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. SAJMALG_ Saudi Arabia joined 2/13 & has 2 comments

    i want to try it .. but i have question can use my own flour ?

  2. Renana israel joined 2/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!!!
    first of all i have to say that i absolutely lovvvvvvveee your site!!!and your videos! they’re so fun and cheery!!!and its seems like you’re really putting you heart into it!
    so thank you for that=]
    and second…i really want to make this cake to my brother’s birthday today and its really important too ,cause we had an awful fight!so that’s my way to apologize=](and also its one of the few recipes i can make…see i eat only kosher food!=] but i’m finding my own ways to try them=])
    but i don’t have that big of a steamer like yours…there’s maybe another way to do this awesome cake without a steamer??

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      “we had an awful fight!so that’s my way to apologize..” cute~ : )
      I think you need a steamer to steam the rice cake. You can use a small bamboo steamer, too.

      • mokpochica Michigan joined 1/09 & has 89 comments

        I use the steamer basket that came with my rice cooker to make mujigae ddeok. I steam it right in the rice cooker and it works great. I just cover the bottom of the plastic steamer insert with a paper towel cut in a circle–I do this because it has holes in it. I can’t make the cake quite as tall as I might if I had a better steamer, but it works.

  3. slice79 joined 11/08 & has 4 comments

    Maangchi.. I bought frozen rice flour from a different korean store today. I’ve made this dduk before but with a rice flour that had no salt. This one has ingredients listed as: Flour, Water, Salt. Will the dduk turn out salty or do you think I can use it? You commented to someone else to use one without salt so I wasn’t sure if it’s worth the time to try it. If this is not the right rice flour, what can I do with it? Also, Do you think I can make this in a steamer that fits on top of a pot? Before I borrow my Emo’s huge steamer like the one in your video, but I was wondering if I could just fill the steamer basket that came with one of my pots. I know that all the holes are covered then so i was just wondering if you’ve ever tried it.

  4. jlove212 United States joined 11/12 & has 2 comments

    i made this for my korean project but instead of food coloring i used natural ingredients it was really good. i also used eun heng and dae chu for the topping

  5. alsk20 home joined 12/12 & has 1 comment

    I don’t have a steamer is there a way to make this without one?

  6. ferynn Puebla, Mexico joined 12/12 & has 1 comment

    hi!! do you know how to make sweet rice flour??… because where I live flour is more expensive and harder to get than sweet rice itself…. btw, I loved your cake and I’m planning to make it for my mom’s bday :)

  7. FuseShinHwo Madrid joined 11/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi ^^
    I’m from spain and i’ve tried multiple times mujigae ddeok when I was in South Korea but now i’m back to spain, I really miss it but thanks to your recipe i’m going to start making it for myself when I have some free time. Thank you a lot.

  8. jirenn Philippines joined 10/12 & has 1 comment

    can i use sticky rice ?

  9. aayakaa Australia joined 8/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, thanks for the recipe :]
    I tried making the cake with my mum today. The cake turned out pretty and colorful, but I think there was some problem with the texture as it wasn’t fluffy at all. It turned out sticky, chewy and dry and we couldn’t figure out why it turned out like that. The rice flour my mum got was from the korean store in the frozen section after asking the lady at the counter and used a regular manual sifter.

    What might be some reasons for this? Thanks a lot for your help ^^

  10. foofoo new york joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi there…..
    I successfully made this for my bf’s bday today. I uploaded the picture so pls take a lookk. after reading the comments n realize how important sifting is. i spentnt a lot of arm muscle to shake the sifter since mine was broken :-(((((….but it turned out welll…Thank u so much…ur awesome

  11. Fujia GERMANY joined 7/12 & has 10 comments

    I like to do this cake but I can’t find the frozen rice flour. Now I’m desperate! Can I try with another flour or will be a mistake?
    Thank you very much, Maamgchi.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      You need rice flour to make rice cake. You could make your own rice flour to make this rice cake.Soak short grain rice overnight, drain, and grind it finely with a grinder.

