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Sweet Red Bean Porridge, Danpatjuk

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prep time: 
5 min
inactive time: 
0 min
cooking time: 
80 min
total time: 
85 min

Danpatjuk, or Sweet Red Bean Porridge, is a delicious snack or dessert porridge made with red beans and sweet rice flour. The sweet rice balls in the porridge are called Sae-Al-Sim, because they resemble bird eggs. ("Sae-Al" means bird eggs). Danpatjuk was traditionally eaten on Dong-ji (The Winter Solstice). Dong-ji (also called Don-jit-nal) is the day of the year when the longest night and the shortest day occur (around December 22 or 23, or mid November in the lunar calendar.) It’s also called Small New Year’s Day because the day symbolized the resurrection of the sun (the day gets longer from this point), and it was considered the second biggest holiday next to the New Year’s Day.

On Dong-jit-nal people would place the bowls filled with sweet red bean porridge around the house. Some porridge was sprayed on the doors of the house. This is because they believed that the red color of the red bean can chase away evil spirits. After this ritual, the family would gather and eat the porridge together.

Today Dong-ji and the ritual are not observed any more. Yet Danpatjuk is still a widely loved snack among Koreans.

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Change to: Metric US

for pre-cooking red beans

1 cup  Red Beans 팥
2 cups  Water 물 (to be discarded after)

for the soup

7 cupsWater 물 (only some may be used after boiling beans)
¼ cupSugar 설탕
½ tspSalt 소금
¼ tspCinnamon Powder 계피가루 (optional)

for sweet rice balls

1 cup  Sweet Rice (Glutinous Rice) 찹쌀
6 tbsWater 물 (boiling hot)
¼ tspSalt 소금
½ ozPine nut 잣 (optional garnish)

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Cinnamon powder is optional.

How to store
Both cooked red beans and sweet rice balls are easily spoiled. Refrigerate as soon as it cools down if not eaten right away.
It may keep in the fridge for a couple of days. If you want to store it longer, seal tightly and freeze it. Then slowly thaw in the fridge or in the microwave on defrost mode.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Wash red beans

Wash 1 cup of red beans 2-3 times. Do not rub them too hard or too long. Drain water in a strainer.

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  • 1 cup red beans
  • 2-3 times


2. Precook red beans

Place washed red beans in a pot and pour 2 cups of water. Bring it to boil then keep boiling on high heat for 5 minutes or until the water turns red.

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Bring to boil

  • washed red beans
  • 2 cups water

Boil High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 5 min

3. Drain water

Drain water out in a strainer. Throw away the water and keep the red beans.

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Drain water

4. Boil red beans

Place precooked red beans in a pot and add 7 cups of water. Boil on high heat. When the water starts to boil, adjust the heat to low heat and keep boiling uncovered for more than 60 minutes or until the red beans become soft and mushy.

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Bring to boil

  • red beans
  • 7 cups water
  • High Heat image: highheat.png

Boil uncovered

  • Low Heat image: lowheat.png image: clock.png 60 min

5. Make dough

While red beans are being cooked, make sweet rice balls. Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt into 6 tablespoons of boiling water. Mix 1 cup of sweet rice powder and the salt water. Start kneading with a spoon for a couple of minutes to avoid burning your hands.

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  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbs hot water


  • 1 cup sweet rice powder

Knead with spoon image: clock.png 2 min

6. Knead dough

Then, knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes or until it becomes soft. It may seem like there is not enough water but the dough only comes together when you knead by hand diligently for a while. Add a bit more water only if the dough doesn’t come together after kneading for more than 5 min.

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by hand image: clock.png 5 min

7. Make balls

Make the dough into bite-sized balls (about ¾” or 2 cm in diameter).

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Make ¾” (2 cm) balls

8. Strain red beans

Pour the red beans with the boiled water through a strainer (or a sieve) into a bowl. Remember to keep the water.

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Strain boiled red beans

Keep the water

9. Grind red beans (optional)

Grind red beans with an electric grinder. If you don’t have an electric grinder, you can skip to the next step. It will just take longer and may be strenuous on your hand.

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10. Mash red beans

Place the strainer with the ground red beans over a bowl. Then, mash them with a spatula so the soft part (red bean paste) of the red bean is going through the strainer into the bowl and only the husks (skins) are left in the strainer.

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Mash red beans

  • through a stainer

11. Grind red beans

Scrape off any red bean paste stuck at the bottoms of the strainer. Throw away the husks and keep the red bean paste (the water and the mashed red beans). This will yield about 3 cups of red bean paste.

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Mash red beans

  • through a stainer

Discard husks (skins)

12. Boil Red Bean Paste

Put the red bean paste from the previous step in a pot and add the same amount of the water the red beans were boiled in. If 3 cups of bean paste were yielded, add 3 cups of the red bean boiled water. (red bean paste:red bean boiled water=1:1) Mix them well and boil on medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the sweet rice balls and boil for another 5-10 minutes or until the balls are fully cooked (they will float to the surface). Stir frequently. Be careful as the soup may splash when boiling! If the soup becomes too thick, add more water.

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Bring to boil Med Heat image: medheat.png

  • red bean paste
  • red bean boiled water

Add sweet rice balls

Boil Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 5 min

or until rice balls float

Keep stirring

Add water if too thick

13. Finish

Turn off the heat. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and 4-8 tablespoons of sugar (more or less depending on your taste and whether you are serving it as a meal or dessert). The amounts are for 3 cups of red bean paste. If you have less, you will have to reduce the amount of salt and sugar. Taste and add gradually. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder (optional).

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Turn off heat


  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Garnish (optional) with

  • pine nuts or walnuts

14. Serve

Serve in a bowl and top with a few pine nuts or crushed walnuts (optional). Enjoy!

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Serve in a bowl



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