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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chuseok Food : 송편 Songpyeon

송편 Songpyeon
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Glutinous rice Korean traditional food. Small Korean traditional rice cakes usually eat as Chuseok (Autumn Harvest). Songpyeon are half-moon-shaped steemed rice cakes that contain different kinds of sweet or semi-sweet fillings, such as sesame seeds and honey, sweet red bean paste or chestnuts. Chuseok will not complete without songpyeon ^^

How to make 송편 Songpyeon

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.

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.
  3. Place all the raw rice cakes (songpyeon) on a plate.
  4. Wash your pine needles thoroughly with a little dish soap. Towel dry them.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Steam it for 25 minutes over medium high heat.
  8. Prepare some cold water in a large bowl, and drop in a little sesame oil.
  9. Dump your steamed songpyeon into to the cold water and quickly remove pine needles. Take them out, put them on a plate to serve.
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