Injeolmi is rice cake made with sweet rice (glutinous rice). It’s one of the most popular and common Korean rice cakes and it’s made on special occasions and Festival days. The rice cake is chewy and sticky, so traditionally it was given to newly wedded couples to wish that they get along and ‘stick together’ forever. The bride’s mother also makes this rice cake for the groom’s family in the hopes that her daughter will get along with the groom’s family.
When the newly wedded couple share the rice cake, they say, “let’s stick to each other forever, just like this injeolmi” : )
Traditionally it’s made with a mortar and pestle. Soaked sweet rice is steamed and pounded until all the cooked rice grains are mashed. Then it’s coated in roasted soy bean powder or other things like black sesame seed powder, mashed red beans, chopped pine nuts, chestnuts, and jujubes.
It’s most commonly made with soybean powder; yes, I mean roasted soybean powder, or konggaru (kong means beans and garu means powder).
I remember my grandmother used to make injeolmi at home and usually all adult family members (especially male members) helped.
“Ok, let me help you!”
“It’s my turn, take a rest!”
I was always excited to see them making rice cake, and so happy when I ate the freshly made rice cake, coated with lots of delicious soybean powder.These days almost everybody buys or orders injeolmi from a rice cake store rather than making it at home with a mortar and pestle.
I’ve often been told by my readers that they cook together with their children. I think cooking together with your mom is fun and a great experience. Children will keep those good memories in their hearts forever.
I used to make my own injeolmi without pounding, but the taste always lacked something. It wasn’t chewy enough and I didn’t like the taste at all. So a few years ago when I lived in Canada, I did an experiment to make this rice cake by pounding, like I saw my grandmothers in Korea do it. It turned out so delicious! I took my injeolmi to work and shared it with my coworkers, and they said it was awesome.
Instead of sweet rice, I use sweet rice flour, cook it in a microwave oven, and pound the dough with my small mortar and pestle. It works perfectly! What makes this rice cake perfect is that it’s super chewy just like my grandmother’s homemade injeolmi!
Enjoy the recipe!
Sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour), kosher salt, sugar, roasted soybean powder (and mugwort powder for ssuk injeolmi)
- Place 1 cup of sweet rice flour, ¼ ts kosher salt, 1 tbs sugar, and ¾ cup of water in a microwavable bowl. Mix it well to make rice cake dough.
- Cover it with Saran wrap, and cook it in a microwave oven for 3 minutes.
- Mix the hot dough with a wooden spoon for about 20 seconds. Put the Saran wrap back on and cook 1 more minute in the microwave.
- Transfer the rice cake dough into a mortar and pound it for about 1 minute (pound 50 times). You’ll make bubbles and then hear the bubbles popping out while you pound, which mean the consistency of the rice cake is just right: chewy and elastic.
*tip: Put a little cold water on your hands when you want to touch the dough so that it won’t stick to your fingers and will keep you from burning yourself.
- Spread ½ cup roasted soybean powder on a cutting board and place your pounded rice cake in the powder. Roll it around a bit to cover it with a light dusting of powder.
- Cut into bite size pieces.
- Coat each piece of the rice cake with the roasted soy bean powder and transfer to a serving plate.
Sprinkle with sugar when you serve.
Same directions as above, and add 1 tbs ssukgaru (mugwort powder) and 1 tbs water to the dough water you mix it.