Rice cake

Songpyeon 송편

Songpyeon is a Korean traditional rice cake to eat on Chuseok, which is celebration of the year’s good harvest. Traditionally it’s made with the rice of the first harvest of the year. Chuseok is August 15 by the lunar calendar, which is usually in the middle of September by the solar calendar. This year it’s September 14th.

Ingredients

Frozen rice flour, salt, water, sesame seeds, sesame oil, dried and skinned mung beans, brown sugar, white sugar, pine needles, mugwort powder (ssook garu in Korean), strawberry Jell-o powder.

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Make the dough:

  1. Prepare a package of rice powder (2 lbs) usually sold frozen at a Korean grocery store. Just before using it, you must thaw it until the powder is at room temperature.
  2. Put rice powder through a sifter to make the powder fine.Tip: If your rice powder is very fine, you can skip sifting. If your rice powder is coarse, you may have to grind it with a food processor or coffee grinder before sifting.
  3. Prepare 3 stainless bowls and put 1 cup of finely sifted rice powder into the each bowl. (Bowl A, B, and C)
  4. Boil 2 cups of water for your rice dough.
  5. Bowl A (white songpyeon): add a pinch of salt and 3 tbs of boiling water and mix it with a wooden spoon. (it’ll be too hot if you use your hands at first) Knead the rice dough for about 5 minutes. Put the dough into a plastic bag and set it aside.
  6. Bowl B (pink songpyeon): add a pinch of salt, a pinch of strawberry Jell-o powder, and 3 tbs of boiling water. Mix it with a wooden spoon and knead the rice dough for about 5 minutes. Put the dough into a plastic bag and set it aside.
  7. Bowl C (green songpyeon): add a pinch of salt, 1 ts of ssookgaru (mugwort power) and 3.5 tbs boiling water. Mix it with a wooden spoon and knead the rice dough for about 5 minutes. Put the dough into a plastic bag and set it aside.Tip: You will need to add 3.5 tbs of water because of  the 1 ts of ssookgaru.

Make the filling:

Roasted sesame seeds powder filling:

  1. Grind ¼ cup of roasted sesame seeds using a coffee grinder for 15-20 seconds.
  2. Transfer the ground sesame powder into a small bowl and mix it with ¼ cup of brown sugar and a pinch of salt.Tip: if you grind too long, the powder will become sticky from the oil in the seeds.

Mung bean powder filling:

  1. Wash and drain ¼ cup of dried and skinned mung beans and put them in a pot with a thick bottom.
  2. Add ¼ cup of water and a pinch of salt to the pot and simmer it for 30 minutes.Tip: Be sure not to burn it – simmer over the lowest heat.
  3. Open the pot and use your wooden spoon to crush the beans into fine powder.Tip: if you make more than ¼ cup of mung bean powder, you may have to use your grinder or food processor to grind it finely.
  4. Transfer the crushed mung bean powder into a small bowl or container and wait until it cools down.
  5. Add ¼ cup of white sugar and mix it. That’s it!

Let’s make songpyeon now!

    1. Break off a piece of rice dough about 1 inch in diameter and roll it between your palms to make a rice ball. Then press your thumb in the center of the ball to make it shaped like a cup.
    2. Fill the cup with either sesame filling or mung bean filling using a small spoon, and seal it using your thumb and index fingers.

making-songpyeon

  1. Place all the raw rice cakes (songpyeon) on a plate.
  2. Wash your pine needles thoroughly with a little dish soap. Towel dry them.
  3. Put some water (4 cups) into a steamer and boil it. When it starts boiling, place a damp cotton cloth on the bottom of the steamer tray.
  4. Make a bed of pine needles on the wet cloth and put the raw songpyeon on top. Put more pine needles on top of the songpyeon, too.Tip: Pine needles stop the songpyeon from sticking together and give them a good flavor.
  5. Steam it for 25 minutes over medium high heat.
  6. Prepare some cold water in a large bowl, and drop in a little sesame oil.
  7. Dump your steamed songpyeon into to the cold water and quickly remove pine needles. Take them out, put them on a plate to serve.

Enjoy your songpyeon and happy Chuseok!

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96 Comments:

  1. verdellekuweyoonkim singapore joined 11/16
    Posted November 15th, 2016 at 9:18 am | # |

    Hi maangchi!

