Recipe: first full moon

Recipe: first full moon

Today is the first full moon on the Lunar calendar (Daeboreum) and Koreans celebrate this occassion in many ways. One of them is of course eating specific food such as steamed rice with five multi grains (오곡밥) and rice cake called Yak sik (약식) which literally translated means “medicinal food” (Yaksik was first written about it in the 13th century)

Rice cake is one of  my favourite Korean foods. My uncle used to own a rice cake shop when I was young and it was like I was in a candy shop. It’s the combination of the taste, chewiness and colour that I really like about all the rice cakes.  There is one Korean rice cake shop in Novena Square II in Singapore but I have not found a rice cake shop here in Bangkok yet.

Yaksik is really easy to make and Thailand has high quality glutinous rice so here we go! It’s a short cut version today as I didn’t have all the ingredients and instead of steaming in a traditional way, I used my rice cooker which has a steaming mode with pressure cooking options.





Serves 10 people

  • 2 cups of glutinous rice
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil and some for brushing
  • 3 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Muscovado sugar (can be substituted with molasses)
  • 1/4 tsp of cinemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 200g of dry cranberries*
  • 200 g of uncooked and peeled chestnuts**
  • 1 tbsp of pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp of saltanas
  • Molds to shape your rice cooker, (could be a glass container or small baking tray).

*Chinese red dates should be used in the recipe normally but I used cranberries as I couldn’t find Chinese dates anywhere in the supermarket!

**Only cooked and peeled chestnuts were available.


dry cranberries







  • Soak the glutinous rice for 1-2 hours and strain the water. If you soak for a longer time, remember to reduce the amount of liquid when cooking or it gets really sticky. The ratio of rice to water should be 1:1.5 but if you soak the rice over night, it should be 1:1. I wanted mine a little less sticky.
  • In a pot, add brown sugar, muscovado sugar, cinamon, salt,  sesame oil and stir until all the sugar is desolved. Leave it cool down for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the rice and chestnuts, cranberries, saltanas and pinenuts and then add the sugar syrup. Mix it well.


cooking yaksik



cooking rice with syrup


  • Set the rice cooker for 30 minutes and go! My rice cooker talks… It says in Korean “Hello, it’s ready to steam!”. How cool is that?!


rice cooker


  • Once it’s completed, stir the Yaksik.  Brush the mold with sesame oil and add the yaksik in the mold.  Leave them for 30 minutes to cool down and it will take a shape of the mold.


yaksik in the mold





  • It’s ready for tasting!


Yaksik 1


Am I getting nostalgic as I am getting older? I seem to be cooking food that I used to enjoy when I was younger in Korea. I hope you enjoy this recipe and get to try it out for yourselves. Except the part of soaking the rice, it barely took anytime to get this  done.  Hope you get to see the full tonight, wherever you are… Have a great week!

Recipe: happy birthday to me

Recipe: happy birthday to me

It was my birthday recently and my first one in Bangkok. Normally I would start with a lunch celebration followed by afternoon tea with friends in Singapore but I felt a bit alone. We moved here 3 months ago and my new friends here were all away. On top of that, my husband was having lunch with a work colleague. At least he was taking me out for dinner.

When I was about 10 years old, my family forgot that it was my birthday. I was still in Korea at the time and I was supposed to have seaweed soup (미역국 -mi yeok guk) with my breakfast. It’s a Korean tradition. But this time….no seaweed soup…I remember it was quite traumatic. Now I make sure to make my own seaweed soup every year.

It’s a tradition to have seaweed soup on birthdays in Korea. When women give birth, they are given the seaweed soup with mussels to encourage fast recovery. Apparently the best seaweed is meant to be purchased and you must never ask for a discount as this can bring bad luck. Interesting…

You can either have beef or mussel seaweed soup. I like mussel better than beef seaweed soup but today all I could find was frozen mussels in Bangkok. My future mission is to find a fresh mussel supplier in Bangkok!

Unlike other Korean soup which can take hours to braise, this soup only takes about 30 minutes.


미역국 - seaweed soup

Beef Seaweed Soup – 미역국

Serves 2 people

  • 10g dried seaweed (different to tossed seaweed – see picture below) or 100g dried mussels(100g)
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 100 g beef for soup (I used chuck steak)
  • some salt for seasoning
  • 5 cups of water


Dry seaweed











Dried mussels













Soak the seaweed in warm water for 10 minutes.

soaking the seaweed













Wash the seaweed in cold water and cut them to around 5cm lengths. Drain all the water from the seaweed and set aside.













Chop the peeled garlic and mince it finely. Trim the fat from the beef and slice into 2 cm lengths.














In a medium pot, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and fry the garlic on medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the seaweed to the pot and fry for about 5 minutes. Finally, add the beef and fry until it is cooked.

seaweed with beef













Add 4 cups of water and boil for a few minutes and then simmer for a further 20 minutes. Add another cup of water to enhance the flavour. Season with salt and soy sauce to your taste.

soup boiling













Serve it with steamed rice and any of your favourite side dishes.

미역국 - seaweed soup