I’ve been in search of a breakfast item lately, something healthy and light yet filling – in the stomach and in the brain.  A bowl of cereal and some fruit are nice, but my brain recognizes them more as desserts than proper breakfasts.

Danhobak (단호박; known by its Japanese name kabocha in the U.S.) has always been one of my favorite ingredients, and it was one of the first topics I wrote about when I started my own blog.  Although it’s categorized as a winter squash, I can easily find it year-round, and that’s how often I have it at home – year-round.  Its bright orange-yellow color, which is also an indication of high level of beta-carotene, and natural sweetness make it a great main or supporting ingredient for any dish.  Even the hard skin that comes with high dietary fiber content becomes soft and edible after cooking.  Add more of other good stuff – brown rice flour, sweet rice flour and walnuts and bring everything together with some of the usual baking ingredients.

The texture of this rice muffin – right in between dense, chewy tteok (떡; rice cake) and soft muffin –  is quite interesting.  I mulled over to decide if it’s tteok or muffin with each bite (which led me to eat 3 in a row), but it’s so right in the middle I first named it Tteok Muffin. That’s not so creative but it speaks the reality of it.  I’m still getting used to the texture, but one thing I like about it is that it is pretty filling in my mouth and in my stomach.

The recipe below makes about 12 small rice muffins.

Kabocha Rice Muffin

1 Danhobak
2/3 cup Brown rice flour
2/3 cup Mochiko (찹쌀가루; chap ssal ga ru or sweet rice flour)
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/3 cup Oil (preferably light, like grape seed oil)
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Walnuts, toasted and chopped

  1. Microwave a rinsed danhobak for 5-7 minutes, or until a knife goes through with no resistance.  Cut in half, then scoop out the seeds.  Scoop out the flesh and reserve.  I saved the flesh and the skin separately.
  2. Sift together 2/3 C brown rice flour (I used the one from Wholefoods), 2/3 cup mochiko, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt and reserve.
  3. Whisk 2 eggs and 2 Tbsp. sugar (this is about the minimum amount of sugar you can add.  Feel free to add 1-2 Tbsp. more) until slightly foamy.  Then add 1/3 cup oil (I used grape seed oil), 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup danhobak flesh from #1 and mix well.  Add #2 and mix well.  Fold in 1/2 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts.
    Optional: Top the muffins with small diced danhobak skin pieces for garnish.
  4. Spoon the batter into cupcake molds (silicon molds or paper cups), and place them in a steamer.  Put the lid on and steam for 30 minutes.  When a toothpick inserted through the middle of a muffin comes out clean, it’s done.

You can freeze the leftover danhobak flesh and skin in a plastic bag for another time.  You can also freeze the leftover muffins in a plastic bag and microwave it for 30 seconds to a minute right before eating.  For those adventurous souls out there, I also baked the same batter in a mini cake mold at 350°F, and it feels just too wet even after passing the toothpick test.

Enjoy this delicious rice muffin with another breakfast favorite of mine, black bean smoothie!


brown rice               현미    (hyeon mi)

rice (uncooked)      쌀       (ssal)

rice (cooked)           밥       (bap)

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