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Sikhye served in a bowl
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Sikhye (also spelled shikhye or shikeh; also occasionally termed dansul or gamju) is a traditional sweet Korean rice beverage, usually served as a dessert. In addition to its liquid ingredients, sikhye contains grains of cooked rice and in some cases pine nuts.
Sikhye is made by pouring malt water onto cooked rice. The malt water steeps in the rice at typically 65 degrees Celsius until grains of rice appear on the surface. The liquid is then carefully poured out, leaving the rougher parts, and boiled until it gets sweet enough (no sugar is added to this drink).
In South Korea and in overseas Korean grocery stores, sikhye is readily available in cans or plastic bottles. One of the largest South Korean producers of sikhye is the Vilac company of Busan. Most canned sikhye typically has a residue of cooked rice at the bottom. Homemade sikhye is often served after a meal in a Korean restaurant.
There are several regional variations of sikhye. These include Andong sikhye and yeonyeop sikhye or yeonyeopju, a variety of sikhye made in Gangwon province. Andong sikhye differs in that it includes radishes, carrots, and powdered red pepper. Also, it is fermented for several days as opposed to being boiled. The crunchy texture of the radish is kept despite the longer fermentation process; a soft texture would indicate an inferior product. Whereas the sweet canned or restaurant sikhye is enjoyed as a dessert beverage, Andong sikhye is appreciated as a digestive aid, containing lactobacillus.
Sikhye is also referred to by the names dansul (단술) and gamju (감주; 甘酒). Both of these names mean "sweet wine." However, they are also used to refer to a different, slightly alcoholic rice drink called gamju.
Hobak-sikhye (pumpkin sikhye) is a water-boiled broth with pumpkin, steamed rice, and malt. It is fermented for several days at a proper temperature. Some sugar is added to taste sweet.
It is original sikhye in Andong, South Korea. It is a little bit different from other Sikhyes. This Sikhye's color is light red with red pepper added.
Yeonyeop-sikhye is made by wrapping the hot glutinous rice, sake, and honey in a lotus leaf. Before drinking, put up a few pieces of pine nuts.
Sikhye is believed to aid digestion, it contains dietary fiber and anti-oxidants. It was regularly served to royalty after meals to help digestion.
Sikhye is said to help people who have a "cold" constitution to be warm and also helps those who have too "warm" constitution to be less warm. It is also believed to be very helpful for relieving hangovers.
- "Traditional Beverages". Korea Tourism Organization. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "All about Korean Food". Hansik.org. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- "Traditional Winter Beverage and thirst quencher, Sikhye". Seoul Metropolitan Government. 2011-02-25. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
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