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Songpyeon Korean Moon Rice Cake

Songpyeon - Korean Rice Cake for Chuseok

Songpyeon is a special rice treat made in the Korean home during Chuseok (秋夕) to celebrate the year’s harvest and to wish every family member good health. Songpyeon is made from 100% short grain rice cake dough that’s filled with various fillings then hand shaped and steamed.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Korean
Keyword fall harvest, gluten free, steamed, traditional
KoreanCategory Tteok (떡)
Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 24 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 467 kcal
Author JinJoo Lee

Ingredients

For Basic White dough

  • 2 cup tteok rice powder comes already salted, 250~260 g
  • 4 Tbs + 2 tsp boiling water

For Yellow dough

  • 2 cup tteok rice powder comes already salted, 250~260 g
  • 50 g kabocha squash cooked
  • 4 Tbs boiling water

For Green dough

  • 2 cup tteok rice powder comes already salted
  • 2 1/2 tsp matcha tea powder
  • 4 Tbs + 1 tsp boiling water

Sesame filling

  • 1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 pinch of salt

Mung bean filling

  • 1/4 cup dry mung beans skin removed
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt (Trader Joe's)
  • 2 Tbs honey optional

Finishing Seasoning

  • 2 Tbs sesame oil

Other needed items

  • 1 bunch fresh pine needles rinsed (optional)
  • 1 steamer
  • 1 a silicone or cheese cloth liner for the steamer if no pine needles

Instructions

  1. If using frozen rice powder for rice cakes, thaw to room temperature. If you can’t buy one, you can make at home, follow my recipe for how to make fresh rice powder for rice cakes at home.
  2. Soak dry mung beans in water for 2-3 hrs. If mung beans have a lot of skin, you may need to soak longer.
  3. When mung beans are fully soaked, rub beans with hands to remove as much skin as possible. Drain top water away with the skins (as they will float to top). Add water again and repeat if necessary. No need to remove every single outer skin but as much as you can.
  4. Get a steamer ready and steam the mung beans for 15 min until they are soft and crushes easily.
  5. Use a blender to coarsely chop mung beans. You can just season with salt for the most traditional taste or add honey for a sweeter filling.

  6. Crush sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle. You don’t need to crush all seeds, just about half so that the flavor is released. Mix with honey, pinch of salt and set aside. Optionally, you can add honey and sugar for extra sweetness.

Make Basic White Songpyeon Tteok Dough

  1. In a bowl, add 2 cup rice powder. Add 4 Tbs hot boiling water and mix with spoon. Once it’s cooled a bit, knead dough with hand.
  2. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for few minutes. (5 min is good). Add 2 tsp boiling water, more or less depending on the dryness of the powder. Dough should not break easily but also not be so wet that it doesn’t hold shape.
  3. Cover with a wet towel or plastic wrap. Let it rest for few minutes.

Make Yellow Dough

  1. Peel outer skin of Kabocha squash and cut couple think slices weighing about 50 grams. Cook in the microwave covered with wet paper towel for 40 seconds until fully soft.

  2. In a bowl, add 2 cup rice powder. Add cooked Kabocha by pressing it against a sieve for best results.
  3. Add 3 Tbs boiling water. Mix with spoon and then with your hands to form a dough.
  4. Knead the dough with heel of your hand for few minutes.
  5. Cover with wet towel or plastic. Let it rest.

Make Green Dough

  1. In a bowl, add 2 cup rice powder and 2 1/2 tsp matcha powder or mugwort powder. Add more for darker green color.
  2. Add 4 Tbs boiling water. Mix with spoon and then with your hands to form a dough.
  3. Knead the dough with heel of your hand for few minutes. Add 1 tsp or more water as needed.
  4. Cover with wet towel or plastic. Let it rest.

Let's make some Songpyeon -

  1. Setup a station with all the fillings and doughs together. Prepare a small bowl of water. Prepare a tray with cover to lay out the Songpyeon.
  2. First make a 1 inch or slightly bigger little balls with your hand. Then press down the center to form a little bowl with your fingers. If it starts to crack too much, dip your finger in the water bowl and add a little more water to the dough. Repeat again.
  3. Fill the bowl with a filling – make sure you top it off.
  4. Then close up edges to make a half moon shaped dumpling kind of a thing. Place on tray making sure they don't touch each other. Keep it covered.

  5. Repeat with different color dough and different filling.
  6. Layer bottom of steamer with pine needles.
  7. Place Songpyeon in the steamer. Close the lid and steam for 12 minutes.
  8. Prepare 2 bowls. Fill one with a cold water.
  9. When Songpyeon is cooked, turn heat off and let it cool in the steamer for 2-3 minutes.

  10. Using a tong, pick up rice cakes and drop them in the cold water for a quick rinse and to remove any stuck pine needles.
  11. Transfer rinsed rice cakes into a colander to drain. Quickly add drained rice cakes to a bowl, drizzle sesame oil. Toss to coat Songpyeon evenly.

     This process of cold water bath and coating with oil helps Songpyeon to remain moist and from sticking to each other.

  12. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts
Songpyeon - Korean Rice Cake for Chuseok
Amount Per Serving
Calories 467 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 50mg 2%
Potassium 190mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 89g 30%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 7g
Protein 8g 16%
Vitamin A 2.5%
Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 9.1%
Iron 11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.