Photography by Leela Ceed
With the Winter Olympics officially underway in Pyeongchang, and many of us planning some pretty epic viewing parties, there’s no better time to try out some culinary favourites from the Games’ host country, South Korea. For menu-planning inspiration, we went right to Kim Sunée and Seung Hee Lee’s new cookbook, Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks and simply couldn’t take our eyes off this silky, sweet dessert. Read on and make this the traditional Korean treat that’s sure to become a staple in your repertoire.
Soft Korean Sweet Rice Cakes | Injeolmi
By Kim Sunée and Seung Hee Lee
Koreans love chewy textures, such as tteok, rice cakes, which are a common ingredient in both savory and sweet recipes. Injeolmi is slightly savory ddeok made with glutinous sweet rice (chapssal). In the past, making tteok was a community event. To achieve the unique silky texture of these injeolmi, a man with a wooden hammer usually pounds the cooked sweet rice and, between each hit, the women fold the batter from the edges back toward the center as it spreads out. The rhythm of the wooden hammer hitting the dough and the movement of the women is a perfectly timed culinary dance.
At home, using a bread maker is the best alternative; alternatively, use the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer or go old-school with a mortar and pestle. The classic coating is roasted soybean flour (konggaru), but you can substitute ground toasted black sesame seeds or grated angel food cake.
1 cup sweet/glutinous rice, soaked in 1 cup of water for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight
¼ cup water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
Neutral oil (for handling the sticky dough)
½ cup roasted soybean flour (konggaru in Korean, kinako in Japanese)
Pour the soaked rice and soaking water into a rice cooker with the 1/4 cup of extra water; alternatively, cook in a medium-size pot, bring to a boil and then lower the heat to low, cook for 20 minutes, turn off the heat, and let steam for 10 minutes. While the rice is hot, add the sugar and salt and mix gently, then let cool to room temperature.
For the fastest and painless option, use a bread maker, add the rice and complete a knead cycle, about 20 minutes. Or, using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed (5 or 6) for 2 minutes, occasionally stopping to fold the batter.
Coat a spatula or hands with oil, when touching the dough to test and transport, to prevent a sticky mess. Once the rice is mostly mashed, the batter will feel wetter. Reduce the mixer speed to low (2 to 4) and every 30 seconds, stop to fold the batter. Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
Chill the rice batter in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, for easy handling.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the roasted soybean flour on the paper. Using oiled hands, pull off half of the rice mixture. Gently fold a few times in your hands, shaping it into a rectangular log. Gently roll the rice log in the soybean flour to coat.
Cut the log into 12 pieces, using a pastry cutter or plates (this is an old trick that grandmas use); do not cut with a knife as the batter will stick. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle the remaining soybean flour onto the finished product. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for half a day, for the best consistency. If the injeolmi hardens, roast it on a lightly greased pan for a few minutes or broil for 2 minutes.
Variation: To make chapssal-ddeok, Korean-style mochi, simply divide the rice batter into 12 portions. Form into balls. Dust a plate with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Make an indentation in the center of a portion of the rice batter, as if making a dumpling, spoon on about 2 teaspoons red bean paste, and fold up all sides to form a ball. Roll in the cornstarch and set aside. Repeat until all the balls have been formed.
Excerpted from Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks by Kim Sunée and Seung Hee Lee. Photography by Leela Ceed. Copyright © 2017 Published by The Countryman Press, A division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Servings: Makes 24 pieces
approx. Per Serving