Sikhye—Korean Rice Beverage

Sikhye—Korean Rice Beverage

Sikhye / Photo Credit:

Sikhye is a sweet Korean rice-based beverage that is often served for dessert. The drink aids in digestion, making it the perfect way to finish a filling Korean meal.

Sikhye (Sweet Rice Punch) Recipe by Kimchimari

2 1/2 cup milled malt barley (Yeotkireum)
10 cup water
1 cup short grain rice
3/4 ~ 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
pine nuts/dried jujubes/citron syrup/mint leaves (optional)


  1. Soak the crushed milled malt barley (Yeotkireum) in 10 C of warm water for 1 hour. While soaking, massage the malt barley with your hand 2-3 times so that all the good stuff gets loose from the husk.
    *In the summer, be careful not to use too warm a water because it can actually spoil during the soaking process.
  2. Strain malt barley water, making sure you squeeze out all the good stuff by hand in the strainer before throwing it away.
  3. Rest the strained malt water for 2~3 hrs and you will see white sediments accumulate at the bottom of the bowl.
    *For a clearer sikhye, let it rest 4~5 hrs.
  4. In the mean time, cook 1 cup of rice.  When cooking rice, use less water to produce a drier rice. The rice granules should easily separate when cooked and not stick together. The old traditional way is to steam the rice which produces the driest rice for sure but that’s a bit too much trouble..People also use leftover rice instead and it does an OK job – the result is just not as pretty.
  5. Add the top liquid part of the malt barley water to the rice cooker with the cooked rice already in it. Leave the white sediments in the bowl as much as possible.* You do not need to pour all the liquid into the rice cooker. It just needs to fully cover your rice. Keep any remaining liquid in the bowl and let it rest until the step 7.
  6. Keep the rice + malt barley liquid mixture warm ( use the ‘keep warm’ option) in the rice cooker for around 5 hrs or more until about 4~5 rice granules rise to the top.
    This means the amylase in the malt has been activated in the warm temperature and has transformed the starch in the rice into maltose making the rice lighter and therefore floating to the top.
    *If you don’t have a rice cooker, keep it at 120~140 ℉ (50 ~60 ℃) in a double boiler.
  7. Now, based on what you want, choose one of the following:
    1. IF (you want the rice to float when servedTHEN strain rice from liquid and rinse under running cold water and drain. Store in the fridge. Also be sure to use 1 cup sugar in step 8 to make the rice float.
    2. IF (all you care about is the taste) THEN leave the rice in the liquid
  8. Pour the liquid (and the rice, if you chose option 7.2) into a large pot and any remaining liquid from step 5, again making sure white sediments are not added.  Add sugar. Use 1 cup sugar if you like sweet desserts and also if you want the rice to float. Otherwise, start with 3/4 cup.
  9. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes. Skim off any foam while it’s boiling.Taste the sweetness and adjust sugar to taste. Also remember that the drink will taste less sweet when served cold.

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