If you happened to grab some patbingsu this past summer, you might have noticed a dash of brown powder sprinkled on top. No, it wasn’t sugar. That, my friends, was actually misutgaru!
Misutgaru (미숫가루) translates to “roasted rice powder.” It is made from steamed rice, grains like barley or beans, and other nuts that have been dried, roasted, and then ground. Misutgaru is typically mixed with cold water in order to create a healthy drink that has a nutty taste and slightly grainy texture. Just think of misutgaru as the Korean equivalent of horchata.
Since it’s made out of rice and other nuts, misutgaru a high-protein drink that can act as a substitute for a regular meal. It also helps with digestion and boosts energy. With lots of great benefits, misutgaru is a healthy alternative to ice coffee.
If you want to try it out for yourself, don’t worry; you can easily purchase misutgaru at your local Korean grocery store. Though extremely popular among Koreans, misutgaru is perceived as a simple, homemade drink so you often won’t find it at restaurants or cafes. Café Americano in L.A.’s Koreatown, however, does serve a Multi-Grain Frappe that is made with misutgaru. The misutgaru Frappe tastes like sweet Cheerios and only has 220 calories per 16 oz., making it a healthy treat on a hot day.
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Tips when drinking misutgaru:
- Misutgaru tends to clump together as you mix it in water. While some enjoy this grainier texture, others may prefer a smoother drink. In that case, use a blender.
- Some people choose to mix misutgaru with milk instead of water in order to give it a slightly thicker consistency.
- Feel free to add honey or sugar to make your drink a little sweeter, too!
[Photos: (top) Herzip; blogger "must go"/Yahoo Korea; "cecilia30"/Naver]