Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

Patbingsu recipe 1 (1)

In Korea, nothing says summer more than bingsu (빙수) which is a shaved ice treat with various sweet toppings. Its popularity is beyond description. You can find it practically everywhere — high-end hotels, cafes, bakeries, specialty shops, street vendors, etc. Variations that all these commercial places have created are infinite, but one topping that most Koreans can’t do without is sweetened red beans called pat (팥) known as azuki beans in the U.S.). These red beans are tiny and have a white ridge on one side. Bingsu topped with sweetened red beans is called patbingsu (팥빙수). Patbingsu is the variation of bingsu that we grew up eating!

Making patbingsu at home is pretty easy if you have an electric ice shaver. Mine was $30 on Amazon and works very well. It’s totally worth it! Imagine having bingsu anytime you want on hot summer days and not having to pay $12 for it. As an alternative, use a blender or a food processor if it has an ice shaving or crunching blade.

The most important ingredient in patbingsu is obviously pat, the beans. Sure you can find canned sweetened red beans in Korean/Asian markets, but nothing beats homemade red beans that are made with high quality beans. Dried red beans are sold in Korean/Asian markets. The Whole Foods store in my neighborhood also sells good quality azuki beans in bulk. Cooking the red beans is easy, but it takes time as they need to be slow cooked. Soaking the beans is not necessary. The cooked beans should be soft, mostly intact, and moderately sweet. I usually cook one pound at a time. It may seem like a lot, but when you spend over 2 hours cooking them. you might as well make enough to have bingsu a few times.  Or, puree the leftover (or pass it through a sieve) and make danpatjuk (단팥죽), sweet red bean porridge – another popular sweet treat in Korea.

Patbingsu is usually topped with injeolmi (인절미), a type of rice cake (tteok) made with sweet rice powder. Fresh injeolmi from your Korean market will be great for bingsu. Some Korean markets also carry frozen rice cake pieces made for bingsu. You can try making a simple version in the microwave as I’m showing here. Koreans typically drizzle condensed milk over bingsu to flavor the ice, but leave it out if you want, or use regular milk instead. You can make homemade condensed milk by simmering the milk (2 cups) with some sugar (1/4 cup or to taste) over medium low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until it’s reduced by half. Stir frequently while simmering.

I like patbingsu in its simplest form – pat, tteok and some condensed milk, but feel free to load it up! Try it with your favorite fruits and/or ice cream and/or anything else you want — green tea powder, roasted grain powder (misugaru, 미수가루), nuts, cookies, etc. The only thing left to do is to indulge in it and feel your whole body cool down on a hot and humid summer day!

Patbingsu recipe 2

Ingredients:
For the red beans (pat):Patbingsu recipe 5

1 pound dried pat (azuki beans), about 2 cups
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of honey

For the rice cake:
3/4 cup sweet rice powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

For the red beans:

Patbingsu recipe 6Discard broken or rotten beans and rinse the beans. In a large pot, add the beans with 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, uncovered, over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and boil for 5 min.

 

 
Patbingsu recipe 7Drain the beans.

 

 

 

 
Patbingsu recipe 17Return the beans to the pot with 4 cups of fresh water. Cover, and simmer over medium low heat for about 40 minutes. The liquid should have almost evaporated at this point. Add 2 cups of water. Cover, and continue to simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. Add 2 more cups of water. Continue to simmer, covered, for another 40 to 50 minutes, gently stirring occasionally to make sure the beans are not sticking at the bottom. Check the water level. Add more water if needed.
 
Patbingsu recipe 8Gently stir in the salt, sugar and honey. Continue to simmer, uncovered this time, for about 30 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. The beans should be liquidy. Most of the liquid will be soaked up by the beans even after being cooked. Transfer to a container and cool. Keep it in the fridge up to a week, or in the freezer for a few weeks. Thin it with cold water, if you want, when ready to use it again.

For the rice cake:

Patbingsu recipe 10Combine the sweet rice powder, sugar and salt. Mix well with a whisk. Add water and mix well again.

 

 

 
Patbingsu recipe 11Cover with ceramic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes. Rotate and microwave for another 30 seconds or until translucent. Remove from the microwave and let it sit for 5 minutes. Knead well with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes for a chewier rice cake.

 
 
Patbingsu recipe 13Dust the cutting board with a tablespoon of corn starch. Turn the rice cake out on the cutting board. Flatten it with your hands into a rectangle.

 

 

Patbingsu recipe 14Cut into 1/2 to 3/4- inch strips. Wet the knife with water. Cut each strip into 3/4 inch cubes. Lightly dust the cut parts of the rice cake pieces with the corn starch to prevent from sticking.

 

 
 
For the bingsu:
 
Patbingsu recipe 15Before shaving the ice, make sure all the ingredients are cold. It also helps if you keep the serving bowls in the freezer for 10 minutes. Shave the ice.

 

 

Patbingsu recipe 16Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the red beans. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of condensed milk. Top it with a few rice cake pieces and your favorite fruit pieces, ice cream, and/or any other desired toppings.  

 

 

Patbingsu recipe 3 Patbingsu recipe 4

Comments

  1. Denny Li says:

    So serendipitous that you’re posting about bingsu today! I was trying to find an excuse to head out to a local Korean chain, SunO, which makes a fabulous milk based bingsu -i.e. instead of shaving plain ice, they shave a block of frozen water/milk/sweetner. The result is ‘snow’ that has a soft, velvety texture. I love it! Then they add all the various syrups and toppings you expect with bingsu. I didn’t manage to drag the family out that far, but now I’m super excited about trying to duplicate it at home.

    Thanks also for the sweetened condensed milk recipe! I’ve never seen the stuff made with organic, r-bgh free milk in regular supermarkets and am looking forward to making my own.

    P.S. You’re the best! I hope you get a kickback because I made a purchase of the ice shaving machine through your link.

    • Frozen milk is great for bingsu. It’s also fun to be out with the family to enjoy bingsu together. We do that sometimes. I don’t receive anything from Amazon, but I’m glad you bought an ice shaver. Hope you use it as much as I do. I made 5 servings today for my family. Thank you for the nice words!

  2. i love love love this. thanks for reminding me. i need to get some!

  3. Hyosun! I love the new look of your site! Great job and congratulations!
    Patbingoo is my weakness. I can eat it everyday. I have been thinking about getting an electric ice shaver for a while and I think It is about the time. Love all the vibrant colors of the topping. What a refreshing and delicious way to kick off the summer! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, Holly! I’m very happy with my ice shaver. Hope you get one soon. Your children would love it!

  4. I have a shaved ice maker at home, which I never got around to using. Looks like it’s time to get it out! This looks wonderful, like many shaved ice desserts, looks like there’s always red bean in it, even this one. Love the addition of the sweet rice cakes. And mmm…condensed milk….:)))

    • Yeah you should get it out. Nothing cools you down better than shaved ice in summer time. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Mellody Zhye says:

    How great..thank for sharing this..I was looking for very basic recipe of patbingsu everywhere..most other post the modify version and I dont like it even it may taste good but I love yours coz its very basic and traditional one..

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