Rainbow rice cake

Mujigae-tteok 무지개떡

I’m going to introduce a beautiful Korean rice cake today. It’s called mujigae-tteok (무지개떡). Mujigae means rainbow, so my ancestors must have got the idea for the name from a rainbow! I love it! This is an example of how they incorporated natural beauty into their everyday life. Even though the name of the rice cake is “rainbow rice cake,” it is usually made with only 3-5 different colored layers. That’s why this rice cake is sometimes called “colorful rice cake” (색떡, saektteok).

In this recipe, I am using 5 different colors from bottom to top: brown, green, yellow, pink, and white.

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This rice cake is made on special occasions like a baby’s 1 year old birthday, or a wedding. As you see in this video, making this rice cake takes a lot of effort and time, even though the ingredients are comparatively simple. However, if you make this rice cake for someone very special in your life, you wouldn’t care much about time and effort. : ) You may wish this while you’re rubbing the rice flour with your palms:

“I wish my baby becomes healthy, smart, and a good, warm-hearted person!”

“I wish my parents have healthy and long life!”

“To show my love for my lovely husband (or wife) !”

Leave a comment and let me know what you wish when you make this!

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 steam more or less, depending on how dry or wet your short grain rice flour is.

Cooking time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

A 2 pound package of frozen rice flour (or make it at home), sugar, salt, water, liquid food coloring (green, pink, and yellow), lemon, mugwort powder (ssukgaru 쑥가루), cocoa powder.

Cooking utensils:
Steamer, sifter, 8 inch (20 cm) ring or springform.

Directions

  1. Thaw out frozen rice flour package and put it into a large bowl.
  2. Sift the rice flour.
  3. Add 10 cups of water in the bottom of a steamer, and place a wet cloth over the rack.
  4. Place the 8 inch cake ring in the center of the rack.
    whitericefloursifting

Brown layer (the bottom layer):

  1. Place 1 cup of rice flour in a medium sized bowl. Add 1 ts cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, 2 tbs of white sugar, and 4 ts of water.
  2. Mix it all up and press out any wet lumps by rubbing the lumps gently between your palms.
  3. Put the mixture into a sifter and sift into the center of the ring.
  4. Flatten out the mixture so it sits level in the ring.
    *tip: a business card works wellcocopowder
    brown

Green layer:

  1. Place 1½ cup of rice flour in a medium sized bowl. Add a pinch of salt, 2 tbs sugar, and 1 ts mugwort powder (ssukgaru).
    *tip: you can replace mugwort powder with green tea powdermugwortpackage
    mugwortpowder1
  2. Put 2 tbs of water and 1 drop of green liquid food coloring into a small bowl and mix well.
    *tip: Use a chopstick to get a very little amount of the food coloring
  3. Add the green water to the rice cake mixture and mix it all up. Press out any wet lumps by rubbing the lumps gently between your palms.
  4. Put the mixture into a sifter and sift into the center of the ring.
  5. Flatten out the mixture so it sits level in the ring.

Yellow layer:

  1. Place 1½ cup of rice flour in a medium sized bowl. Add a pinch of salt and 2 tbs sugar.
  2. Put 1tbs lemon juice, 1 tbs water, and 1 drop of yellow liquid food coloring into a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the yellow water to the rice cake mixture and mix it all up. Press out any wet lumps by rubbing the lumps gently between your palms.
  4. Put the mixture into a sifter and sift into the center of the ring.
  5. Flatten out the mixture so it sits level in the ring.greenandyellow

Pink layer:

  1. Place 1½ cup of rice flour in a medium sized bowl. Add a pinch of salt and 2 tbs sugar.
  2. Put 2 tbs water and 1 drop of hot pink (fuchsia) liquid food coloring into a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the pink water to the rice cake mixture and mix it all up. Press out any wet lumps by rubbing the lumps gently between your palms.
  4. Put the mixture into a sifter and sift into the center of the ring.
  5. Flatten out the mixture so it sits level in the ring.yellowandpink

White layer (the top layer):

  1. Place 1 cup of rice flour in a medium sized bowl. Add a pinch of salt, 2 tbs white sugar, and 4 ts water.
  2. Mix it up and press out any wet lumps by rubbing the lumps gently between your palms.
  3. Put the mixture into a sifter and sift into the center of the ring.
  4. Flatten out the mixture so it sits level in the ring.

