Korean Danhobak (kabocha squash) Porridge

Kabocha squash fall porridge with red dates, pine nuts, and mochi
Korean Hobakjuk

In Korean this dish is called “hobakjuk,” which can technically refer to zucchini or winter squash porridge. However, it most commonly refers to a porridge that celebrates the sweet winter squash called danhobak (it is also known as kabocha squash). The short-grain brown rice in this dish is a plant-based way to enhance its silky creamy texture.

MIND diet foods: Vegetables, Whole Grains, Nuts

Korean Pumpkin Porridge
Author: 
Recipe type: Porridge, Soup, Starter, Side
Cuisine: Korean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 cups
 
This mild-mannered and comforting porridge celebrates the subtle sweetness naturally found in kabocha squash.
Ingredients
For the Porridge
  • ½ cup sweet brown rice
  • 1 medium kabocha squash, about 4 lbs measured whole
  • 6 cups of water, ½ cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Recommended garnishes: jujube (red dates), sliced; pine nuts, roasted sesame seeds
  • Optional: honey
For the Mochi
  • ½ cup sweet rice flour
  • 5 tablespoons of water
Instructions
  1. Rinse and drain brown rice in cool water 3 to 5 times. Soak rice in clean water for at least 1 hour (can be done a day ahead).
  2. Preheat oven to 400F, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, soften the squash. Wash squash well, then pierce several times with a fork or knife and place in a large microwave safe bowl with 3 inches of water. Cook for 4 minutes. Flip the squash over, and cook for another 4 minutes. Let squash rest until cool enough to handle, then cut into 2-4 pieces and toss with a neutral oil, then place cut side down on a lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then remove skins. It's 6-8 cups.
  4. While squash is roasting, make the thickening liquid. Drain soaked rice and add to blender with ½ cup of water. Blend on high until liquified, and set aside until ready to use. Quickly rinse out the blender.
  5. Blend the squash in batches, gradually adding 6 cups of water, until smooth. Move blended squash to a large pot and heat on low.
  6. Slowly stir in brown rice-water mixture and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and salt to taste.
  7. Meanwhile, make the rice cake dumplings. Start a medium pot of water to boil, and set up a large bowl of cold ice water.
  8. Heat 5 tablespoons of water, e.g. in microwave or tea kettle.
  9. Place rice flour in a medium bowl and stir in hot water gradually until cool enough to handle, then knead dough for a few minutes.
  10. Pinch off a ½ teaspoon at a time and roll dough between palms to form small balls (makes about 30 of them)
  11. Drop into boiling water for 1-2 minutes, until they float
  12. Remove rice cake dumplings with a slotted spoon and place in cold water bath until ready to use
Plate it
  1. Pour soup into bowls, add a few rice cake dumplings to each, and garnish as desired. Drizzle with honey if using. Enjoy.

 

3 Ways to Thrive & Stay Sharp in 2018

You’ve survived the holiday season, now it’s time to thrive with wellness into 2018. Here are three ways to get going on the right path. The good news is that even adopting one of these ideas this week will do the body and mind good. So ease into a new habit, and if week one goes well, try another week. If that goes well, try adding another of these tips to your routine.

Eat a green vegetable today.

Broccoli, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and more. Take your pick. Put it in a salad or a smoothie, cook them up in a soup or a saute lightly in olive oil. Adults who ate at least one serving of leafy green vegetables a day kept the brain humming 11 years younger, according to a new study from Tufts University.

Take a brisk 40 minute walk.

The 2013 International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain’s dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease recommend taking this brisk walk every other day. Aerobic exercise helps reduce inflammation and improves blood flow to the brain. It even protects brain cells. There are also heart health and overall weight management reasons to go for that walk. Maybe take it as an opportunity to catch up with a friend or a favorite podcast episode.

Eat more plant protein.

When it comes to protein, it is essential to get enough throughout each day. It can come from many sources, including plant and animal foods. It’s the mix of proteins you eat throughout the day that matter, not what you eat at one sitting. Aim to get some of your protein from plants. Nuts and beans will be your best bet. Almonds and pistachios are the two snack nuts that are highest in protein and fiber, or take your pick from a variety of beans such as black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, split peas, and more. Super healthy whole grains and pseudo-grains like quinoa, sorghum, farro, and barley, also offer up a little plant protein.

Which of these three simple choices will you commit to making today? Let me know in the comments!

Jeweled Holiday Acorn Squash

Come Christmas time, my family gathers at my parents’ home in southern California. There’s a single pomegranate tree in our backyard, and every winter my mom saves the best one for me. This simple side dish is a way to honor those jewels of winter. I always try to make something simple, seasonal, delicious and vibrantly healthy (and okay, I also want it to be photogenic). Ultimately, I want my loved ones to live long and healthy lives, so tasty yet ridiculously healthy food is my love language. Bonus: this dish is so simple, you won’t be stuck (or getting in anyone’s way) in the kitchen for long.

Tip: Use a circular ravioli or cookie cutter to remove seeds from each ring. This makes it easy to have a visually pleasing center cutout with clean edges.

Recipe

Curried Acorn Squash with Pistachios and Pomegranates

Prep: 15 min | Cook: 20 min | Rest: 10 min | Total: 45 min

Serves: 6

Ingredients

2 small acorn squash, 2-3 lbs each, cut into 1″ rings (about 3 rings per squash)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup pomegranate arils (1 small pomegranate; you may have extra)

1/2 cup pistachio kernels

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 400ºF for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the produce. Remove pomegranate arils by quartering the pomegranate and loosening arils from the skin underwater in a large bowl; drain. On a large baking sheet, arrange acorn squash rings in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Add to oven and bake for 20 minutes, or to desired doneness (fork should easily pierce the skin). Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes, season to taste. Transfer to serving platter and generously garnish with pistachios and pomegranate arils. Serve immediately.

MIND diet foods: Vegetables, olive oil, nuts, berries