Korean Thanksgiving – Chuseok food

Korean Thanksgiving – Chuseok food

When a friend mentioned how much she missed a Korean dessert drink called Sikhe (식혜), it took me back to childhood. I remember my mum making this drink when I was growing up and she seemed to take forever making it.  It was Chuseok(Thanksgiving) in Korea recently so I thought I would make it to celebrate the occasion.

Sikhe is served mostly during Korean celebrations(Chinese New Year, Thanksgiving,etc). Apparently, Sikhe helps to clean your palate after all the rich and greasy food you have been pigging out on during the celebration.


After a bit of research and consulting my mum, I started the two days sikhe making journey. You can buy pre-made ones in a can but you can’t beat the home made ones!! Aynway, that would be cheating, right?

How to make Sikhe (식혜)

Ingredients: Korean powdered malt (400g), 3/4 cup brown sugar,  5L of water, 1 cup cooked short grain rice

  • The good thing about making this dish is that there are only a few ingredients. The Korean powdered malt was around S$5 at a Korean supermarket and you can use any left over rice!


  • Soak the powered malt in 2L water in a bowl for one hour.








  • Using your hand, rub the malt to squeeze all the goodness out for about 10 minutes.



  • Strain the malt using a fine cheesecloth. Squeeze the cheesecloth until the malt is almost dry.


  • Leave the liquid from the malt in a bowl for another two hours. This is to separate the starch from the liquid.  Carefully pour the liquid without the starch into a rice cooker. Then add 3 L of water and a bowl of cooked rice.



  • Press the warming function of the rice cooker and leave it for 4-8 hours.







  • Once there are a few grains of rice floating on top, it’s ready for the next step. Almost there!!




  • Transfer the liquid into a pot and add 3/4 cup of brown sugar and boil for 10 minutes.



  • Scoop off all the brown bubbles on top.


  • Remove the pot from the stove and let it cool down. Put it in a container in the fridge to be chilled. It’s best to be served cold.



Well, it took two days to make and I ran out patient waiting to try it so I added a few ice cubes to cool it down.  It was almost as good as my mum’s but it needed to be a lot colder. Back to the fridge!




Once it was ready, I couldn’t wait for my girlfriend to try. She said it was as good as her mum’s. What a relief!!



My husband and I have been enjoying this drink all last week and it really took me back to my childhood. How funny that some food brings out stronger memory than others. What dish reminds you of your childhood? 🙂