Long, cylinder-shaped rice cake

Garaetteok 가래떡

Hello everybody!

Today I’ll show you how to make a homemade Korean rice cake called garaetteok.


Most of you know what tteok means, right? That’s rice cake. But what about garae? What is it, and what does it have to do with this rice cake?

There are a few theories about that. One of them is that garae comes from the verb gaeuda which means “to divide.” Some people think this rice cake got its name because it’s always “divided” into pieces before it’s rolled and stretched.

garaeThe other theory is the name comes from a Korean farming tool called a garae, which is a type of spade. A garae has 2 thick ropes attached to the side of it so that 2 helpers can pull the ropes and make the digging go faster.

Some people think those ropes look a lot like garaetteok, which is how the rice cake got its name.

I had never made homemade garaetteok until I developed this recipe for my website, but when I was growing up in Korea, I watched my grandmother in Korea make it once. I remember her pounding the rice cake with her long wooden pestle in her large stone mortar. Kong kong kong! When she was finished pounding it was elastic, chewy, and soft. Then she started rolling out pieces of it with her hands.

Rolling and stretching, rolling and stretching, until it became long like a rope.

I must have watched her pretty closely because my memories of her working are very vivid! And I also remember her huge smile when she saw me watching her. It was not easy work, and she probably sweat a lot, but she ever frowned.

Developing this recipe, I realized how much hard work it must have been for her. I have a microwave to help me, and I am only making a small amount. She made a lot more, and all by hand. Now I really understand how much work it was, and she still had the energy to give me a smile.

Several hours after she made it, the rice cake would get a little dry and hard. Then she cut it into thin discs for rice cake soup. I remember that she used to cut it straight across, not diagonally, so each rice cake looked exactly like a coin.

I miss her and I miss her smile. She passed away long time ago.

You can use a microwave or a steamer to make garaetteok, whichever one you have at home and feel comfortable with. The dough ratio is a little different depending on which method you use, so be sure to use the right one.

After it’s made, you can cut and prepare it for tteokbokki or tteokguk. Both methods are described below.

A note about short grain rice flour: the flour you buy at your local store or the flour you make may have more or less moisture in it than the rice flour I use in this recipe. This is because of many different things like how long it’s been in the freezer in the store, or the atmospheric conditions where you live. You may need to add more or less boiling water, depending on how dry or wet your short grain rice flour is.


  • 2 cups of short grain rice flour (buy it frozen, or make your own)
  • ½ ts salt
  • ¾ cup of boiling water if using a microwave, 1 cup of boiling water if using a steamer (you may need more or less depending on how much moisture is in your short grain rice flour, see the note above)
  • 1 ts sesame oil



  1. If you bought frozen rice flour from a Korean grocery store, put it in the fridge overnight until it thaws out and the flour becomes a powder. If you made your own rice flour, you don’t need to do this

Making rice cake with a microwave:

  1. Combine the rice flour, salt, and boiling water in a bowl. It should have the consistency of the mixture in this photo:rice-cake-dough
  2. Cover it with plastic wrap, leaving a small gap to let the steam release. Microwave for 2 minutes.
  3. Mix the rice cake dough with a rice scoop or wooden spoon.
  4. Re-cover with the plastic wrap and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Spread ½ ts sesame oil on your cutting board. Put the hot rice cake in the oily spot on the cutting board. Pound it with a pestle for about 5 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic.ricecake-poundingricecake-folding

Making rice cake with a steamer:

  1. Combine the rice flour, salt, and boiling water in a bowl.
  2. Line a steamer rack with parchment paper. Add the rice cake dough and steam for about 25 minutes over hight heat.
  3. Spread ½ ts sesame oil on your cutting board. Put the hot rice cake in the oily spot on the cutting board. Pound it with a pestle for about 5 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic. The rest of process is the same as the  method of using a microwave oven.ricecake_steamingricecake_steamedricecaked_pounding

Prepare the rice cake for ddeokbokki:

  1. Cut it into 8 equal pieces, then roll each piece out into a 4 inch long cylinder shaped rice cake.
  2. Put ½ ts sesame oil onto your hands and gently rub the rice cakes to coat them in a thin sheen of oil. This will give them a nice flavor and keep them from sticking to each other.ricecakerice cakerice cake

Prepare the rice cake for ddeokguk (rice cake soup):

  1. Cut it into 2 equal pieces, then roll each piece out into two 10 inch long cylinder shaped rice cakes.
  2. Let them cool at room temperature for several hours, then slice diagonally into thin discs.
  3. Use right away, or put in a plastic bag and freeze for later use. This amount is for 1 serving of ddeokguk, so if you want to make two bowls of soup, make two batches.