    How are you? I love your recipes! :) I’ve tried making bibimbap, kimchi and BBQ beef and they were all successful thanks to your recipes. Tomorrow i’m going to try making Gyeongdan 경단 and was wondering if i could use the filling that is used in Songpyeon 송편 in addition to the red bean filling. Will these fillings work in Gyeongdan 경단?

    It would be really helpful if you can get back to me asap. :) I really look forward to more recipes from you n the future and to try out all your recipes. Have a nice day!

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 22nd, 2016 at 2:18 am | # |

      “Will these fillings work in Gyeongdan gyeongdan?” Yes, it will work well.

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  2. Ermin Fei Indonesia joined 2/15
    Posted September 27th, 2015 at 9:51 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi ssi.. Happy Chuseok (추석) Day to you ^^

    My friend gave me an assortment of Songpyeon.. They are very nice.. May i know how long can we store them in fridge, and how do we heat it up?

    I received the rice cakes on Saturday, and i put them in the fridge after dinner time.. Do you think they are still ok to be eaten?

    Love the ones with Jujube ^^

    Wish you a great celebration ^^


    See full size image

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 29th, 2015 at 10:33 am | # |

      Belated Happy Chusesok to you, too! : )
      What a great gift it is!
      Any type of rice cake should be kept in the freezer when it’s still fresh. Otherwise, it will go hard easily at room temperature or in the fridge. But you can reheat it with microwave oven or steam it again if your rice cake turns hard.

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      • Ermin Fei Indonesia joined 2/15
        Posted October 4th, 2015 at 10:43 am | # |

        Haha thank you for your advice.. I will remember it next time ^^

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  3. ruway kurrim joined 7/15
    Posted July 15th, 2015 at 8:54 am | # |

    can`t find pine needles..what do i do??

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  4. smilesr4me United States joined 7/14
    Posted September 15th, 2014 at 5:10 pm | # |

    Maangchi~

    My husband really likes 꿀떡. I want to make it for him soon, do you have any recipe for making 꿀떡? I would really be so happy if you have any suggestions! 감사합니다!!

    메간

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  5. sarah.t.17 Hampshire, United Kingdom joined 8/14
    Posted August 15th, 2014 at 5:19 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, do you have any other recipes that you could share that requires mugwort powder? Or do you know how to store them or any tips to keep them edible for longer? I’m afraid that most of it will go to waste after the expiry date if I only need to use 1 teaspoon for this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing so many great recipes! ^^ Sarah x

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  6. Benjamin887 Brossard, Montréal, Canada joined 6/14
    Posted July 28th, 2014 at 9:24 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi! I have a question for you. I have tried many times making songpyeon for Chuseok. The dough was always cracking and was not smooth. Is it because my rice flour was not fine enough (I made homemade Korean rice flour using sushi rice and maybe it was not as fine as it should be)? Can you give me advices to avoid my dough from cracking please?
    Thank you and I hope to improve my songpyeons before Chuseok ;)

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  7. MeeAe Colorado joined 2/13
    Posted September 19th, 2013 at 2:56 pm | # |

    Happy Chuseok! Maangchi thanks for the advice about the Kkaktugi, it turned out beautifully this time, no funny smell. About the Songpyeon–the dough was kind of cracking while I was shaping them, even tho I added a little more water and kept it moist. Is this normal? Btw I made pink color with hot cranberry juice instead if water because I had it in my fridge and it was pretty! Is the dough supposed to be kind of cracking?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 20th, 2013 at 1:16 pm | # |

      Happy Chuseok! : )
      “Is the dough supposed to be kind of cracking?” Did you use very hot boiling water when you made the dough? If you did, you should knead the dough longer until the texture is very smooth just like playdough.

