Discover Korean Food #30: Dr. Sook-Ja Yoon’s "Songpyeon: Half-moon shape Rice Cake"

Songpyeon is a type of rice cake made by kneading rice powder with hot water and stuffing the dough with beans, sesame, chestnuts and other fillings. The rice cake is shaped into a half-moon and steamed. Songpyeon is served without fail on Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) the biggest holiday in Korea. On the eve of Chuseok, all the family members gather around the table and make songpyeon. They try to make pretty shapes because there is a belief that if you make pretty songpyeon, you will have a beautiful daughter.

[Ingredients & Quantity]
500 g (5 cups) non-glutinous rice powder, 5 g salt, 200~210 g water coloring stuffs : 2.5 g mugwort powder, 7 g (gardenia 2 g + water 25 g) gardenia soaked water, 9 g (strawberry powder 1 g + water 8 g) strawberry powder liquid, 1 g cinnamon powder
Filling stuffs : 50 g fresh green bean, 1 g (¼ tsp) salt, 30 g sesame seeds, 9.5 g (½ tbsp) honey, 12 g (1 tbsp) sugar, 0.5 g (⅛ tsp) salt, 30 g geopi-pat (dark blue, thin skin sweet bean), 14 g (⅔ tbsp) honey, 1 g (¼ tsp) salt, 0.6 g cinnamon powder
300 g pine needles, 2 kg (10 cups) steaming water
13 g (1 tbsp) sesame oil

[Preparation]
1. Halve the gardenia, soak in water for 30 min. to make gardenia soaked water. Mix strawberry powder with water to make strawberry powder liquid.
2. Sprinkle salt on the rice powder and sieve. Divide it into 5 parts. Mix each part of rice powder with each coloring stuff well and sieve.
3. Sprinkle salt on the fresh green bean. Grind half of the fried sesame seeds, mix with honey, sugar and salt together.
4. Wash the geopi-pat and soak them in 7 times volume of water for 8 hours, skin by rubbing, rinse in water, drain water on a strainer for 10 min. (60 g).
5. Rinse pine needles in water and drain water on a strainer.

[Recipe]
1. Strongly knead each colored rice powder with hot water quite for a long time.
2. Pour water into the steaming pot and heat it up for 9 min. on high heat. When it gives off steam, layer damp cotton cloths on the bottom of the pot. Put the geopi-pat in the pot, steam it for 25 min. Pound the geopi-pat with salt and sieve (55 g), then mix with honey, salt and cinnamon powder thoroughly.
3. Pull off around 15~16 g of rice powder dough, roll it into a small ball and make a dent in the center. Put the filling stuffs in it, close up the balls edges and make it into a half-moon shape (20 g after stuffing).
4. Pour water into the steaming pot, heat it up for 9 min. on high heat. When it boils, layer pine needles on the bottom. Place the shaped dough and steam for 20 min. on high heat. 5. Take out the steamed rice cake, quickly rinse in cold water, remove the pine needles, drain water and coat with sesame oil.

[Tips]

*Shaping dough should be covered with damp cotton cloths not to be dried.
*Dough should be kneaded with hot water strongly, then the dough will be pretty.
*Thick Omija(Chinese magnolia vine) tea (Omija 1 : water 2) may be replaced to strawberry juice for pink color.
*Potato, sweet potato, sweet pumpkin, acorn, arrowroots starch and ramie leaves may be added to the dough.
*Black bean, mung bean, chestnut, jujube, and/or sweet potatoes may be used for filling stuffs.

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