whenever my grandmother visited and slept over our house during summer breaks, there would always that one day where she would gently nudge me and my sister, ally, awake at the crack of dawn to let us know that her 식혜 was ready. 엘리, 크리스틴..할머니가 식혜 만들었다.
while the whole house was asleep, she'd get up a few times throughout the night to tend to her 식혜 to make sure that the malted barley wasn't over-fermenting. in the early morning after, ally and i would sit at the kitchen table with a warm cup of shikhye in our hands while watching halmunee carefully ladle shikhye from gigantic pots into empty kimchi jars and plastic milk jugs.
we'd load up the car with a few jars and jugs and drive them over to our cousins' house. a part of me would always feel a little reluctant to share because i was a little greedy girl and wanted to keep all of them for myself since i knew that what we had in our fridge at home would probably last just a few days.
there came a summer when my grandmother could no longer labor through the night to make another round of shikhye, and my parents insisted that she should rest even when we begged.
i can't remember the very last batch she made, it unfortunately came with no warning :( had i known that that batch would be the last drops of liquid gold she would ever spin, i wouldn't have been so hasty in finishing my glass for another.
when i have shikhye today, it's usually store bought or at the end of a meal at a korean restuarant. i really should have learned how to make shikhye from my grandmother, and i'm regretful that the timing of my curiosity didn't line up with her ability to teach me. instead, i took verbal directions from my mom, and was able to make my first batch the same way that my grandmother did. i've made a few more over the last year and can now comfortably make it without much instruction :)
los angeles is currently ablaze. how many instagram stories have you seen with a zoom into a car thermometer or those temperature stickers? i've seen maybe like 5000. as consolation to those out there in that 115-degree weather, i turned shikhye, a drink that i've known to help cool down during the summer, into an even cooler drink by turning it into a granita. hope it helps in cooling all y'all angelenos down!
3 cups malted barley powder (1 pound)
24 cups of water
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup rice
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1. in the most gigantic basin you own, pour in malted barley powder and 24 cups of water. if you have a basin that holds 24 cups of water, great! stir the powder and water for a good minute until evenly mixed.
if you don't have a basin that holds that much water (i don't), you'll unfortunately have to do some math. divide powder into your smaller bowls and add the divided water up. for example, if you have bowls that hold up to 12 cups of water, add 1 1/2 cup of malted barley powder and 12 cups of water to each bowl. mix until even!
set bowls aside to sit for 4 hours. in those hours, check in every hour to make sure that air bubbles don't start frequently floating to the top. if it is, add 1 cup of water, but do not stir. air bubbles mean that the malted barley powder is fermenting more than it should, which sours the flavor. adding water slows down the fermentation.
2. wash rice 3 times until water doesn't wash up a cloudy residue. add rice with 2 cups of water in a bowl, and let it sit for an hour.
3. drain the rice and add another 1 1/2 cups of water to a small pot. bring to a boil and stir every few minutes for 10 or until most of the water has evaporated. place lid on pot and set heat to low, steam for 15 minutes. remove pot from heat.
4. after those 4 hours, the malted barley powder and water should separate, leaving a clear light brown/yellow liquid. take a large measuring cup and slowly remove as much of the clear liquid as possible without disturbing the powder set at the bottom. add to your largest stock pot (should hold at least 24 cups of water - do the division trick again and add to multiple pots if you have smaller pots).
place a colander or strainer over your stock pot. place a cheese cloth or paper towel over the strainer. slowly strain as much of the clear liquid from the malted barley mixture into your pot. stop pouring when you've reached the white muddy powder.
5. drop rice to stock pot, and separate as much as possible by mixing using a ladle. boil rice with shikhye liquid for 30 minutes. remove as much rice possible using a strainer. wash rice under cold water and set aside in fridge. and skim the top for any brown foam.
6. add sugar to stock pot and boil for another 15 minutes. remove from heat and bring shikhye down to room temperature. you're done here if you just want plain old shikhye in liquid form - just add a dollop of your shikhye rice with some ice cubes! refrigerate the remainder of your shikhye.
1. clear 1 shelf of your freezer
2. place a clean baking pan on freezer shelf. ladle on as much room temp shikhye as that baking pan can hold.
3. every hour, take a fork and scrape the top of the icy shikhye. do this 2-3 more times until you get granita flakes.
4. serve shikhye granita with a dollop of chilled shikhye rice on top. garnish with cinnamon!
5. pat yourself on the back because that was a very long process.