Before we talk about Patjuk, we need to talk about what Dongji is. In Korea, we have 24 seasonal days which ancient scholars made according to the movement of the sun. For example, Yipchun is the start of Spring and Yipchu is the start of Fall. Haji has the longest day while Dongji has the longest night.
In Korean time, yesterday (December 22nd), was Dongji. Our ancestors had the tradition of eating Patjuk (팥죽; red bean porridge) and the reason why was simple: to scare away ghosts. Even though people these days do not believe the myth, they still continue the tradition of eating Patjuk on Dongji.
You can make Patjuk at home but people usually order take out from a porridge restaurant. It only costs 7,000 KRW or a little more and has a big portion.
I also bought it from a restaurant and warmed it up at home. Its color is dark red and brown-ish, which is the natural color of red beans. Some Patjuks are on the sweet side and others are kind of salty. I like the salty ones more 🙂
It is thick porridge and has rice and small rice balls made with glutinous rice flour. You can just eat Patjuk or eat it with Kimchi. Kimchi makes every food much better 🙂
Not only on Dongji, but you can enjoy Patjuk anytime. Koreans seem to find it more in the winter though, and it’s one of my favorite Korean winter foods!