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.

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, kosher 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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292 Comments:

  1. annabanana Vancouver, Canada joined 2/09 & has 68 comments

    Maangchi,
    I just realized my steamer is half the size of your’s – it only holds about 5 cups of water. Do I just steam it for 15 minutes then add another 5 cups and steam for another 15 minutes plus 5 minutes on low?
    Thanks,
    Anna

  2. 5 dried cranberries , few pine nuts , dried apricot . Are there any substitutes i can use ?

  3. dongoc joined 1/09 & has 1 comment

    Good morning Maangchi,

    I have 3 questions:

    1) Why the brown and white layers you use 4tsp water for 1 cup of flour? But the other layers you use 2 tsp water for 1 cup and a half of flour?

    2)If I want my cake is more sweet, can I add some more sugar? I’m afraid more sugar might change the texture of the cake.

    3) Why my cake turn out so dense? it was not fluffy as yours. Thanks.

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

      Hi,
      Here are my answers:
      1) Why the brown and white layers you use 4tsp water for 1 cup of flour? But the other layers you use 2 tsp water for 1 cup and a half of flour?

      1 cup rice flour (brown layer and white layer): 4 tsp
      1.5 cup rice flour (the other layers): 2 tbs (6 tsp)

      2)If I want my cake is more sweet, can I add some more sugar? I’m afraid more sugar might change the texture of the cake.

      Yes, you can add more sugar, no problem

      3) Why my cake turn out so dense? it was not fluffy as yours.

      Sift the rice flour as I did even though it will be hard, then you will have fluffy rice cake.

      I hope your next batch of mujigaeddeok turns out great!

  4. Korea.net Seoul, Korea joined 2/10 & has 1 comment

    Korea.net is the official website of the Rep. of Korea. For our “Blogging on Korea” section on our webpage, we pick nice and appropriate blog posts and introduce them to our visitors.

    Any blog posts related to Korea (Korean food, life in Korea, people, festival ..etc), we read thoroughly and feature it on our web for a couple of days.

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  5. yashi London, UK joined 2/10 & has 5 comments

    안녕하세요 Maangchi 언니!
    I discovered your precious website last year and it has been an absolute treasure! ^^ I regularly make kimchi now! Can’t live without it hehe ^^
    Just a question about the texture of the frozen rice flour. I tried to make some of the flour yesterday and when i ground it, the texture is very very fine tiny grains. Is it supposed to be completely powdered or is it alright like that?
    This is such a beautiful cake, can’t wait to try it!:)
    Thank you very much! ^_^

  6. strawberry92 Italy joined 1/10 & has 4 comments

    is glutinous rice flour ok too?
    because today i bought it thinking it was the right one ;_;

  7. MinhT Michigan joined 7/09 & has 2 comments

    Hey Maangchi! I had my aunt buy me some tteok from CA when she visited, when I tried it…It was not sweet. Then after, you posted this video and I saw that no sugar is added. If I want to make it sweet is it OK to add sugar? Would I have to lessen the water I use then? Thank you a lot. :)

  8. trxmelissa Singapore joined 1/10 & has 2 comments

    hi maangchi,
    i really like your receipes alot. may i know if it is okay for me to freeze normal rice flour to get frozen rice flour? i can’t seem to find forzen ones in singapore.
    thanks alot.

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

      Hi, I’m copying and pasting my answer made for another reader a few days ago.

      “You have to use rice flour which is soaked overnight and ground finely. Normal rice flour (dried)won’t be cooked properly even though you steam it for hours and hours.

      The package of frozen rice flour sold at a Korean grocery store in North America is pre-soaked and ground.The rice flour is wet, so it has to be kept in the freezer. Otherwise it will go bad easily.

      So if you want, make your own wet rice flour! “

  9. grace_3a07 joined 1/10 & has 2 comments

    Hello Maangchi
    I was just wondering, since they do not sell the pre frozen rice flour in Australia:S, is a nut grinder okay to grind the rice with? Coffee grinders are just so expensive! Or should I try with a food processor?:S
    Haha i tried making with just rice flour but it didnt turn out well, but must keep trying! I hope to make one just like yours:D

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

      I can’t give you the right answer because I have never tried home made rice flour, but that’s the way of making rice flour to make rice cake. Whatever you use, the soaked rice should be ground very finely.

  10. wan Singapore joined 1/10 & has 7 comments

    Wow the cake looks very fluffy- I would like to try make it for my mother-in-law’s birthday.
    Is this the same as pakseolgi?
    I saw on KBS how the ladies dried persimmon skin, ground it to a fine powder then layer it between layers of rice flour before steaming. But that rice cake looked chewy, not fluffy- were they making pakseolgi instead of dduk?

  11. Hey Maangchi i love your show. I was wondering if it would be alright to use rice flour instead of frozen rice flour? Would it make a difference?

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

      no, right ingredients are very important to make rice cake. You have to use rice flour which is soaked overnight and ground finely. Normal rice flour (dried)won’t be cooked properly even though you steam it for hours and hours.

      The package of frozen rice flour sold at a Korean grocery store in North America is pre-soaked and ground.The rice flour is wet, so it has to be kept in the freezer. Otherwise it will go bad easily.

      So if you want, make your own wet rice flour!

  12. 동영상만 보더라도 쉽게 요리를 할수 있을것 같아요 거창하지 않으면서도 먹음직스런
    무지개떡.. 집에서 떡을 만든다는게 부담스러웠는데 저도 한번 도전해 보려해요
    영어는 못하지만 앞으로 종종 방문해서 배워야 겠어요 감사해요

  13. I followed your recipe and it looked exactly like yours before steaming it. Right after I steamed it, it was really flat (~1/2 inch), hard, and chewy (not fluffy at all). Any ideas on what happened?

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

      Maybe the rice flour was too wet?

    • Cheonyong Indonesia joined 4/11 & has 28 comments

      I found the problem of this maangchi….
      May I excuse me to answer this…
      umm…
      dear yunie…
      maybe you used the sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour..
      I have mistaken made this cake using sweet rice flour and the result is the cake comes out flat, the sponge went off, the cake is really flat and unbelieveably chewy….
      you should try using Frozen Rice Flour or make your own rice flour…
      thank you..
      I’m sorry If I was so rude to answer this question mangchi, but I foun out many people misjudged Frozen rice flour as Sweet rice flour or frozen sweet rice flour…

  14. eileen& has 2 comments

    hi,can i replace steamer with oven???? can rite ..i think

  15. Hello Maangchi, I was wondering if I don’t eat all the cake how do I store it for later? In the refrigerator or in a glass cake case to keep it fresh?

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