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. yeaitsmesam SC, USA joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    Not sure I can find any of these powders, anyone have good alternatives? I’m making this for an international food festival at college, so ideas would be greatly appreciated :)

  2. Charmaine Singapore joined 6/11 & has 18 comments

    Hello! Erm, can I make the dough the night before, and put it in the refrigerator ?

  3. Hyunjin joined 5/11 & has 3 comments

    Ummm……if I run out of anko, but have some brown sugar from this package of Hoddeouk I bought. Is it alright if I use that? My mom says it’s the same thing as those small roundish ddeok things with that sweet juicy stuff and sesame seeds inside. Is it?

    Oh, and when making songpyeon, can we use sweet rice flour instead of normal rice flour?

  4. oksipak California joined 1/11 & has 72 comments

    My favorite is the Natto coated rice cakes. Just made these and they are great when warm and I’m going to have them for a evening snack tonight. I used to buy these in the Asian stores but no longer because of Maangchi’s fantastic recipes. I have left-over sweet red bean mixture so a 2nd batch is in order this week. :) April 10, 2011.

  5. aroco017 joined 3/11 & has 4 comments

    Thanks for the great recipe! I love your website. I am new living in Korea and have just attempted to make this recipe (I adapted it a little). But feel free to check it out – http://www.farmeggs.wordpress.com
    Hope you have a great day!

  6. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    I made this today. I tasted rice cake desserts in Korea and didn’t really enjoy them that much. This recipe: blew my mind! The recipe was perfect in every way (though heed Maanchi’s advice and use the quantities of water in the written recipe not the video). I didn’t need to use any extra flour – the dough was perfect. The bean paste filling was incredible, and the sesame powder is so rich and uplifting. This is a dessert made in Heaven! Maangchi – you have completely converted me now – the only thing outside of Korean food that I thought was better was puddings; no longer. This is the best pudding I have ever eaten! It is so rich I can only eat one! Here is a photo of the ones I made. Note: I roasted and powdered black and white sesame seeds for the two colors as I didn’t have time to go to the Korean Grocery.

  7. Hi! I tried this today and I don’t think I did all that right :( I got up to the draining right but during the rolling, I had ground cinnamon, brown sugar, and regular sugar mixed together. Somehow it rolled nicely, but the color turned darker brown and some of the coating started to slip off when i tried to move them from their places. It won’t let me post a picture here but I have one I’d like to show you and maybe you could help me?? thanks! gamsahapnida!!

  8. amythecarr Seoul, South Korea joined 10/10 & has 5 comments

    I made these today and they turned out well! I just started a new job in Seoul and I want to give rice cakes to my co-workers like the Korean Tradition. I experimented with new fillings because I want to “personalize” them so I made peanut butter filled and choclolate filled rice cakes. The peanut ones were perfect (I rolled them in blended peanuts) but the chocolate ones need work… the chocolate likes to leak out/the were a big soggy. Thanks for the recipe and video!

  9. hellohello california joined 10/10 & has 1 comment

    thanks for this recipe! i have a question… how long can this last once it is made? meaning if i make, can i just store it in room temperature for a couple of days? or does it have to be eaten right away?

    i wanted to make some & send it to a friend but i don’t know if it will still be good by then.

    • oksipak California joined 1/11 & has 72 comments

      They are too good to last more than a week. Actually, since this is a very freshly made dessert, in my opinion, these do not last more than a week. I was so mad and sad that I had mold on the last two pieces which were sitting on my kitchen counter at the tail end of the week (my stupid assumption that the rice cakes would wait for me).

      So my advice, just eat them. Maybe they would have lasted longer in the fridge but even the ones I used to purchase in the Asian stores ages ago, I never kept them in the fridge. I truly believe they are meant to be eaten fresh and fast.

      As I’m writing this I have some red beans cooking in the pot for some more delicious rice cakes. I just love these sweets but this time, I’m going to eat them quickly…so if I make 18 pieces, that would be 2.57 pieces per day. I have no problem with that. ;)

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

        ” I had mold on the last two pieces..” omg, you lost such precious stuff! : ) Yeah once you make it, eat or give it to someone asap. It will be getting easier when you make it over and over again. You will become queen of gyeongdan! lol

  10. hbanana Seoul, South Korea joined 9/10 & has 1 comment

    Wow! You make it look so easy! I can’t wait to try this out! My coworkers flipped out when I made kimchijeon so I’m sure they wouldn’t believe I could make something like this. I will email pictures when it’s completed. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. done France joined 8/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi from France! Thank you for this recipe! :)
    I really wanted to try it, and today was the day.
    I’ll send you a picture of it!

    Well, I think I’ve made mistakes when converting the weight of the ingredients, because I ended with more than half of everything (coatings & red beans paste!), and I made around 25 rice balls…
    Unfortunately, the red beans weren’t fully cooked, so there were still beans in the paste… However, I tried to crushed them, and added some water (not a lot) because it wasn’t like a paste and too dry… Bad idea, the flavor of the red beans became too weak…
    I replaced the mugwort powder with white sesame seeds (made like the black ones).
    Finally, it wasn’t that bad and we enjoy it with some tea, with my family!

    Well, I have a question : after rolling my rice ball in the coatings, a few minutes later, the humidity of the rice ball will make it look wet… (don’t know how to explain it…). Is it still good?
    And how many days can I keep it (if not frozen)?

    Thank you for your recipe!

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

      Any type of rice cake gets hard in several hours after it is made. Keep the leftover rice cake in the freezer. When you eat it later, you can thaw it out at room temperature, reheat it in the microwave oven, or steam it again.

  12. Marija joined 7/10 & has 1 comment

    thank you for the recipe.
    I was searching for japanese mochi recipes and a lot of them used microwave. I don’t use these appliances, so I was very happy to find your way of making gyungdan.
    I also enjoyed the music in this video. Can you tell the title ?

    I wish you a lucky day

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

      Thank you, Marija,
      Actually at the top of every recipe page, all basic information about the recipe including the music is posted.
      I’m copying and pasting it for you here.

      Rice cake / 경단 / Gyungdan (or kyung dan, gyung dan, kyungdan)
      Music: ‘Kayagum Sanjo Kutkori’ by Shim Sang Gun
      Watch on YouTube (122,402 views) | Download podcast | go to iTunes
      Categories: dessert, non spicy, ricecake, snack, vegetarian

  13. parinaz joined 6/10 & has 2 comments

    hi again i have to correct one thing i meant jinseng rice cake ! thanks again

  14. parinaz joined 6/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi dear Maangchi
    i made Gyungdan now and i want to tell you i have never tasted something delicious like this gyungdan. i wanted to thank you so much for this recepie and i want to ask about two things first can we frize the left past for the next time and second do you know the recepie of making jinseg rice cake ,too ?
    thanks again

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

      sorry about the late reply. I just see your post now. “I have never tasted something delicious like this gyungdan” Wow, I’m very happy to hear that!

      I think you can freeze it when it’s still soft. Ginseng rice cake? I don’t know the recipe.

  15. lindsey.kim joined 6/10 & has 10 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I read in one of the comments that one of the main ingredients is rice flour or sweet rice flour…so would it be okay if I use rice flour in this recipe instead of sweet rice flour?

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