Now let’s garnish!

decoration

  1. On the top of the cake place 5 dried cranberries to make flower petals. Put a few pine nuts in the center.
  2. Cut a dried apricot into a thin strip, and place it as a flower stem.beforesteaming

Finally, let’s steam it:

  1. Close the lid of the steamer and bring to a boil for 30 minutes over high heat.
  2. Turn down the heat and simmer another 5 minutes.
  3. Take out the rice cake and let it cool down. Serve with tea or coffee.done!
    colorfulpieceofmujigaeddueok

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287 Comments:

  1. Abigail& has 16 comments

    hi maangchi,
    i so want to make this for nieces. but i was wondering, do i have to use the mugwort? or can i just use food flavoring with color, McCormic has food coloring+flavor… like strawberry pink, lemon yellow…etc…

  2. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    It is beautiful!!
    Normally, I would never think of changing a recipe, but I am in a Christmas mood. I am wondering if it would be ok to layer green, white and maybe you could think of a red layer for Christmas colors. Maybe make the lemon layer a gold color and the pink layer red and leave all the flavors the same. Or make a red layer with cranberry juice and red food color.

    One of the most fun things about your web site is finding out how to use all these great ingredients. I will buy rice flour now and play with it.

  3. Karen& has 4 comments

    i wanted to ask how long did it took you?? O.O ~IT SOO FLUFFY!~ ahhhh…XD

  4. Amber& has 36 comments

    I am excited about this new recipe. My baby will be 1 year old in Feb. I am going to practice making it, so for her birthday it will be good!Wish me luck!

  5. Anonymous& has 2,271 comments

    woooow! The ddeok looks soooo yummy and colorful! I’m definitely going to make this for my house warming party! My closing date is on the 13th :) I’m gonna send you pics when I make it Maangchi!!! Where did you buy that big roll of cellophane from?

  6. Ken& has 6 comments

    I think I’ll make this for my 할머니.

    I liked how you added flavor to the different layers. When I eat store-bought rainbow dduk I always wonder why each color tastes the same. Adding some natural cherry to the pink colored layer sounds good. :)

  7. Eleana& has 2,271 comments

    Hi Maangchi!

    This rice cake looks very beautiful! It’s very colorful :]

  8. Helena& has 3 comments

    how long will this last? do you need to keep it at room temperature after making it?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,724 comments

      It will still be fluffy up to about 8 hours. Keep it in the freezer when it’s still fluffy, and thaw it out at room temperature when you eat it later. Or reheat it with micro wave oven or steam it again before serving.

  9. Cam& has 9 comments

    Wow! looks amazing :D
    my best friend got engaged a little while ago, i’m definitly making this for a delayed congratulations gift.
    haha, the recipe looks a little labour intensive *sift sift sift* but its so colourful and fluffy looking (almost looks like multi-colour couscous in the close up) that i absolutely -have- to make it.

    thanks for another great recipe Maangchi! you have a wonderful site :)

  10. tami& has 2 comments

    hi maangchi !i can not to buy a brozen rice floure .can i get dry rice floure put in the brigde and then take out to do this cake .is that ok or not .i waiting to here from you .thanks you for your post a new recipe love you

  11. hazel& has 2,271 comments

    WOW! that is so beautiful! i was holding my breath because i was amazed at its prettiness 8)!!

    i shall make this cake at new year’s! thanks for sharing the recipe maangchi! and as for the decorations on the top, what other things can we use besides the one listed in your recipe? or are those the traditional ingredients used to decorate the cake? :)

  12. Felix& has 2,271 comments

    Hi Maangchi!! I loved this rice cake when I was young…! :D it’s been a while since Ive had it…Tmrw, first thing im gonna do is go to the Korean Grocery store and make this! Thanks~ ;)

  13. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 2,271 comments

    Magnificent! This will brighten up every special occasion.

  14. Tuty& has 14 comments

    Maangchi,

    Your cake looks so divine.. gluten free and egg/dairy free… wow, I am so amazed.
    Now I know what to bring to a Korean gathering :-)

    One question, can I use a rough sieve instead of the rotary one? Will the regular sieve change the texture of the cake?

  15. Nuoo& has 1 comment

    i have used regular rice flour for sesame seed balls with red bean paste inside, is the dough supposed to be gooey? can i make it fluffy like this recipe?

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