1kabocha (danhobak, 단호박) or small pumpkin, about 2 pounds
1/2cupsweet rice (aka glutinous rice), soaked in water for at least an houror use 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (chapssal garu or mochiko), mixed in 1 cup of water
1 to 2tablespoonsbrown sugaradjust to taste or omit
Optional rice balls
1/2cupsweet rice flour (chapssal garu, 찹쌀가루, or mochiko)
1/4cupred beans, pat (팥), soaked and boiled - optional or use canned sweetened red beans (if using sweetened beans, omit sugar above
1tablespoonpine nuts, pumpkin seeds, jujubes, if availableWalnuts or pecans will be great too
Cut the squash into halves (or quarters). Remove the seeds. Place them in a large pot, the cut side up. Add water about one-third way up the squash, about 6 cups. Cover and boil over medium high heat until the squash turns fork tender, about 25 - 30 minutes. Discard the water and let the squash cool. See the notes for other cooking methods.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh (or peel the skin off).
You can purée the cooked squash at this point if you want, using a blender (make sure to use some of the 3 cups of water required below). Or use an immersion blender or simply mash it with a spoon or potato masher while cooking if you like a little bit of squash lumps in my porridge.
In a blender, grind the soaked glutinous rice with 1 cup of water as finely as possible.
Pour the ground sweet rice into the pot of the prepared squash. Add 3 cups of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring and mashing the chunks of squash, until the rice starts to turn translucent and the porridge becomes thick. Cover, and reduce the heat to low. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. (Adjust the consistency of the porridge to your taste by adding more water.) Stir in the salt, sugar, and the optional cooked red beans. Cook for an additional 3 - 4 minutes.
For the optional rice cake balls
Mix the rice powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Stir in 4 tablespoons of boiling hot water with a spoon. When cool enough to handle, knead by hand until a dough is formed.
Shape the dough into a 3/4-inch thick cylinder. Cut into (or pinch off) 3/4-inch pieces. Roll each piece between the palms to make a small ball.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the rice cake balls. Cook until all the balls float. Transfer to a large bowl with cold water to cool. Drain.
Ladle some porridge into a serving bowl. Serve hot with a few optional rice balls and garnishes.
You can microwave the kabocha halves in your microwave by placing cut side down on a plate and cook uncovered on high for 10-15 minutes until soft.You can also bake the kabocha halves, the cut side down, at 400ºF for about 45 - 50 minutes.If you have an Instant Pot, it will take about 7 minutes to cook kabocha halves on Manual High, with natural pressure release for 5 minutes. Add a cup of water in the pot, and place the squash in a steamer basket.