to Make Korean Rice Cake
Dr. Ben Kim
any common saying in western culture, and chances are good that there's
a Korean equivalent that involves rice cake (lovingly called dduk
is greener on the other side? Check. The other person's rice cake
always looks bigger than the one you're holding.
as pie? Check that too. As easy as lying down and eating rice
the other cheek? Give your enemy one more piece of dduk.
people finish last? Give someone a piece of dduk and get slapped
these are well known sayings in Korea. Feel free to confirm with your
friendly neighborhood Korean who grew up in Korea.
more sayings that involve Korean rice cake? Ask my father and he'll
give you ten in a minute.
my point: Koreans love rice cake.
not to love? Korean rice cake - the kind that comes out soft, chewy,
and with just a hint of sweetness - provides a highly unique mouthfeel
compared to modern day fluffy cakes. And lucky for me, my mom is a
true master at making traditional Korean rice cake.
you, it's not a perfectly healthy dessert choice. The main ingredient
is rice powder/flour. And it does call for some sugar, though not
much compared to most modern western cakes and pies.
if you use a natural sweetener, Korean rice cake isn't as good for
your cells as, say, a bowl of sweet mango chunks and creamy avocado
it be clear that this post isn't about how to make another perfectly
post is about how to make Korean rice cake just like my mom makes
it for us about once every six months. And if you follow this recipe
and enjoy Korean rice cake once in a while with loved ones, may you
bask in the glory of celebrating authentic Korean cuisine.
what you'll need to make my mom's version of Korean rice cake:
a two-pound package of frozen rice powder, available in the frozen
foods section of any Korean grocery store. (This type of rice powder
is made by grinding rice that's been soaked in water, so please don't
try to substitute with regular dry rice flour.)
to four tablespoons of organic raisins (less if you want less sweetness,
more if you want more).
of sweet rice flour (chap ssal ga roo), also available in any Korean
grocery store in the dry foods section. This is sometimes called glutinous
of a powdered sweetener of your choice. My mom didn't have anything
on hand but white sugar on this particular day, so that's what we
used. Any natural powdered sugar is fine to use as a substitute. Or
you can skip the sugar and use a few more raisins for sweetness.
also need about half a cup of water, a good steamer (the kind where
the steaming basket is built to fit right into the pot), a high quality
paper towel (Bounty works best), and a clean dish cloth.
an up-close look at the key ingredients...
of frozen rice powder (dduk ssal ga roo):
to four tablespoons of organic raisins:
of any powdered sweetener of your choice:
of sweet rice flour (chap ssal gga roo):
folks don't add sweet rice flour. My mom likes to add it to give her
rice cake the perfect amount of chewiness. Adding just a couple of
tablespoons of sweet rice flour also prevents the rice cake from crumbling
easily with every mouthful.
to Make Korean Rice Cake
really quite easy. Start by combining the rice powder and sweet rice
flour in a large mixing bowl.
the rice powder and sweet rice flour a good stir to evenly distribute
the two ingredients.
a cup of water in a slow drizzle.
and mix some more to allow the rice mixture to thoroughly absorb water.
not adding enough water to turn the rice powder and flour into a dough-like
consistency. Rather, you're bringing the powder to a point where it
feels like it's just barely moistened with some clumps here and there.
It should end up looking something like this:
you could start steaming this up right away and end up with a rudimentary
Korean rice cake, but to create authentic rice cake that'll have your
old school Korean friends truly impressed, you must take what you
have and sift it through a strainer.
be shy and get right in there with your hands to push every last bit
of the rice mixture through the strainer until you have a small mountain
of refined rice cake material.
comes your sweetener.
by your raisins.
things a light mix to evenly distribute raisins and sweetener.
to prepare the basket of your steamer.
your steaming basket with a layer of the best quality paper towel
that you have access to. My mom swears by Bounty.
aside: the purpose of the paper towel is to prevent the rice cake
mixture from falling through the holes of your steaming basket.
You could use a cheesecloth or even a clean J cloth, but doing so
will lead to a solid hour of cleaning afterward to get your cloth
clean. With a strong layer of paper towel, after you're done steaming,
you can just peel the paper towel off, put it in the compost, and
dive into your rice cake.
your steaming basket and paper towel are ready, transfer your rice
cake mixture into the basket.
the brilliant move that I bet even many Korean grandmothers out there
who have been making rice cake for decades will appreciate: pre-cut
the mixture into serving portions. Cutting before steaming results
in much cleaner cuts - a wonderful discovery my mom made a few years
your basket of pre-cut Korean rice cake to your steaming pot.
with a clean dish or tea cloth. The dish cloth is necessary to prevent
water from building up on the underside of the lid and falling back
down on the rice cake while it's cooking.
steamer with its lid.
have some dish cloth hanging off to the side, to be safe, just wrap
it up and over the top of the lid of your steamer.
and let your rice cake take form in the steamer for forty-five minutes.
You'll know it's done when you can poke a chopstick or fork into the
center and have it come out clean.
about what your rice cake should look like fresh out of the steamer:
it about fifteen minutes to cool off, then flip it upside down onto
a serving plate.
peel back the paper towel.
you have it, authentic, homemade Korean rice cake.
gluten-free with no added oils, margarine, or butter.
chewy and as sweet as you'd like it to be (controlled by the amount
of sweetener and raisins you choose to add).
tantalizingly good when hot, but still highly satisfying as a room
a few hours of making your Korean rice cake, be sure to put leftovers
away in an air-tight container to maintain freshness and chewiness.
You can even freeze small portions in saran wrap and bring them out
as you need them; just a few hours of thawing, and they're close to
being as good as they are fresh out of the steamer.
don't enjoy raisins or you'd just like to try something else for texture
and flavor, you can add a similar amount of cooked beans. Traditionally,
Koreans have used red or black beans. But you should feel free to
add whatever you please. If chickpeas or navy beans are your thing,
give them a go. Just be sure that whatever legume you add is pre-cooked,
since the short steam that the rice cake goes through won't be enough
to cook dried legumes.
our look at how to make authentic Korean rice cake (dduk). I hope
that I've done my mom's recipe justice, and that you get a chance
to try it.
note: A printer-friendly (picture-free) version of this recipe can
be found here:
to Make Korean Rice Cake (Dduk)
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