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  1. aiucepe Indonesia My profile page joined 6/16
    Posted June 18th, 2016 at 11:20 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi ^^
    Thank you for the recipe. It is hard to find short grain rice here, so I did a little experiment. I made my own flour using long grain rice because the store-bought ones tasted bad (as I experienced). I grind the rice manually, it is tiring but fun. I added 2 tablespoons of glutinous rice flour for a cup of rice flour I made. It turned out well! I hope this can help those who find it difficult to get short grain rice.
    Thank you ^^
    (Photo was taken from my ig account, I added watermark because sometimes someone took my pics without permission)

    See full size image

  2. stitch08 Manila Philippines My profile page joined 5/16
    Posted May 5th, 2016 at 9:19 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I am planning to try this recipe using steamer. I am not sure if should I steam it with close lid or steam it with no cover? Hope you can help me. Thank you.

  3. Fany My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted April 29th, 2016 at 9:53 am | # |

    How much rice flour should I use to make 1 cup of these thin discs?

  4. Fany My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted April 28th, 2016 at 5:20 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    If I want to use it in cheese Buldak, should I freeze them?

  5. Hanah San Jose My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted April 18th, 2016 at 1:42 am | # |

    Hi Ms. Maangchi!
    I would like to ask that could i use sweet rice flour to do rice cake?
    Thanx so much

  6. Moonie Vietnam My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted April 5th, 2016 at 11:45 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I have made this and it turned out really pretty, soft and chewy. But I’m not really sure about the taste… It tastes a little bit like raw rice I guess (I’m absolutely sure that my dough was completely cooked) Is it because of sesame oil or it’s just its common taste?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 5th, 2016 at 12:03 pm | # |

      “t turned out really pretty, soft and chewy.” It sounds like you made good garaetteok!

  7. RosalinaS Indonesia My profile page joined 2/16
    Posted February 25th, 2016 at 11:49 am | # |

    Maangchi, attached is how mine turned out. It looks so pretty but IT didn’t taste good bcs in Indonesia we commonly eat long grained rice. I made it from SCRATCH by following your recipe, Oh I can’t thank you enough.

    So, could you pls recommend special brand of short grained flour that you usually use so I could buy it via Amazon or ask my friend whos gonna travel to south Korea??

    Thankyouuu so muchh!! Terima kasihh

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 29th, 2016 at 6:21 pm | # |

      Hi, Rosalina
      Your garaetteok looks awesome even though it was made with long grain rice! If you use short grain rice, it will not only look good but taste better. The rice cake should be chewy. I don’t have any particular brand of rice flour because Korean rice flour for making rice cake is usually made by a small local company. When I need to buy rice flour, I pay attention to getting right rice flour which is mepssal-garu (short grain rice flour). You can make your own short grain rice flour, too. http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/mepssalgaru
      This is a list of Korean grocery stores in Indonesia. http://www.maangchi.com/shopping/indonesia

  8. RVD Woodinville, WA My profile page joined 1/14
    Posted February 8th, 2016 at 2:55 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I made this today and it turned out well. I could not find the rice cake powder at my local Korean market (H-Mart in the Seattle area) so I made my own with your recipe using my food processor.

    A few notes:

    1) When I initially mixed my rice powder with 3/4 cup of water, it was very watery (like soup) and nothing like your picture. I thought I really messed this up so I added some more rice powder (I used 2 cups of raw rice so it made about 3 cups for rice powder) to try to make it look like yours. I ended up putting all of my rice powder in there but it was still like soup.

    2) After 2 minutes in the microwave, I was surprised to see that it looked like your picture. The rice absorbed all of the water in the soup and it was like dduk. However, it was a bit dry and hard. I mixed it up but was still a bit dry and breaking apart (I probably should not have added that extra cup of homemade rice powder).

