The Significance of Red-Bean Shiroo DDuk in Korean Culture

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A Shiroo DDuk is a dduk made by grinding plain rice or sticky rice into a powder and steaming it in layers. When red bean filling is added into each layer, this is called a Red Bean Shiroo DDuk. When bits of daikon are added to the rice layers, it is called a Moo (daikon) Shiroo DDuk.

 

Out of all the varieties of shiroo dduk, this moo shiroo dduk is recorded as a special late-Fall treat. During this period the daikon flavor is at its best state, and when chopped up and added to the red bean shiroo dduk, it prevents all parts of the dduk from being undercooked. Additionally, because the nutrients in daikon helps with the digestion of rice, it can be called a very harmonious dduk.

 

Although the moo shiroo dduk is popular for being the most ‘harmonious’ dduk, the red bean shiroo dduk, by far, has traditionally been and still is, the most popular in all areas of a person’s life. Red bean shiroo dduk was traditionally presented to the ancestors then eaten around October, after the harvest, to give thanks and also to ask for another bountiful year, and now it is the most popular dduk for sharing for when one moves into a new home, starts a new business or job, or gets married. This is because it is said that the red in the red bean wards off bad spirits, because bad spirits are afraid of the color red. For this reason, it is also tradition to prepare red bean bells for your child’s first 10 birthdays, to ensure their health and good fortune.

 

“It is the most popular dduk for sharing for when one moves into a new home, starts a new business or job, or gets married. This is because it is said that the red in the red bean wards off bad spirits, because bad spirits are afraid of the color red.”

 

The red bean shiroo dduk also has some amazing health benefits. It acts as a detoxing agent for your body, and sticky rice strengthens your digestive system while increasing energy. Hence the royal table set for our ancient Kings always consisted of two types of rice– white and red– where the King was able to choose which one to eat. The white rice was plain steamed rice, while the red rice was made by steaming sticky-rice with red-bean water instead of plain water, which eases the stomach and encourages healthy bowel movements, while balancing your body temperature. Sticky rice is also a naturally ‘warm’ food, warming the stomach and preventing diarrhea. This is why the red bean shiroo, made with sticky rice, has been a constant staple in Korean culture.

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