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  8. iluvmaangchi Vancouver joined 8/13
    Posted August 29th, 2013 at 11:04 pm | # |

    Mmm…..this is one of my favorite Korean desserts!! Thanks so much for sharing Maangchi! :D

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  9. christinajin Puyallup, WA joined 5/13
    Posted May 5th, 2013 at 5:08 pm | # |

    I love your website! I am half Korean and grew up eating Korean food on special occasions. This made me think that Korean food was difficult or time consuming, so I was always hesitant to learn. After finding your website, I cook Korean food every day! Thank you so much for making learning so easy and fun! Keep up the good work!
    P.S: what is the difference between songpyun and gyepiddeok?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 6th, 2013 at 8:25 am | # |

      “..After finding your website, I cook Korean food every day!..” I’m so happy to hear that! : )
      The texture and the taste of songpyeon and gaepiddeok are different. Songpyeon is a little harder and chewier than gaepiddeok. And Songpyeon, shaped with rice flour dough, is steamed. The filling is usually cooked beans or sesame seed powder.

      Gaepiddeok is made with cooked rice cake stretched thinly, and sweet red bean paste is inside. The shape is a half moon. I will post my gaepiddeok recipe someday.

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      • christinajin Puyallup, WA joined 5/13
        Posted May 10th, 2013 at 11:21 pm | # |

        Thank you Maangchi! I really appreciate your speedy response… I feel like I got a celebrity reply! ^_^

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  10. Bia-Unnie Brasil joined 8/12
    Posted September 28th, 2012 at 2:38 pm | # |

    Mangchi, can I replace: Frozen rice flour, sesame seeds, sesame oil, dried and skinned mung beans, pine needles, mugwort powder, strawberry Jell-o powder
    with any other ingredients?

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  11. shikiziika philippines joined 9/12
    Posted September 6th, 2012 at 8:28 am | # |

    hi . what are the alternatives or substitute for mung beans,pine needles,jello and mugwort powder ? ?because those are not available here. thanks :)

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 6th, 2013 at 8:27 am | # |

      If they are not available, make white songpyeon and use sesame seed powder filling. It will turn out delicious!

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  12. korealoveforever USA joined 1/12
    Posted April 29th, 2012 at 1:44 am | # |

    Maangchi, I have a question, I was thinking about making this desert for a long time, but could not get all the ingredients. Well, finally I found almost everything, but I am little bit confused, you said that rice flour needs to be frozen, but when I asked in the grocery store they showed me exactly this flour but not the frozen one and they said yes this flour is for songpyon. So do I need to freeze it before I use it, or its just the wrong stuff? Also, really dumb question, where do i get pine needles? Grocery store didnt have it, do i just get it from regular tree? :) where I live we have lots of those trees……. Thank you

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  13. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10
    Posted December 25th, 2011 at 7:55 pm | # |

    Maangchi , i bought this yesterday from the grocery store .. just wondering , is it supposed to be a little on the chewy side ?? thanks !

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 26th, 2011 at 7:03 am | # |

      You mean it was too chewy and hard? Any type of rice cake gets hard in several hours after it is made. We usually keep the leftover rice cake, when it’s still fresh, 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.

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  14. eera94 kuala lumpur joined 12/11
    Posted December 18th, 2011 at 3:38 am | # |

    is it different between frozen rice flour and rice flour ?? And can i just use sweet rice flour?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 19th, 2011 at 11:01 am | # |

      This recipe needs short grain rice flour. If you want to make homemade rice flour for this recipe, soak short grain rice in cold water overnight and drain it. Then grind it finely. Korean grocery store sells short grain rice flour in the frozen section. The rice flour is wet, so it should be kept in the frozen section.

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      • annabanana Vancouver, Canada joined 2/09
        Posted September 15th, 2012 at 12:16 am | # |

        maangchi, does the rice need to be dried before ground? thanks.

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  15. karmijo Belle Fourche, SD joined 9/11
    Posted September 29th, 2011 at 9:34 pm | # |

    MMM I love them and I remember when I was a kid they had this one with sesame seed with the sweet liquid oh I miss them can you tell me what is that sweet liquid?
    thanks Kim

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 30th, 2011 at 10:43 am | # |

      That’s melted sugar. When rice cake is steamed, the sugar mixture will be melted. yum!

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      • fantasycouple USA joined 9/11
        Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 9:48 pm | # |

        Maangchi, can you show us how to make rice cake with sesame seeds and melted sugar inside? Thanks

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    • karmijo Belle Fourche, SD joined 9/11
      Posted October 8th, 2011 at 9:30 pm | # |

      Mmmm Thank you, :)

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  16. Charmaine Singapore joined 6/11
    Posted August 29th, 2011 at 8:52 am | # |

    Hello. Hm, I have been finding frozen rice flour, but can’t seem to find it. Can I use other rice flour?