    3) After 1 more min in the microwave, it looked ok. I did not do 2 more minutes because I was afraid that it would get really hard and dry.

    4) I added a little bit of water while I was pounding away. I pounded a lot to make sure that it has the right texture and probably pounded for about 15 minutes.

    5) To my surprise it actually turned out well!

    See full size image

  9. firehaze India My profile page joined 2/16
    Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 12:53 pm | # |

    Hello maangchi :)
    I have a store nearby which sells fresh rice cake. How long do you think it will last if i keep it in a freezer/refrigerator? I asked the store salesman he said to use it within 24 hours, but the quantity is too much!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 3:16 pm | # |

      When the rice cake is still soft and fresh, freeze it. You can keep it for about 1 month in the freezer. When you use it, thaw it out at room temperature. The rice cake will turn soft again.

  10. lidiyaad MN My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted January 15th, 2016 at 6:55 pm | # |

    Hi Maagchi!

    Do you have any suggestions for alternative to Microwave? I don’t like to use Microwave. Thanks!

  11. PizzaPockets My profile page joined 1/16
    Posted January 9th, 2016 at 6:06 pm | # |

    The first time I made this I used the microwave method andassume I severly overcooked it because it was extremely tough and the edges crunchy. Has anyone else had this problem? Next time I will try steaming it instead :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 10th, 2016 at 12:11 pm | # |

      Good luck with making good garaetteok. Steaming sounds good!

      • PizzaPockets My profile page joined 1/16
        Posted January 11th, 2016 at 8:31 pm | # |

        Thank you! I made it again last night (with the steamer) and it turned out muuuch better. They were a bit tougher than I’m used to. Do you think it’s because I smashed it too much with my pestle?(I think your recipe says the more you smash it the chewier it gets.)

        Thank you again for your help and recipe :)

  12. chipcon My profile page joined 12/15
    Posted December 28th, 2015 at 8:33 am | # |

    I have just tried to do it and it works. I made the flour by rice. Its good just it not so solf and smooth like yours.

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 28th, 2015 at 9:22 am | # |

      I can see your hard work to make such gorgeous looking garaetteok!
      If you make it again, pound the rice cake dough a little more, then the rice cake will look smoother and taste chewier.

  13. rocknchick Rockford, IL My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted September 11th, 2015 at 2:08 pm | # |

    What kind of pestle is best to use for making the dough? Plastic? Wood? Porcelain? Stainless Steel? Stone? I don’t have one and am lost in the options available. Are some more heavy duty, rather than for crushing herbs and grains?

  14. arceljean My profile page joined 8/15
    Posted August 27th, 2015 at 12:08 am | # |

    Hello, Maangchi-ssi~~ I am from the Philippines and it is so hard to look for specific products that you use. So, I kindly asked my student (because I am an online teacher for Koreans. kkk) to maybe send me some rice flour. But my student sent me some rice powder instead. kkk. Would it still work out when I make rice cake using this powder? I attached a picture of the powder. Please help, Maangchi-ssi~ :)

  15. chillichin My profile page joined 8/15
    Posted August 10th, 2015 at 10:14 am | # |

    hello maangchi, i have tried this recipe and i failed twice.. and at that time i was using the microwave, because i dont have any parchment paper to cook it with a steamer.. is it okay to cook without the parchment paper? if i only cook it in a steamer with a plate?

  16. luckyme My profile page joined 6/15
    Posted June 9th, 2015 at 2:44 am | # |

    hi maangchi. i tried doing this recipe several times and i failed. the outcome is the rice cake is soft on the outside but the inside is hard and is not cooked . what did i do wrong

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 9th, 2015 at 12:37 pm | # |

      hmm, I don’t know, but it sounds like the dough was not mixed well and a little uncooked. How about adding more water to the dough and pound it longer. You need to pound it when it’s still hot. Don’t give up!

      • luckyme My profile page joined 6/15
        Posted June 16th, 2015 at 3:46 am | # |

        tried it again and nope, it still doesnt work. erm, the outcome is that the inside is still raw.

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