Taste of Korea : Simple recipe for famous shaved ice dessert

Taste of Korea : Simple recipe for famous shaved ice dessert

by Christy Swain
Busan Haps Magazine

Patbingsu is just one of many red-bean based desserts in Korea. Pat is red azuki bean, boiled and sweetened to make a paste which is then layered atop bingsu, or shaved ice. The ice itself is sweetened with condensed milk and makes for a lighter tasting treat than those ice cream sandwiches you’ve wolfed down in summers past. Topped with some rice cake, or ddeok, for texture, this treat will cool and refresh.

Much like iced coffee confections, bingsu variations abound. Nokcha (green tea), coffee and fruit variations are the most popular, and perfect for those who aren’t keen on red bean or rice cake. Bingsu topped with frosted cereal and fruit is often served as a side dish in hofs and noraebangs, perfect for re-hydrating sun-parched bodies and for thinning the alcohol coursing through soju-lined veins. Like most Korean dishes, bingsu‘s made to share, so grab your besties and scoop up a bowl of bingsu, available at most bakeries, major restaurants, and cafes for 3,000 to 8,000 won. It would be a shame to leave Korea without trying the dessert that most of your students will list among their favorites!

Recipe – Traditional Patbingsu


Red beans (azuki beans), sugar, vanilla, salt, shaved ice, sweetened condensed milk, rice cake, strawberries, banana, and kiwi.

Directions for 4 servings:

Preparation: Making sweet red beans:

Rinse and strain 1 cup of red beans and place them in a thick-bottomed pot.


  1. 1 cup of dried red beans will make a little more than 2 cups of sweet red beans. Each serving of patbingsu needs ½ cup of sweet red beans.
  2. Add 4 cups of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Lower the heat to simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Open the lid and check if the beans are cooked well or not. The beans should be crushed easily. Chew a sample of the beans. If there is something hard when you chew, you need to cook longer.
  5. Drain the water and add 1 cup of sugar, 1 ts vanilla, and ½ ts salt. Mix well. *tip: the water from the beans can be used for making rice
  6. Uncover and stir the sweet beans over low heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat off and let it cool down. Keep in the fridge.

Putting it together:

  1. Add ½ cup of sweet red beans on the bottom of a dessert bowl.
  2. Add 1½ cups of shaved ice over the sweet red beans.
  3. Add chopped strawberries, banana, and kiwi on top of the ice.
  4. Pour 2 tbs of sweetened condensed milk onto red beans and place 5-7 chopped rice cakes on top.
  5. Serve right away with a spoon and enjoy!

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