We celebrate Chuseok(추석), Korean harvest festival on August 15th by lunar month and September 19th was Chuseok this year. On Chuseok Day, people visit their hometowns to get together with their family or relatives. On the eve of Chuseok, we make many foods to perform an ancestral ritual in the next morning and the most representative food of Chuseok is ‘Songpyeon’, half-moon shape rice cake.
[Ingredients] rice-sticky one(쌀), mugwort(쑥), sesame seeds(참깨), chestnuts(밤), salt(소금), sugar(설탕), pine needles(솔잎)
1. Soak rinsed rice in water for more than 3~4 hours.
2. Drain the water thoroughly and grind the rice and make rice flour at a mill. (Put some salt when grinding.) In Korea, we can grind rice at a rice cake house with its own mill or we can buy rice flour there.
3. Mix the rice flour with hot water. Pour the hot water little by little and knead dough.
4. Knead dough until it does not stick to your palm. The longer and the harder you knead, the chewier the dough will be.
* We mix some natural ingredients to make the dough tastier and colorful. My family prefer mugwort(쑥) whose taste and color are good. It is why our doughs are natural green as you can see in the picture. My mom bought mugwort in spring, blanched it in boiling water and kept it in the freezer. It is added to the rice flour at the stage of grinding at the mill.*
We make sweet fillings with sesame seeds, chestnuts or beans.
1. Grind the sesame seeds and mix them with some salt and sugar. It shoud be sweet enough.
2. Boil the chestnuts and peel the skins. Cut them into pieces and mix them with some salt and sugar.
[ Making Songpyeon]
1. Cut the dough into smaller pieces and make a small ball shape with your palms.
2. Push the center of the small ball shape dough with your two thumbs and make a vault shape.
3. Fill the round hole with the sesame seeds or chestnut fillings.
4. Fold the two sides of the dough and make a half-moon shape with your fingers.
* If you leave them for a long time, the skins of Songpyeon can be dried or cracked. Sprinkle pine needles on them to keep them moist.
1. Boil the water in the steamer first.
2. Put the soaked cotton towel on the bottom and sprinkle pine needles on each layer of Songpyeon. Pine needles give their profound fragrance to Songpyeon and leave very natural pattern on the skins of Songpyeon.
3. Steam Songpyeon in the steamer for about 30 minutes.
4. When they are done, wait for about 10 minutes with the lid open.
5. Put all the Songpyeon in the cold water and quickly pull them out after removing the pine needles in the water.
6. After removing all the pine needles, apply some sesame oil to Songpyeon so that they do not stick together and look glossier.
It’s not easy to make Songpyeon while preparing all the other foods. So many people just buy them these days, but I feel that something is missing on Chuseok if we skip making Songpyeon.