Seol, the biggest traditional Korean holiday of the year, is when family members gather and eat a traditional meal with a variety of dishes which eventually, leads to overeating. What drink is used help digest all those food, Sikhye. Sikhye is a sweet drink made of malt and rice that has been a traditional beverage throughout Korean culture. It was first introduced in a book on knowledge of living called Samunsaseol in 1740. In the 1800s the recipe was revealed in cook books named Gyungonyoram and Siuijeonseo.
There are various kinds of sikhye, Andong sikhye, Jinju sikhye, dried meat sikhye from Gyeongsangdo, dried pollack sikhye from Gangwondo, halibut sikhye from Hamgyeongdo, sailfin sandfish sikhye, and yeonan sikhye. It is said that Sikhye was created in North Korea and made mainly of fishes, powdered red pepper, and radish. Then it was introduced in the South and instead of fishes, malt was put in. After that it gradually known to be established with malt and rice only. Sikhye is a fermented drink made through patience. This drink was first drunk due to its job of stimulating digestion.
Sikhye is also referred to dansul or gamju. While Sikhye is rice punch with rice floating in it, gamju is rice punch without rice floating in it. The famous drink is made by pouring malt water into boiled glutinous rice to leave for a while to ferment. Then the rice is removed from the water and rinsed and drained. The remaining water is boiled with sugar and ginger and served cool with the rice. The taste of this refreshment is the malt that is used. Malt is also significant due to its nutritional value. Sikhye is a natural sweet drink made without any artificial sweeteners. This drink prevents food from decomposing in our bodies and has anti-cancer substances. That is why it is important to drink sikhye after a meal. Due to this fact, it was served to Kings as a dessert. The beverage helps balance the body warming a cold body and cooling a hot body. Therefore it is good for diets and hangovers.
Sikhye, one of the most cherished Korean drinks, is an important factor in Korean Culture. With its refreshing while unique sweet taste, it grabs people from different ethnicities. It is found in almost every Korean grocery store. While its great while bought, it best when homemade especially in Korea. In Korea, homemade Sikhye is naturally made which makes it distinctive from other drinks. It is known to be one of the best drinks in the culture. There are little ingredients that go in Sikhye, but there it needs a lot of patience to make. The ingredients in this refreshment are Korean rice, malt powder, warm water, caster sugar, ginger, and pine nuts if want to garnish.
When making sikhye, what you need to do first is to mix warm water and powdered malt and leave it for three to four hours until the water becomes yellowish. The next step is to mix hard-boiled rice with the malt water in a small earthenware jar and keep it warm for four to five hours. The temperature should be kept at 60 to 70 degrees.
If it were lower or higher temperatures, it would spoil the fermentation process. After about four hours, open the jar and check to see if the grains of rice are floating and if they are, take the rice out of the jar using a strainer, and rinse it with cold water and place it in a separate container. Then refrigerate the rice. The next step is to boil the remaining water and add some sugar for taste. Remove the foam that appears on the surface while boiling. After boiling the water, put it in a jar and refrigerate it, to make it cold. When served in special occasions, pour the water in a glass bowl and put the floating rice and other ingredients for decoration. If need more sweetening, add more sugar. This is how to prepare Sikhye and serve it during occasions.