Five-grain Meal(五穀飯)

Five-grain Meal

Headword

오곡밥 ( 五穀飯 , Ogokbap )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JungHyunmi(鄭賢美)

Ogokbap (Kor. 오곡밥, Chin. 五穀飯, lit. five-grain meal) is a dish prepared with five different types of grain, namely, rice, millet, African millet, red beans and soybeans. Consuming ogokbap during the Great Full Moon Festival (the middle of the first lunar month) signified prayers for a good harvest, reflected in another name for the dish, nongsabap (Kor. 농사밥, lit. farming meal). The dish is also known as boreumbap (Kor. 보름밥, lit. full moon meal) in reference to the holiday on which it is consumed. In the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 1849), this five-grain meal is referred to as ogokjapban (Kor. 오곡잡반, Chin. 五穀雜飯, lit. five-grain mixed meal). Along with ogokjapban the record also mentions yakbap (Kor. 약밥, Chin. 藥飯, lit. medicinal rice) as a holiday dish for the Great Full Moon Day. One can infer form these records that the ingredients for yakbap such as pine nuts, dates, and chestnuts were difficult to obtain for ordinary people of Joseon. Accordingly, ogokbap was served as a substitute for this fancier holiday dish.

Preparation of the five-grain meal begins with soaking soybeans in water and boiling red beans. Millet, African millet, and glutinous rice are also washed and drained. Even proportions of all the grains and beans, except the millet, are placed in a pot and cooked in the water saved from boiling the red beans along with the fresh water. In general, the amount of water used for preparing ogokbap is slightly less than that used for boiling regular rice. Another difference is that the water is salted when cooking ogokbap. Once the mixture is brought to a boil, the millet is added. The heat is then reduced and the mixture is slow-cooked. Before serving, the grains are stirred to obtain an even mixture.

The exact dates when ogokbap was traditionally consumed vary according to region. In most parts of Korea, the dish was served on the Great Full Moon Day (the fifteenth of the first lunar month). In some areas ogokpab was eaten a day earlier (on the fourteenth) and the first meal of the fifteenth was served with plain white rice. In these cases breakfast was eaten at an unusually early hour, due to the belief that rising early and having an early first meal on the Great Full Moon Day would encourage diligence during the farming season.

Another popular belief associated with ogokbap and the first full moon day was eating this dish prepared by at least three households having different surnames. This practice would ensure good fortune in the year ahead. Consequently, households frequently shared ogokbap with neighbors. On the eve of the fifteenth, children sometimes would sneak into the vacant homes of their neighbors and eat their ogokbap. Even when the house owner knew about this, he would pretend to be unaware as it was thought that the more people were drawn to a house’s ogokbap, the more farmhands would be employed in the coming year. Having many farmhands, in turn, was a sign of an abundant harvest. During the morning of the fifteenth, children would travel around the neighborhood carrying a strainer or a basket and beg for a spoonful of ogokbap at each house.

After breakfast, farming households served a meal of ogokbap and vegetables to their oxen. If the oxen ate the ogokbap first, it was considered a sign of a good harvest in the coming fall. If the oxen ate vegetables first, the year would not bring a good yield.

Five-grain Meal

Five-grain Meal
Headword

오곡밥 ( 五穀飯 , Ogokbap )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > January > 1st Lunarmonth > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JungHyunmi(鄭賢美)

Ogokbap (Kor. 오곡밥, Chin. 五穀飯, lit. five-grain meal) is a dish prepared with five different types of grain, namely, rice, millet, African millet, red beans and soybeans. Consuming ogokbap during the Great Full Moon Festival (the middle of the first lunar month) signified prayers for a good harvest, reflected in another name for the dish, nongsabap (Kor. 농사밥, lit. farming meal). The dish is also known as boreumbap (Kor. 보름밥, lit. full moon meal) in reference to the holiday on which it is consumed. In the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 1849), this five-grain meal is referred to as ogokjapban (Kor. 오곡잡반, Chin. 五穀雜飯, lit. five-grain mixed meal). Along with ogokjapban the record also mentions yakbap (Kor. 약밥, Chin. 藥飯, lit. medicinal rice) as a holiday dish for the Great Full Moon Day. One can infer form these records that the ingredients for yakbap such as pine nuts, dates, and chestnuts were difficult to obtain for ordinary people of Joseon. Accordingly, ogokbap was served as a substitute for this fancier holiday dish.

Preparation of the five-grain meal begins with soaking soybeans in water and boiling red beans. Millet, African millet, and glutinous rice are also washed and drained. Even proportions of all the grains and beans, except the millet, are placed in a pot and cooked in the water saved from boiling the red beans along with the fresh water. In general, the amount of water used for preparing ogokbap is slightly less than that used for boiling regular rice. Another difference is that the water is salted when cooking ogokbap. Once the mixture is brought to a boil, the millet is added. The heat is then reduced and the mixture is slow-cooked. Before serving, the grains are stirred to obtain an even mixture.

The exact dates when ogokbap was traditionally consumed vary according to region. In most parts of Korea, the dish was served on the Great Full Moon Day (the fifteenth of the first lunar month). In some areas ogokpab was eaten a day earlier (on the fourteenth) and the first meal of the fifteenth was served with plain white rice. In these cases breakfast was eaten at an unusually early hour, due to the belief that rising early and having an early first meal on the Great Full Moon Day would encourage diligence during the farming season.

Another popular belief associated with ogokbap and the first full moon day was eating this dish prepared by at least three households having different surnames. This practice would ensure good fortune in the year ahead. Consequently, households frequently shared ogokbap with neighbors. On the eve of the fifteenth, children sometimes would sneak into the vacant homes of their neighbors and eat their ogokbap. Even when the house owner knew about this, he would pretend to be unaware as it was thought that the more people were drawn to a house’s ogokbap, the more farmhands would be employed in the coming year. Having many farmhands, in turn, was a sign of an abundant harvest. During the morning of the fifteenth, children would travel around the neighborhood carrying a strainer or a basket and beg for a spoonful of ogokbap at each house.

After breakfast, farming households served a meal of ogokbap and vegetables to their oxen. If the oxen ate the ogokbap first, it was considered a sign of a good harvest in the coming fall. If the oxen ate vegetables first, the year would not bring a good yield.