|Alternative names||Uyu-juk, milk porridge|
|Place of origin||Korea|
|Associated national cuisine||Korean cuisine|
|Main ingredients||Milk, ground rice|
Tarak-juk (Korean: 타락죽), also called uyu-juk (Korean: 우유죽) or milk porridge, is a type of juk (porridge) made with milk and rice (glutinous japonica variety). It was a part of the Korean royal court cuisine and was also patronized by yangban (scholarly-officials).
The word tarak is derived from the Korean transliteration of the Mongolian word taraq (ᠲ᠋ᠠ᠊ᠷᠠ᠊ᠬ) or Old Turkic torak. Cognates include modern Mongolian tarag (тараг) and Kurdish toraq, both meaning "cheese". As suggested by its etymology, traditional Korean tarak was heavily influenced by the customs of Central Asian—especially Mongolian— fermented milk products. Before the invention of Hangul (Korean alphabet) in the 15th century, the word was transcribed using Hanja (Chinese characters) 駝酪.
Since the archaic word tarak isn't readily understandable to most modern Korean speakers, the compound uyu-juk (우유죽, [u.ju.dʑuk̚]) with the Sino-Korean word uyu (우유) meaning "(cow's) milk" is often used along with the old name. U (우, [u]) is the Korean reading of the Hanja 牛 ("cow") and yu (유, [ju]) is the Korean reading of the Hanja 乳 ("milk").
The history of tarak-juk dates back to the consumption of milk in Korean history. The Kingdom of Goryeo (918–1392) kept Yuu-so (dairy cow office), and nobles consumed nakso (cheese). However, dairy cattle were rare and usually milk was available only after a cow gave birth. Moreover, the freshness of milk was a vital factor as it could not be delivered over long distances. Therefore, milk was considered a supplementary food for special occasions or a recovery food after illness.
During the Joseon era (1392–1897), the dairy cow office was relocated to a royal court ranch on Mount Naksan east of Seoul. It was renamed Tarak-saek (dairy department). Royal physicians took charge of gathering milk and making tarak-juk to present to the king. From the tenth lunar month to the first month of the next lunar year, they offered tarak-juk to the royal court. The Hall of Senior Officials also offered tarak-juk to elderly officials. Recipes for tarak-juk are recorded in the Joseon books such as Revised and Augmented Farm Management and the Women's Encyclopedia.
Pre-soaked glutinous rice is ground by millstone, sieved, and left to settle. The deposits of ground rice, called muri, are boiled, and milk is added slowly on a gentle simmer over a low flame with constant stirring. Salt is then added, to sweeten the porridge, honey can be added. The ratio between milk and muri recorded in the Women's Encyclopedia is 1:0.8, with adjustments allowed according to taste. However, the book advises the amount of muri should not exceed that of milk.