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  17. Stellalicious New York joined 8/11
    Posted August 25th, 2011 at 12:44 am | # |

    Can I use green tea (matcha) powder instead of mugwort powder?

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  18. KimHyunJoongieLover United States joined 6/11
    Posted June 17th, 2011 at 6:12 am | # |

    Hi!! I was wondering that if I bought the sweetened frozen rice flour, then would the songpyeon with the mung bean filling be too sweet? Maybe I should lessen the amount of sugar to the mung beans?

    Thank you~

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  19. Hyunjin joined 5/11
    Posted May 10th, 2011 at 6:56 pm | # |

    Can I use red been filling instead of sesame seeds and mung beans?

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 12th, 2011 at 9:16 am | # |

      yes, you can! I love sweet red bean filling!

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  20. mokpochica Michigan joined 1/09
    Posted September 24th, 2010 at 10:26 pm | # |

    We made these tonight with regular rice flour (we didn’t have any frozen at home). We added a lot more water to the dough than called for, but I think they turned out well. Luckily my husband has made songpyeon with my Mother-in-law before so he knew the consistency that the dough should be.

    I used red and green food coloring for the dough. It turned out pretty bright so I had to tone it down with the white songpyeon dough. So we ended up with just pink and green songpyeon. I will try the jello powder next time.

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 12th, 2011 at 9:18 am | # |

      awesome news! Your husband must be really interested in getting involved with making delicious food! Making good food together makes happy family! Jello powder sounds good. Let me know the result and upload the photo on my website if you can.

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  21. fokim joined 9/10
    Posted September 22nd, 2010 at 2:37 pm | # |

    안녕 maangchi!!!
    i find your site by accident i am 25 from greece and my loving omma was korean
    송편 was my favorite dish!!!when koreans were more here every september they celebrate and made it…unfortunately its been 18years since i ate it!!!!
    do you knowhow can i have the ingredients here in greece???please???
    감사합니다

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  22. skt joined 9/10
    Posted September 19th, 2010 at 6:39 pm | # |

    hi maangchi – my husband and i love your site and have made a ton of your recipes! for chuseok, i thought i’d try to make my own songpyeon with your help. unfortunately, it didn’t work out. the dduk consistency was a little weird and all the songpyeon deflated in shape when steamed — they all just looked flat and smushed. any thoughts? i want to try again so i can make it well for next chuseok!

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 12th, 2011 at 10:04 am | # |

      The dough must have been too wet. Did you add hot water when you knead the dough? If so, add less hot water and knead longer until the dough gets smooth so that it won’t fall apart when you steam it.

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  23. Lynn4949 Singapore joined 4/10
    Posted June 13th, 2010 at 12:09 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Thank you for sharing the recipes with us.
    In your kimchi’s recipe, the ingredient of sweet rice flour is glutinous rice flour, right? Then how about the rice flour in the recipes of Rainbow Rice Cake and Rice Cake (songpyeon)? Is the must to use Frozen Rice Flour? Is not easy to get these ingredients in Singapore, can I use those normal Rice Flour? Noted from Wan’s comments, she used the glutinous rice flour to make the songpyeon and turn out successful, wanted to know are the other ingredients’ meaurement unchanged? Thank you.

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 13th, 2010 at 9:46 am | # |

      My answers:

      1, yes, glutinous rice flour is sweet rice flour called chapssal in Korean. https://www.maangchi.com/ingredients/sweet-rice-flour

      2. For rainbow rice cake, you have to use rice flour made with short-grain rice 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 reason I use frozen rice flour sold at a Korean grocery store is that it 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!

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  24. Dee202 joined 6/10
    Posted June 5th, 2010 at 6:10 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi..

    I will be experimenting with the process of making the songpyun. This will be my first attempt and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM already made! I do, however, have one question. I went to the Korean store and bought the frozen rice flour. It comes in Sweetened and UNsweetened. I didn’t know which to buy. What do you suggest? *btw, I picked up ONE bag of each because I want to make these sooooo bad!

    Thank you

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    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 5th, 2010 at 7:31 pm | # |

      I use unsweetened frozen rice flour.

      (0)
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