We recently took a peek into Our Korean Kitchen, the new cookbook named after the real-life kitchen shared by chef Jordan Bourke and fashion designer Rejina Pyo. Bourke and Pyo met less than a decade ago and bonded over their love of cooking and food, especially the Korean food of Rejina’s home. Last week, the couple shared two Korean meals, perfect for summer entertaining. If those recipes left your stomach rumbling for more (ours certainly were!), you’re in luck! Jordan and Rejina are back, this time with two warm-weather desserts—a homemade black sesame ice cream and a recipe for shaved ice with sweet red beans and ice cream. Enjoy!
Black Sesame Seed Ice Cream – hoogim-ja ice cream
On a tiny street near Insadong-gil (the tourist mecca of Seoul) and up a flight of winding wooden stairs, we found ourselves, to our delight, in a paper-screened little oasis of calm away from the masses. We had come
for iced tea, but were unable to resist their black sesame seed ice cream. It was subtle and naturally flavored, with an almost chewy creaminess, yet made without any dairy at all. It took ages to develop this recipe, but we got there in the end. You must use good-quality, fresh black sesame seeds, otherwise the taste won’t be as perfect.
6 Tbsp black sesame seeds
⅓ cup agave syrup
2 x 13.5-oz cans coconut milk
½ cup unrefined sugar or
coconut palm sugar
pinch of sea salt
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Put the black sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat. The moment they begin to pop and release their aroma, remove them from the pan and let cool. Blitz the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor until finely ground, then place them in a bowl and com bine them with the agave syrup to form a paste.
Heat 1 can of the coconut milk, the sugar, and the salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. In a bowl, slowly whisk the remaining can of coconut milk into the cornstarch, ensuring there are no lumps. Add this to the saucepan, mix everything together, and cook for 4–6 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick. Use a spatula to stir the mixture, making sure the bottom does not burn or become lumpy. When thickened, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. If there are any lumps, pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl.
Stir the sesame seed paste into the ice cream mixture until combined. Place parchment paper onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool completely. Refrigerate for 1–2 hours until well chilled. (You can speed this process up by placing the bowl into an ice bath.) Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, pour the mixture into a wide, flat (preferably
metal) pan and place in the freezer. After 40 minutes, use a fork to mix and break down the ice crystals. Repeat this process twice more, at 40-minute intervals. You can blitz it all in a food processor at the final stage to make it really smooth. Return it to the pan and leave in the freezer to set fully. Remove 15 minutes before serving to give the ice cream a chance to soften.
Shaved Ice with Sweet Red Beans, Ice Cream & Rice Cakes – pat bingsu
Serves 2, to share in 1 large bowl
Red beans? In a dessert? Yes, we know, it does sound somewhat horrifying, but we promise you this works. In fact, it’s so good we eat it daily when visiting Korea in the summertime! Ready-cooked and sweetened red beans (or adzuki beans) can be found in any Asian supermarket, or buy the dried beans and prepare them at home. You will also need a good food processor to grind down the ice to a powder. In Korea, this dish is always served as one large portion, so that two people can share. We have suggested this here, but you could always divide it into two smaller bowls if you prefer.
Sweetened red beans (or substitute 1 1/2 cups canned sweetened red beans)
- ½ cup red beans, soaked overnight
½ cup unrefined sugar or coconut palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
large pinch of sea salt
1⅔ cups dairy, rice, or soy
milk, poured into ice cube trays and frozen
1 large scoop of vanilla ice cream (or dairy-free ice cream, if you prefer)
3 Korean soft rice cakes or Japanese mochi, available in Asian supermarkets (optional)
2 Tbsp agave syrup
2 Tbsp toasted flaked almonds
For homemade red beans, drain the soaking water, place the beans in a heavy-bottomed pan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer until the beans
are completely soft, adding more water now and again to keep them submerged. (Depending on the age of the beans this can take anywhere from 1–2 hours.) Drain off the water and place the beans back into the dry pan with the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Set over low heat and gently stir the beans until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Don’t worry if the beans go mushy, this only adds to the consistency. Leave to cool then refrigerate.
Place your serving bowl in the freezer to chill. When ready to serve, grind the milk ice cubes in batches in a food processor until they become powdery in consistency. Add this “ice” to the bowl in the freezer as you go, so that it remains frozen, as it melts quickly otherwise. When you have ground up all the ice to a powder, top with the red beans and a large scoop of ice cream. Place the soft rice cakes around the ice cream, if using, and drizzle over the agave and then scatter over the flaked almonds. Serve immediately.
The most important part of eating pat bingsu is the bit before you actually eat it. You absolutely have to spend a good 5 minutes mashing everything together with your spoon until the shaved ice, red beans, and ice cream are completely blended together. Koreans adore this part of the process, diving in with their spoons until the whole thing looks like it has been put through a washing machine. The more unsightly it looks, the better it will taste.