Rice cake

Gyeongdan 경단

Rice cake is very familiar food for Koreans. Whenever special occasions come, the first thing my mother and grand mother planned was to make rice cake. However these days people are more likely to buy rice cake than make their own. I am going to make gyeongdan, rice cake balls and show you it can be a good gift.


Step 1:
Make red bean paste

  1. In a pot, place 1 cup of washed red beans and 4 cups of water and heat it over high heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat to low medium and simmer for 50 minutes.
  3. Check if the beans are cooked fully. Remove extra water from the beans and crush them with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add 1 cup of brown sugar, ¼-½ ts of kosher salt, 1 ts of cinnamon powder into the red bean paste and set it aside.

Step 2:
Prepare 3 bowls where 3 different kinds of powder will be placed for the rice cake balls

  1. Black sesame seeds:
    • Rinse and drain ½ cup of black sesame seeds in running water using a strainer.
    • Heat a pan over medium heat and pour in the sesame seeds.
    • Cook the sesame seeds by stirring with a wooden spoon.
    • The sesame seeds will pop, then lower the heat and keep stirring until they are crispy. (5- 10 minutes)
    • When the sesame seeds cool down, grind them with a coffee grinder.
    • Transfer the sesame seeds powder to a bowl and add 2 tbs sugar and a pinch of salt and mix it.
  2. Put ½ cup of toasted soybean powder (kong gaa ru in Korean) in a bowl and add 2
    tbs of sugar and a pinch of salt and mix it.
  3. Put ½ cup of mugwort powder (ssook gaa ru in Korean) in a bowl and add 2
    tbs of sugar and a pinch of salt and mix it

Step 3:
Make rice cake dough.

  1. In a bowl, place 2 cups of sweet rice powder, 2 tbs of sugar, ½ ts of kosher salt.
  2. Pour 1 cup of hot boiling water little by little while you are mixing it with a spoon
  3. Mix the dough by hand.
    *tips: if you feel the dough is too wet, add some plain flour
  4. Put the rice cake dough into a plastic bag and set it aside

Step 4:
In a big pot, place a lot of water and boil it

Let’s make rice cake!

  1. Take the rice cake dough out from the plastic bag and place it on the cutting board.
    Tip: To protect the dough from being stuck to the board, sprinkle some plain flour before placing the rich cake dough.
  2. Divide the dough into 2 and roll each one to make cylinder shape and cut it into 18-20 pieces.
  3. Roll each piece of rice dough with your hands and make a hole in the middle of the ball with your thumb. Then turn the ball into a cup.
  4. Put the bean paste into the middle.
  5. Close it tightly and place it on a plate.
    Tip: While you are making rice balls, the rest of dough may get dried, so cover them with wet cloth or paper towel.
  6. Carefully put all the rice cake balls into boiling water. When the rice cake balls are cooked, they float. It will take about 3 -5 minutes until they float.
  7. Prepare lots of cold water in a big bowl.
  8. Put the cooked rice balls into cold water and drain them.
  9. Roll the cooked rice balls in the 3 different colors of powder and transfer them to a plate.

Enjoy it!


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  1. ciravan& has 7 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    Thank you for greate recipe, I have been in Korean store and buy many ingredients. I plan to cook few kind of menu follow you website recipe. Thank again for all great recipes. Since I find you website, I’m very happy and visit your website very often to learn how to cook different kind korean food ;)
    May I ask few questions, about this recipe. In order to save time, 1) Can we use canned red bean such as red bean shelled (haricot) brand name Wang (wangfood company), as a short cut? It look like canned sweet red bean that can put on top of dessert, that sell in korean store. 2) can we do the rice ball (which already put red bean inside, and keep frozen, and,… later on when we want to eat, we only take out from freezer, boil them up, and roll them in the roasted soy bean powder, and other powder? If so, I can cook more and keep some for next time to enjoy.
    Thank again for all great recipes ;)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Hi, thank you for your interest in my recipes!

      ok, my answer:

      1: I have never used the canned sweet beans, so I don’t know whether or not it is suitable for this recipe. The paste for filling should be thick.

