As it is known, 22 of December is the day that has the longest night of the year. Koreans have long been celebrating the day as 'Dong-ji' every year. Since the daylight hour is getting longer from this day, some ancient countries designated it as New Year's day.
In Korea, Dong-ji used to be celebrated with ancestral rites as 'the secondary new year's day'.
These days, however, Koreans eat a bowl of red bean porridge putting small round tteok as many as one's age. Koreans considered it making themselves one year older as the same way that a bowl of Ttekguk does now.
This idea was originated from the belief that red beans have a power of scaring away the ghosts which might bring misfortune the following year. Why don't you cook a bowl of red bean porridge for a dinner on the night of Dongji, 22 of December? :-)
[The Recipe of Red Bean Porridge]
1 cup sweet red beans (soaked for 2 hours)
3/4 cup rice (soaked for 30 minutes)
2 tsp salt
8 of white round tteok
- In a pot, parboil beans for a few minutes and discard the water.
- Add 8 cups of water and boil until beans are completely soft (2-3 hours).
- Save about 2 cups of liquid and drain the rest of the beans into a strainer.
- Add salt to beans and mash the beans in the strainer set on top of a bowl.
- Discard skins in strainer.
- Add reserved boiled liquid to mashed bean liquid.
- Let the liquid stand undisturbed until bean solids settle.
- Add rice and most of bean liquid (without bean solids) to a pot.
- Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to simmer.
- Cook about 8 minutes, or until rice is tender.
- Add bean solids to the porridge in spoonfuls, stirring often so that it does not burn.
- Serve with white round porridge if you want.
- Serve hot bowls of porridge with sugar so that diners can adjust it to their own sweetness level (or salt for a savory porridge).