Saturday, February 26, 2011

Festive Holiday Rice and Beans

As promised in our recent blog in the Huffington Post, here is the recipe for a healthy holiday dish made with azuki beans—red for good luck—and a variety of grains, in this version including brown rice.

Known as ogokbap in Korea, this dish is often eaten on the holiday that celebrates the first full moon after the first day of the New Year. This full moon holiday, called Jeongwol Daeboreum, was celebrated February 17 to 19 this year. Traditionally served with a variety of fruits and nuts and considered somewhat of a national health food in Korea, the dish symbolizes a rich harvest in the year to come, as well as the five good things in life—longevity, wealth, good health, children, and a peaceful death.

Festive Holiday Rice and Beans (with Brown Rice)

1/4 cup dried black soybeans
1/4 cup dried red beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 grams) coix (Job’s tears, yi yi ren in Chinese, hato mugi in Japanese, uiiin in Korean) or pearl barley
1/4 cup millet
1 cup uncooked short-grain brown rice
1/4 cup pine nuts

1. Rinse the black and red beans, then place them in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it sit for 1 hour to soften.

2. Drain the beans, rinse them, drain again, and place the 3 3/4 cups of fresh water and the salt in the pot. Around this time, put the rice on to soak.

3. Bring the beans to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

4. Stir the coix into the pot and cook the mixture, covered, for 10 minutes. After the barley has cooked for its 10 minutes, stir in the millet.

5. Drain the rice and stir it into the mixture. Cook, covered, for another 45 minutes, or until the mixture is tender. Check frequently toward the end to make sure it doesn’t burn. (Add a few tablespoons of hot water if the rice looks as if it is drying out and might start crusting over at the bottom of the pot; if you have inadvertently added too much water, cook with the lid off for several minutes, to let the moisture escape.

6. Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat and toast until golden and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the rice as a garnish before serving.

For Those Interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners recommend this dish for anyone who wants to build sustained energy, help memory, retard hair loss, or address insomnia. In the language of traditional Chinese medicine, this dish strengthens the Spleen and addresses diarrhea and unwanted weight loss due to Spleen deficiency, as well as strengthening the Kidney.

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