Korean Rainbow Rice Cake (Mujigae dduk)

Korean rice cakes, or dduk (spelled by Wikipedia as Tteok, and sometimes as ddeok), come in all different shapes and sizes. They’re made with flour made from various grains such as glutinous or non-glutinous rice, and can be steamed, fried, boiled, pounded…you name it!
Korean Rainbow Rice Cake or Mujigae dduk in Korean (literally translated as “rainbow rice cake”), is a steamed version of this subtly sweet dish, and is named after the multi-colored layers of short grain rice flour that are mixed with food coloring. See the slice above? It contains the typical color scheme of this rice cake, and can be eaten for breakfast, or after dinner dessert! I’ve only ever seen it provided at Korean weddings or a baby’s 1st birthday (called Dol, and is a big deal in Korean culture).

New York City is not really known for great Korean food, but Los Angeles is regarded as having a very close match in taste with Korean food from Korea (some Korean people say it’s better!). I’ve never craved rice cakes more than now; I guess it’s true that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone- thanks Counting Crows.

Because there aren’t really any dduk specialty stores in Manhattan, I tried making this version at home with a spring form pan, steamer, and sifter. You have to sift the slightly damp rice flour (buy it frozen at your local Korean market) to make it airy and light for a fluffy texture. You then place the layers evenly in the spring form pan, steam it, and then out pops a nice hot rice cake ready for eating! The decorations on the top are pine nuts, dried apricots, and dried cranberries.

I used this recipe by Maangchi; she provides step-by-step YouTube videos and detailed information about the difference in rice flours.


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