      2: hmmm! This morning you make me think a lot! : ) It’s a very interesting idea,but I am not sure about the result for the same reason.

  2. I made gyungdan just a few minutes ago! tasted nice. im giving it to my friend tomorrow. so will it be ok if i store it in the freezer and thaw it in the morning which i will then pass to her in the afternoon?

  3. Dominique Echard& has 36 comments

    Made Gyungdan last night with ingredients I already had on hand. It was very challenging and required a lot of patience, but they came out well. I had green bean paste to which I added the cinnamon (it was tasty on it’s own.) For the topping I made some black sesame powder as in the recipe. But since I couldn’t find the mugwort or toasted soybean powder I used some finely shredded coconut I had in my pantry. Of course I toasted it for a pretty color and extra flavor.
    My boyfriend said the sesame ones tasted like peanuts! They were really good.
    I saved 14 of them (7 of each color) for a friend who is turning 28 today. She works in a bakery and so I thought she may be tired of cake. And what better way to test recipes than to make them for everyone to share? I hope she likes them and thanks so much for the recipe, Maangchi!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      wow, you made gyungdan and vegetable pancake (jeon) last night! congratulation on your successful Korean cooking! I’m sure your friend will be impressed with your beautiful gyungdan! Please tell your friend happy birthday for me!

  4. Can i use Red Mung Bean Or Green Mung Bean Instead Of Red Beans
    Or any Other Bean

  5. My friend from Korea told me of songpyeon and these types of riceballs! I am so glad to see thie and I hope to make them maybe with different powders so that they can be bright and colorful! I was hoping that maybe you could show people how to make tteok I think it would be great and I read about a restraunt with kimchi flavored tteok! Thank you for your site Maangchi it is really useful for me because I love to cook Korean as well as Vietnamese dishes. I don’t know if we have any Korean markets here but I know that Welcome (it is an asian food market in Houston) sells red beans which I love. Red bean deserts are some of the best in the world that and pistachio ice cream!

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I love anything sweet rice flour. I had eaten this type of recipe in the Thai rest. they called it sesame mochi it was really good because it was deep fried. I am a health concious, so the way u cook this is a lot better on our health. Thank again.

  7. Maangchi, you are the best!!!

  8. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    yes, I know how to make it. Sure I will include it in the list of my upcoming video recipes. Thanks,

  9. Do you have the recipe for rice cake doughnuts also known as Chop Saul doughnuts? If so could you put it on youtube and on your website.

  10. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    thank you! here is the link.

    Get the book 1 plus book 2. For some reason, it’s on sale on amazon.com

  11. What a great recipe. You make it look so easy.
    BTW, How can I buy your cookbook?
    Thanks again

  12. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    I’m copying and pasting the answer I made to someone else a while ago about the same question.

    “The leftover gyungdan should be kept in the freezer. When you feel like eating it, reheat it using microwave oven.
    When very fresh rice cake is kept in the freezer, you don’t even have to reheat it. Just thaw it at room temperature.

    The gyung dan I made for the cooking video was kept in my freezer right after I made it. Next day, I took it out from the freezer and place it at room temperature for hours until it became soft. I gave it to my friend’s daughter.”

  13. Hi Maangchi,

    I was wondering how long does this rice cake last and should it be kept in the refrigerator? Looks YUMMY!

  14. Hello! First – thank you for this recipe. My daughter’s Tol celebration is coming up and we wanted to include some traditional foods for the celebration.

    My mother and I made the rice cakes according to the recipe, but the dough did not seem to be cooked all the way through. The cakes did float to the top, but they are chewy — which seems strange to people like us who are used to Polish cooking ;-). Does it sound to you as though the cakes were cooked long enough? Should they be chewy?

  15. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Yes, you can use any type of beans to make the filling.
    Let me know how it turns out
    thank you!

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