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Shaved Ice Dessert with Sweet Beans Recipe (Patbingsu)

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This icy cool summer dessert of shaved ice with toppings is perfect for those hot and humid days. Now Korean cafes create complex shaved ice concoctions, but start with this basic patbingsu (or patbingsoo) recipe and add on at home. Like most other Korean foods, this is a dish that is meant to be shared.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

    • shaved ice, about 3 cups*
    • 1 cup sweet red bean paste
    • 1 kiwi, sliced
    • 3 strawberries, sliced
    • 5 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
    • 5 Tbsp milk
    • 1/2 cup rice cakes, cubed (injulmi, mochi)
    • 1/2 banana, sliced
    • green tea powder, for dusting
    • scoop of ice cream (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Use a blender or food processor to crush ice cubes into flakes.
  2. Put ice flakes into serving bowl.
  3. Mix condensed milk and regular milk together.
  4. Pour over ice.
  5. Top with bean paste, fruit, rice cakes and green tea powder.
  6. Top with an optional scoop of ice cream.

Other popular toppings include fruit cocktail, any seasonal fruit, whipped cream, cereal, and frozen yogurt.

Patbingsu Shaved Ice Tips and Tricks

If you're worried about the ice flakes melting too quickly, then it helps to freeze some of the fruit before you use it in the patbingsu, or at least refrigerate the fruit so that it is cold.

Depending on how sweet (or dry/soupy) you like your patbingsu, adjust the amount of sweetened condensed milk that you pour over your shaved ice bowl.

Patbingsu History

According to the Jeju Times, patbinsgu was originally only made up of shaved ice, red beans (pat), soft rice cakes (injulmi), and ground nut powder. Some food historians think that its early origins come from the Chinese tradition of eating a bowl of snow or ice topped with fruit juices. But Korea's version is said to be from the Chosun (Joseon) Dynasty (1392-1897). Since there was no refrigeration, people would shave ice off huge hunks of ice to make the dessert.

Modern Shaved Ice

After the Korean War, people started to include Western ingredients like fruit cocktail and ice cream to the mix. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, patbingsu was usually topped with overly sweet fruit cocktail, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries. Since I didn't like canned fruit cocktail or maraschino cherries, I never developed a taste for patbingsu. But now this shaved ice treat has taken on a whole new dimension- with spectacular flavors, toppings including gelato and exotic fruits, and high-quality sweet beans. It's a blank canvas to top with the ingredients and fruit you love.

Other Shaved Iced Desserts From our Japanese Food Guide: "Japanese shaved ice is called kakigori. There are a variety of flavors, and a traditional kind is Uji-kintoki which is flavored with green tea syrup and anko (sweet azuki beans). Sweetened condensed milk is often poured."
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