the oven at the lowest temperature setting. Though, since I have the convenience of a rice cooker, I haven’t tried it myself yet. Please let me know if you use your oven!

Q4. How long does the sikhye last?

A4. If refrigerated, it can last for about 1 week. Some Koreans even freeze it for later use as well.


Sikhye recipe | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Sikhye (Korean Sweet Rice Drink)

A popular Korean traditional dessert drink Sikhye (Shikhye) recipe
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 144
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 210 g malted barley flour (7.4 ounces)
  • 15 cups water
  • 1 cup steamed white rice (short grain), you can add more or less per your preference, make sure the rice is cooked slightly drier than normal
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • pine nuts (optional), to garnish
  • pitted dried jujube (optional), thinly sliced to garnish

Instructions

HOW TO MAKE SIKHYE WITH TEA BAGGED MALTED BARLEY FLOUR (THE EASIEST AND THE QUICKEST METHOD)

  • Put the tea bagged malted barley flour, water, and cooked rice into a rice cooker pot. (Make sure you don’t over fill as it can boil over). Set the rice cooker to warm for 4 to 8 hours. (Don’t cook them. Just keep them warm.) I normally put these in my rice cooker late at night before I go to sleep and it’s ready for me in the morning (usually 7 hours later). The sign of readiness is when about 20 or so grains of rice float to the top.
    If you don’t have a rice cooker, apparently you can use your oven. Keep it at the lowest temperature for 4 to 8 hours. The sign of readiness is the same as the rice cooker method above.
  • When it’s ready, remove the tea bags then pour the liquid over to a large pot. (If you want to make the rice to float when you serve, make sure you strain some rice while you’re pouring over the liquid. Rinse the rice in cold running water and move it to a separate container. Add some fresh water into the container.) Add the sugar into the large pot and boil it on high heat until the sugar dissolves (5 to 10 minutes). Cool down the drink then transfer it to the fridge to chill.
  • To serve, pour the chilled sikhye into a cup. Scoop out some reserved rice from step 2. Add some pine nuts and/or dried jujube to garnish.

HOW TO MAKE SIKHYE WITH REGULAR MALTED BARLEY FLOUR (THE SECOND EASIEST AND QUICK METHOD)

  • Pour the malted barley flour into a large bowl and add the (lukewarm) water. Let it sit for about 1 hour. (You can use kitchen linen cloth / cheese cloth to hold the malted barley flour. Then all you need to do is just remove the cloth and barley after one hour.) The water will be milky and you will have sunken sediment in the bowl. Gently pour the water into a rice cooker pot and make sure you don’t add the sediment. Add the cooked rice then set the rice cooker on warm for 4 to 8 hours. The sign of readiness is when about 3 or 4 grains of rice float to the top. (I don’t know why but less rice floats when I use regular mated barley flour than tea bagged version.)
  • The remaining steps are the same as when you’re using tea bagged malted barley flour.

HOW TO MAKE SIKHYE WITH COARSE MALTED BARLEY (THE LONGEST METHOD)

  • Soak the coarse malted barley in lukewarm water for 1 hour. Then, gently massage the malted barley several times to get the milky water. Strain and discard the hulls / sprouts / husks. Rest the milky water for 1 hour to separate the sediment and the water. Pour the water into the rice cooker pot and add the cooked rice. Set the rice cooker on warm for 4 to 8 hours. The sign of readiness is when about 3 or 4 grains of rice float to the top.
  • The remaining steps are the same as when you’re using tea bagged malted barley flour.

Notes

1 Cup = 250 ml

Nutrition

Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.8mg
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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15 thoughts on “Sikhye (Korean Sweet Rice Drink)”

  1. Hello, This might be a really silly question, and it may be up there in the directions and my eyes just couldn’t find it. When doing the malted barley tea method how many teabags do you use? I the picture it looks like you might be using the whole box of teabags. I’m not sure but would love to know.

    Thanks!

  2. sorry for the noob question, how do you steam the rice and for how long, and how do you make sure it is drier than usual if it’s steamed?

    • Hi Julie, I’m not sure whether it will work. You will have to give it a try and let me know. If you have a slow cooker you could try that though. I think I read somewhere people making sikhye in it. Good luck!

      • Ok, thanks! I’ll try both (pot and slow cooker). I’m planning on making it this weekend. My daughter loves sikhae but hasn’t had the home-made version yet. She’s skeptical that it’ll taste better b/c she already loves the canned version. I’m so excited for her to taste it the way it was meant to be!

  3. hello! this might be a dumb question to ask but I would like to ask how much coarse malted barley am I suppose to use? do I use the same amount with the malted barley flour? thank you for the sharing the recipe by the way.. 🙂

    • That’s a good question! I would start with the same amount as the flour. Since I haven’t used the coarse malted barley (and can’t get it around my area) , I can’t tell you for sure though. Experiment and see how it goes!

    • I was actually think about that when I posted this recipe. I haven’t tried it yet, but I would think it’s possible. Let us know if you go ahead with your slow cooker! Very intrigued! 🙂

  4. Hi again Sue,

    Celia from figjamandlimecordial has sent out lots of dried sour dough starter and her blog is great for learning how to use it. See her blog here https://figjamandlimecordial.com/ . If you’d like some either ask Celia or I’ll send some of mine to you. We are supposed to share it with friends anyway if they are interested in trying it once we find we didn’t kill it that is 🙂 It’s actually not as easy as I thought to ruin. I do subscribe to Nagi too, she’s great!

  5. Hi Sue from Sue from north of you in Northern QLD! Yes it’s been very hot here lately up the coast too so I understand you not wanting to make the kitchen too hot but I can’t help myself. I have just started making sour dough a little while back since a lovely blogger in Sydney shared some so can’t resist doing that every week or two so the oven will go on. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

    • Hi Sue, I will probably be doing the similar thing too! I will have to cook regardless of the weather condition. 🙂
      Who’s this lovely Sydney based blogger? Nagi? Just got me curious. Hehe

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