Thanksgiving is fast approaching here in the states, but did you know that Korea celebrates its own harvest holiday? Called Chuseok in Korean, this holiday falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar — September 19th for 2016. During this time, Koreans visit their homes to spend time with their families and friends, eat specialty foods, and pay respects to their ancestors.
- Frozen rice flour, salt and water
- Sesame seeds and sesame oil
- Dried and skinned mung beans
- Brown sugar
- White sugar
- Pine needles
- Mugwort powder (ssook garu)
- Strawberry jell-o powder
Prepare the dough
- Prepare a package of rice powder (2 lbs). If frozen, thaw it until the powder reaches room temperature.
- Use a sifter to make the rice powder more fine. You can skip this step if your rice powder is already very fine. If it is course, use a food processor or coffee grinder before sifting.
- Prepare three bowls each with 1 cup of fine sifted rice powder.
- Boil 2 cups of water.
- In the first bowl, add a pinch of salt and 3 tablespoons of boiling water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead the rice dough for about 5 minutes. Place into plastic bag and set aside. Label white songpyeon.
- In the second bowl, repeat the same step over but add an additional pinch of strawberry jell-o powder. Label pink songpyeon.
- In the third bowl, add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of mugwort powder (ssookgaru) and 3 ½ tablespoons of boiling water. Again, mix with a wooden spoon and knead for about 5 minutes. Then set aside in a plastic bag. Label green songpyeon.
Roasted Sesame Filling
- Grind ¼ cup of roasted sesame seeds for about 15-20 seconds in a coffee grinder.
- Transfer the ground sesame powder into a small bowl. Mix with ¼ cup of brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
Mung Bean Filling
- Wash/drain ¼ cup of dried and skinned mung beans, place in a pot.
- Add ¼ cup of water and a pinch of salt, then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Open the pot and crush the beans into a fine powder with a wooden spoon.
- Transfer the crushed mung bean powder into a small container and let it cool.
- Add ¼ cup of white sugar and mix.
Finally: Make the Songpyeon!
- Break off the rice dough into 1 inch in diameter and roll into a ball. Press your thumb into the center to create a cup-like shape.
- Fill the cup with either one of your filling using a small spoon. Seal it using your thumb and index fingers.
- Place each of the rice cakes on a plate.
- Wash your pine needles thoroughly and then towel dry them.
- Place 4 cups of water into a steamer and boil. Once it starts boiling, place a damp cloth on the bottom of the steamer tray.
- Place a bed of pine needles over the cloth and then position the raw songpyeon on top. Place additional pine needles on top. This will help prevent your songpyeon from sticking as well as add flavor.
- Steam for 25 minutes over medium heat.
- In a large bowl, prepare some cold water and add a little sesame oil.
- Dump the steamed songpyeon into the cold water and remove the pine needles. Finally, serve on a plate and enjoy!
Asian Groceries from Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to better serve our customers. Opened since 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at LottePlaza.com.