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Songpyeon (Half-moon shape rice cake)

Songpyeon is a type of rice cake made by kneading rice powder with hot water and stuffing the dough with beans, sesame, chestnuts and other fillings. The rice cake is shaped into a half-moon and steamed. Songpyeon is served without fail on Chuseok, the biggest holiday in Korea. On the eve of Chuseok, all the family members gather around the table and make songpyeon. They try to make pretty shapes because there is a belief that if you make pretty songpyeon, you will have a beautiful daughter. 
Songpyeon (Institute of Traditional Korean Food)
Songpyeon (Institute of Traditional Korean Food)

Ingredients

● 5 cups non-glutinous rice powder, 5g salt, 200-210g water

● Colorings: 2.5g mugwort powder, 2g gardenia, 1g strawberry powder, 1g cinnamon powder

● Filling 1: 50g fresh green beans, 1/4 tsp salt, 30g sesame seeds, 1/2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/8 tsp salt,

● Filling 2: 30g geopi-pat (dark blue, thin skinned sweet beans), 2/3 tbsp honey, 1/4 tsp salt, 0.6g cinnamon powder

● 300g pine needles, 10 cups steaming water

● 1 tbsp sesame oil

Halve the gardenia, soak in 25ml water for 30 minutes. Reserve 7 ml for the coloring. Mix strawberry powder with 8ml water.

For the first filling, sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt on the fresh green beans. Grind half of the fried sesame seeds, mix with honey, sugar and salt together.

For the second filling, wash the geopi-pat and soak them in 7 times volume of water for 8 hours, skin by rubbing, rinse with water, drain for 10 min.

Rinse pine needles with water and drain using a strainer.

Strongly knead each colored rice powder together with hot water for quite a long time.

Pour water into the steamer and heat it up for 9 min. on high heat. When it gives off steam, layer damp cotton cloths on the bottom of the pot. Put the geopi-pat in the pot, steam it for 25 min. Pound the geopi-pat with salt and sieve (55g), then mix thoroughly with honey, salt and cinnamon powder.

Add salt to the rice powder and sieve. Divide it into 5 parts. Mix one part with each coloring and sieve.

Pull off around 15-16g of rice dough, roll it into a small ball and make a dent in the center. Put the filling in, close the edges and form it into a half-moon shape (each should weigh about 20g).

Take out the steamed rice cakes, quickly rinse in cold water, remove the pine needles, drain and coat with sesame oil.

Tips:

● The dough should be covered with damp cotton cloths to stop it drying out.

● Dough should be thoroughly kneaded with hot water to ensure a good appearance.

● Thick Omija (Chinese magnolia vine) tea may replace strawberry juice for pink color.

● Potato, sweet potato, sweet pumpkin, acorn, arrowroot starch and ramie leaves may be added to the dough.

● Black bean, mung bean, chestnut, jujube, and/or sweet potatoes may be used as alternative filling ingredients.

(Adapted by Institute of Traditional Korean Food)
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