It’s been a banner Lunar New Year so far.
Luke got food poisoning. I got head lice. (Who gets head lice?!) We had a nice run-in with some soju swaggin’ Koreans and some near-nasty repercussions. Our school closed down. Our school closed down! I guess it is, as they say, the Year of the Snake. We’ll be taking a pay cut for the next little while, but things could always be worse.
We still have jobs for the duration of our original contract here in Korea. We can keep our little, cozy apartment. Nobody got arrested or deported. I don’t have any little pests crawling through my hair, and Luke’s internal organs are in the clear. Also, I learned how to make rice milk.
Taking a temporary pay cut wasn’t in our original plans, but it looks now it’s part of the challenge to keep saving for our upcoming trip. We’ve been looking for ways to cut back, and one of the easiest ways to do so is to make do with what you have (right, dad?).
For example, we have rice. And lots of it.
I do love my hyun-me bap and it’s sure a nutritionally sound alternative to the usual choice grain here, it’s bleached-out brother (see: my earlier post on its bountiful benefits), but man—nor woman—can live on rice alone. Faced with a barrel of the brown stuff, I decided to transform my grains into something a little more practical: rice milk.
Almonds aren’t cheap on this continent and I generally try and steer clear of soy, so my non-dairy milk options here are pretty limited. Thankfully, rice is everywhere, cheap, and organic is pretty easy to find. Perhaps if you head up to your local Koreatown or Chinatown you’ll find the same? If you’re on a tight budget of your own, maybe this trick will benefit you like it has me and my belly
Here’s the how-to:
1. Soak 2 cups of rice overnight and rinse well.
2. In your food processor or blender, blend the rice with 4 cups of filtered water (If you want more or less, just stick with a 1:2 ratio and you’ll be fine).
3. Use a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or, in a pinch, a clean dishcloth or fine mesh strainer to separate the pulp from the liquid. (See my tutorial on almond milk for technique and photos.)
4. (Optional) Rinse out your blender or food processor, pour the liquid back in and blend any combination of: 1 tsp. vanilla extract, a pinch of sea salt, a pitted date or some agave, or even cacao powder to make chocolate rice milk.
5. (Also optional, but highly recommended!) Save your rice “grits” to make porridge–cover one cup of the rice pulp with water in a pot, stir in your favorite oatmeal ingredients (I like cinnamon, vanilla, and chopped medjool dates), bring to a boil and simmer, covered, till the water is absorbed. Add in a splash of your fresh rice milk and bask in your incredible utilitarianism.
I’ve been freezing batches of my rice grits in single-serving portions to cook up for quick breakfasts—one benefit of only having a hot plate to cook on is that I can get my grits boiling in under a minute… a benefit, so long as I can avoid burning said grits immediately after Maybe you’ve better luck than I? Feel free to share your experiences below!
Until then, enjoy and annyeong ka-sey-oh!