Hobakjuk (Korean pumpkin porridge) & my food book

I was with my mum at home weeks ago, just the two of us. How rare was that ever since I left the hometown for my tertiary education. We talked gossips, exchanged thoughts and of course, as a daughter, I shared some of the hidden pain in recent life. Not for my mum to worry, but to let her know that I have been working on it and now getting out of it great gradually.

“Is there anything you do you won’t be getting frustrated or sad, just plain happy?” She asked.

I actually laughed out loud (well, just a little), “If I am serious into something, of course I will get frustrated and sad when things aren’t going smooth or not up to the expectation. You won’t be bothered anyway if that something you do is just for plain fun or a routine task that you just want to get over it asap, right?”

There was a peaceful silence between us right after. I think my mum somehow realised she just asked a “cute silly question” out of desperation. She sighed but she totally got it.

Just like when we love someone, no? We’ll be sad, angry, regretted sometimes along the way but somehow we still enjoy and love him/her at the core, that one thing underneath the ugly messy clothing that truly attracted us in the first place.

In contrary to that one lover (so far) , there are too many things I love to do in life. Sciences, writing, cooking, drawing, sewing… I will not spend time to list them all. Too many things yet too little time in life to understand and excel them all to the depth that I hope for. So I filtered out one after another, leaving two to three things that I really want to spend more time with, and to be serious with it. Cooking is one of them.

When thing get serious, I always automatically plan out a system for it and set up targets or milestones. It may sounds tired but I actually enjoy the process and progress, at the same time try to find ways to entertain myself.  I have a notepad (and a pen) hanging on my fridge on which I could scribble anytime in the process of cooking. I use it to optimise a new recipe or to record down an old recipe for others references. It is just like my experimental logbook in the lab before, with date, materials and methods and side notes for improvement in the next trial.

My obsession on planning was not limited to that. I have another notebook outside the kitchen, I called it my “food book”. It is a sketching book, where I draw out all the food that I intend to cook in my own kitchen. It serves as a reminder to me as my cooking progress usually doesn’t keep up to the growing list. The food are usually something nice I tried outside, or something looks so attractive from TV cooking shows. However, the variety of drawings slowly expanded these days to food that carry warmth memory (for e.g., the star dish over a nice dinner with family) and my favourite anime characters, XD.


Hobakjuk is the second item I drew in my food book. I had it in a Korean BBQ restaurant and it served with red dates paste. I didn’t red dates in hand so I replaced it with Chinese Wolfberries. I like it warm as well as cold. When I have a strong urge for light meal, I will eat this with other side dishes. If there is any leftover on that day, I’ll store it in the fridge and eat it as a dessert the next day afternoon. If you plan to serve it as dessert, please add more sugar until it is slightly sweeter to your taste when it is still warm. The sweetness will be reduced when the porridge is cold.

(You may wonder why drawing out the food list? Isn’t it taking photos or writing an easier way?

That’s because drawing is one of those things that were filtered out from the long list, so I slot it in just to have some plain fun!)


Hobakjuk (Korean pumpkin porridge)

Serves 2-3
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Region Asian


  • 450g pumpkin
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tablespoon glutinous rice powder
  • 1- 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Step 1
Cut the pumpkin into big chunks and steam for 20 minutes or until softened. It is done when the fork can easily pierce into the meat of the pumpkin. Allow the pumpkin to cool down a little bit at room temperature.
Step 2
Peel the pumpkin skin off and spoon out the seeds after the pumpkin is no longer hot. Transfer the pumpkin meat to a blender, blend it smooth with water. You can mash it manually using potato masher or fork if blender is not available.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoon of water to the glutinous rice powder and mix well.
Step 3
Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a saucepan and bring it to boil. Slowly add in the glutinous rice mixture with constant stirring to prevent lumps in the porridge.

Season with salt and sugar.





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