      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. SAM134 Illinois, USA joined 1/12 & has 7 comments

    Hello, Maangchi. Well, I finally got the chance to make the ,mujigae ddeok today and I failed, lol. So now, I have some questions. When I first started to make the cocoa layer, I used 4tsp and that turned out to be way too much water, it actually turned into dough. So I halved everything and that was still too much water. When I would rub the flour together they would form so many clumps, while I was trying to break them up and then when I would try to sift it the flour would get worse and turn into dough. I wasted so much flour because it could not be sifted, therefor my cake only turned out about 1-in to 1.5 in in height. Also the center of the cake was chewy like the chapseolddeok after you microwave it, but the edges were dry and chewy. I can only think that my mistake was taking the flour right out of the refrigerator and using it. I left it in there over night and it defrosted, but was I supposed to bring it to room temp before using it? I took pictures of everything, so I can show you what I mean. Please let me know if I was supposed to bring it to room temp before sifting and if that isn’t it, then should I just put in a quarter everything the next time I make it?? I used a cheesecloth and when I lifted it from the steamer the bottom was very soggy. How far from the bottom pan of the steamer was I supposed to be keep it? I just put my pan right on top of the bottom pot of boiling water…was it too close? Sorry for the long post, but I would really like to know what I did wrong so that I can fix it. Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      oh my, you must have been so frustrated! There are 2 types of frozen rice flour : Short grain rice flour and sweet rice flour. You need short grain rice flour for this recipe. I hope you got right one. https://www.maangchi.com/ingredients/frozen-rice-flour

      “When I would rub the flour together they would form so many clumps, ..” It sounds like the rice flour is already wet? I don’t know the answer without seeing it. It shouldn’t be too wet. I usually thaw it out in the fridge because the rice flour goes bad easily at room temperature during the defrost

  13. SAM134 Illinois, USA joined 1/12 & has 7 comments

    The frozen rice powder I have here in the Korean store says it has “No Salt”..is that the powder that I need to use? There is a sweet and non sweet version and they both say “No Salt”. Please let me know before I buy it, thanks so much!

    • Cheonyong Indonesia joined 4/11 & has 28 comments

      excuse me, I want to clear this misunderstanding up…
      maangchi say it’s soaked, not salted.
      so, any regular frozen (not sweet) rice flour is ok!
      :)

      • SAM134 Illinois, USA joined 1/12 & has 7 comments

        There was no misunderstanding, I know what Maangchi said about the rice flour being “soaked”….but since I have never bought any rice flour before I did not know there were different kinds (sweet & non-sweet)….I just wanted to make sure that “No Salt” was the way to go. When you have to print, in large letters, that something has “No Salt” in it…it makes you wonder if there is another kind WITH salt. It is the same thing as “Low-Salt” or “No Salt Added” or “Fat-Free’. But thank you for clearing it up ;-)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      Yes, I used unsalted rice flour. So follow the recipe.

  14. SAM134 Illinois, USA joined 1/12 & has 7 comments

    I have another question…I see that you did not boil the water before putting your rice cake on the top layer. So are we cooking it for 30 minutes AFTER the water starts boil or do we start the stove then end in 30 minutes??

  15. SAM134 Illinois, USA joined 1/12 & has 7 comments

    안녕하세요 Maangchi! I just want to say that the recipes I have made from your site have been great and they are turning out wonderful. A few mistakes have been made, but when I would redo them they come out even better. This is my next project that I would like to make. I just have one question for you, I see that you use a regular cotton cloth when steaming it. Can I use a cheesecloth? If not where can I get a regular cotton cloth like the one you used? I am looking forward to your reply, 감사합니다!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      wow, you are so enthusiastic about cooking! Yes, cheese cloth will work well, too! Good luck with making fluffy rice cake!

      • SAM134 Illinois, USA joined 1/12 & has 7 comments

        Thank you, I hope it will turn out well too. I have another question. The frozen rice powder I have here in the Korean store says it has “No Salt”..is that the powder that I need to use? There is a sweet and non sweet version and they both say “No Salt”. Please let me know before I buy it, thanks so much!

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