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[Home Cooking] Jeonbokjuk (abalone porridge)

Porridge made with abalone (jeonbokjuk) is one of the most iconic dishes of Jeju island. It’s deliciously briny, with a distinct greenish hue and chunky abalone pieces.

The Jeju-style jeonbokjuk is made simply with rice and abalone. It captures all the flavor the abalone has to give by also using the internal organs (viscera), hence the greenish hue. The dark green sac of guts may not look all that appetizing, but it really enriches the porridge. The color of the porridge depends on the number and the size of the abalone used.

If you don’t care for the guts in your porridge, you can leave them out. You can also add chopped vegetables if you’d like. 

Jeonbokjuk (Korean Bapsang)
Jeonbokjuk (Korean Bapsang)

Easy to digest and nourishing, this porridge is especially comforting when one feels under the weather.

1 cup short grain rice (measuring cup not the cup that came with your rice cooker)
2 or 3 medium size abalone
2 tablespoons sesame oil
salt or soup soy sauce to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds - optional garnish

Soak the rice for about an hour and drain.

Scrub off the dark edges of the abalone with a kitchen brush or toothbrush.

Remove the abalone from the shell by working a spoon or small spatula around the muscle attached to the shell.

Carefully cut off the viscera (guts) with a knife, or pull them off by hand.

Cut off the tough pointed end.

Slice the abalone meat into the desired thickness. Chop up the guts into small pieces, and scrape them off with a knife in to a small bowl.

Add the rice and the guts to a medium size pot. Mix them well. Add the sesame oil and stir until the rice starts to turn translucent over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring occasionally (more frequently as the stock is reduced so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot), for about 25 minutes.

At this point you can adjust the consistency of the porridge to your taste by adding more water, up to 1 cup. Further reduce the heat to medium low heat as necessary. Add salt or soup soy sauce to taste right before serving.

Note: The seasoned porridge can become watery over time, so the porridge should be seasoned right before serving.

By Ro Hyo-sun