“Songpyeon” Half-moon Shape Rice Cake

9 완성4

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 반죽하기[ Dough making]

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.*

2 속 만들기[Fillings]

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.

3 송편만들기

[ 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.

4 송편 찌기

[Steaming]

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.

9 완성5They match well with a newly made pottery by my mom.

9 완성6After Chuseok, I keep Songpyeon in the freezer and eat 4~5 of them as my breakfast.

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.

10 Comments

  1. These look amazing! I actually made these during Chuseok at work with my kindergarteners, but it obviously had no chance of looking (or tasting) as good as these are. Ours was much more simplified but I had a lot of fun making them. I love how they’re steamed with pine needles. I thought that was so interesting. Great post Jessie 🙂

  2. This is the most interesting recipe I have come across in days. The ingredients are amazing. What is mugwort? and where do you get pine needles? Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely week, ahead!

    1. Thanks for your comment! Mugwort is a kind of wild herb which we Koreans use as an food ingredient. We can make soup, tea, rice cake etc. with mugwort. Mugwort is a herb that warm up our body and so it’s very good for people with cold hands and feet.
      Pine needles? In my childhood, I used to climb the mountain and get some pine needles from pine trees before making Songpyeon, but now we just buy some at the market only by the time of Chuseok.

      1. One day I hope I shall travel to Korea to sample Korean food. Everything here is so new and amazing to me. Thanks so much for sharing all these unique recipes. Enjoy what remains of your weekend!

      2. Thank you so much. I’m so glad to hear your comment. I strongly recommed you to come to Korea someday and taste all the authentic Korean foods. ^^ Thanks to your comment, I can start this week in a very happy mood.

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