Sweet Sticky Rice (Yaksik)

Sweet Sticky Rice (Yaksik)
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  • fresh chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 18 large, pitted red dates sliced, plus extra for garnish
  • 2/3 cup chopped raisins
  • 5 tbsp pine nuts
  • 4 cups short-grain white sticky rice, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp honey


Preheat the oven to 360°F. Place chestnuts in a single layer on a baking try, then roast for 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then when cool enough to handle, remove the shells and the inner, papery skin. Using your hands, break each chestnut into 4 or 5 pieces and set aside.

Combine the  sugar and 80 ml of the water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium–high heat. Cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to caramelize around the edges. Swirl the pan so the mixture is evenly colored, then cook for another 2–3 minutes or until it turns a dark caramel color. Remove from the heat, add the remaining water and swirl to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame and peanut oils and cinnamon and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the dried fruits and pine nuts, stir to combine, then set aside.

Meanwhile, drain the rice well, then transfer to a large steamer lined with either muslin or a clean tea towel, spreading the rice to form an even layer. Cover steamer with a tight-fitting lid, then cook the rice over boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Reserving the steamer, remove the rice to the dried fruit mixture in the bowl, then add the caramel, the brown sugar mixture and the honey. Stir, using a wooden spoon to mix everything well and coat the rice evenly in the syrupy liquid. Place the bowl in the steamer, cover with the lid, then cook over boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly, then transfer to a 20 cm non-stick square cake tin, pressing the surface firmly to form an even layer in the pan. Stand for about 2 hours to cool completely and become firm, then carefully turn out onto a board. Cut into 16 even-sized pieces.