The sun beats against your back. The sweat beads trickle down your forehead. You breathe in hot air. Sigh, NYC summer. What better way is there to alleviate yourself of the city heat than an ice cold treat? Forget vegan ice cream and vegan milk shakes (though they have their place – sorry I didn’t mean that). Patbingsu, however, is more refreshing, lighter, and fruitier!
I introduce you to the Korean shaved ice dessert called patbingsu. (Pat=red beans and bingsu=shaved ice). It is the ultimate go-to summer delight, which includes two main ingredients–you guessed it–shaved ice and sweetened red beans. Whatever you add on top of that is completely up to you. The popular ones are topped with fruits, rice cake, ice cream, and others sweet treats. That doesn’t even include the drizzle! In the café-lined streets of Seoul, you can find different flavored bingsu bowls such as green tea, coffee, and the more uniquely flavored ones sans the red beans like cherry blossom and cacao (um, take me there?).
Full disclosure: the prep work is a bit labor-intensive as it involves cutting up the fruits–the only “hardest” part–and blending the syrup in advance but saving the frozen bananas for the very end (so they don’t melt). I promise that the result will be worth the time and taste! I wanted the full rainbow display and flavor so I went all in. You can include as many or as few toppings as you like. Be creative! And don’t forget to mix the patbingsu to taste all the flavors at once (see photo)!
The ingredients for the topping are listed below.
Here are the ingredients for the fruit syrup:
1 cup fresh strawberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds
5 tablespoons water
Hawaiian Ice shaver (purchased from Amazon) or high-speed blender
• The two more uncommon ingredients for the recipe are the sweetened red beans and bingsu rice cake (see photos). You can find these items at a Korean grocery store like H-Mart.
• In traditional bingsu, there is condensed milk. For this recipe, I omitted any substitution, but feel free to add vegan condensed milk.
• The amount of the syrup you blend will be substantially more than you need for a single serving. Feel free to store it in the fridge for later use.
• For the syrup, do the following in advance: let the chia seeds soak in water for ten minutes. First, pulse the first three ingredients then add in the now-turned gelatinous chia seeds to pulse again.
• For the shaved ice, I used the Hawaiian Ice Shaver, which created the perfect ice chip consistency that is smooth and fluffy. If you don’t have one, you can use a blender like Vitamix. The ice chips won’t be as smooth as they would be from the ice shaver, but you won’t compromise taste!
• For the ice cream, I blended the bananas at the very end to avoid melting. If you include this step, it should be the second to last step right before you drizzle your final work!
Vegan Korean Pat Bingsu
- ½ cup strawberries
- ½ cup frozen pineapple bits
- ½ yellow mango
- 1 kiwi
- 2 tablespoons red beans (sweetened and mashed)
- 30 g bingsu rice cake
- 1 block ice (container comes with the Hawaiian Ice Shaver) or 20 ice cubes
- 2 frozen bananas to make ice cream(optional)
1. Prepare the syrup first. Let chia seeds soak in water for ten minutes. Blend the strawberries, raspberries, and maple syrup. Then add the chia seeds. Set syrup aside in a separate container. (See detailed notes above.)
2. Cut the fruits for topping in small pieces.
3. Let ice thaw for five minutes.
4. Blend or shave the ice and place it in a bowl.
5. First top with the red beans, then add the fruits and rice cakes.
6. If adding banana ice cream, blend frozen bananas and add to bowl.
7. Drizzle your patbingsu with syrup!
Also by Vivian: Vegan Banana Oatmeal Blender Pancakes
Related: Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photos: Vivian Lee