A popular traditional Korean rice beverage that is refreshing, just sweet enough and a lot easier to make than it appears. It will definitely impress your friends and family when most of the time spent to make the drink is when it’s resting in the rice cooker!
I love sikhye! I don’t usually go for sweet drinks like juices but I do really enjoy traditional Korean sweet drinks as a refreshing dessert to a meal. This drink has a unique barley flavor that is fermented in the rice cooker and lightly sweetened. I remember my mom making this for Korean holidays when I was little and I’d be overjoyed and gulp it down.
I have been craving this drink so I went to the Korean supermarket to buy the prepackaged cans but it was so expensive! I decided to make it on my own and it was a lot easier than I expected. I’ve made it several times now and it really doesn’t require many ingredients, just 4 to be exact!
- Sugar: This recipe uses a lot less sugar than most recipes. I found that 2/5 cup (about 3 1/4 Tbsp) to be perfect. Most recipes use 1/2 – 1 cup of sugar with this amount but I find the earthy rice flavor with a hint of sweetness to be the best.
- Malted Barley: Some people find the course malted barley powder to be discouraging because it’s an unfamiliar ingredient. You can find it in most Korean grocery stores, near the powder or rice section. There’s often a very fine powder or coarse powder. You will want to use the coarse powder for this recipe.
Fine Powder (Not for this recipe)
Tools: It’s easiest if you have a cheese strainer or some sort of food cloth to hold the powder as you place it into the water. However, I did try just soaking the powder straight in the pot, massaging it and straining it through a sieve which also worked perfectly fine. Do what’s easiest for you!
Sikhye (Korean Sweet Rice Punch)
- 6 oz (170 g) Yeotgireum (Coarse Malted Barley Powder) approximately 1 cup
- 1.75 L (7 ½) cups water
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 2/5 cup (80 g) sugar This is on the less sweet side. You may add a few more tablespoons, up to ¼ cup more sugar, to taste.
- Rice. Make the rice in a rice cooker. Use a bit less water than usual to produce a drier rice.
- Malted Flour. What malted barley flour looks like
- Pour the coarse malted barley into a large bowl. Soak the barley in water. Follow one of the steps below. Option 1 (Preferred): Place malted barley in cheesecloth. Soak in large pot of water. Massage the malted barley several times during the one hour. The water will get milky. Strain and discard the bag. Option 2: If you don't have a cheesecloth - place malted barley in a large pot of water to soak. Gently massage the malted barley several times during the one hour. The water will get milky. Strain through a sieve and make sure to squeeze out all the water. Discard the malted barley.
- Rest the milky water for about 30 minutes to an hour to separate the sediments to the bottom of the bowl. Gently pour the milky water into the rice cooker. Add about 1 Tbsp of sugar to the rice cooker. (This will make the fermentation process go slightly faster).
- Don't add the sentiments at the bottom of the bowl into the rice cooker.
- Place the rice cooker on the “keep warm” option for about 4-5 hours, or until 4-5 rice granules rice to the top.
- Pour the milky liquid from the rice cooker into a large pot. Add the rest of the sugar. Boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Skim off any foam that floats at the top.
- Once the sugar has dissolved into the milky liquid, set aside and bring to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.
- *If you want the rice to float, remove the rice before pouring the liquid into a large pot and boiling with sugar. Instead, strain the rice and wash the rice under cold water. Store separately in a container. Add a tablespoon of rice into the milky drink right before serving. This helps the rice float. I don’t care about this so don’t take the additional step to separate the rice.