Sunday, April 08, 2012

Rice Cakes

Korean rice cake comes in many different forms. The one I've recently come to enjoy is called 가리떡, approximately pronounced as kah-ree-ddeok. If you don't say it right, it sounds to a Korean like Curry-ddeok! This is rice cake extruded into long cylindrical shapes, grilled and dipped in honey. This is also the rice cake which is sliced on the diagonal and used in soup. I've been threatening to visit one of these 떡집 (rice cake house) for some time, ever since I heard you can have your rice made into rice cake, rather then just buying rice cake. I finally got around to it Saturday afternoon, and had about 5Kg of rice made into rice cakes. It was pretty fun and interesting, and the owner only yelled at me once - turns out you're not supposed to sit on the table used for preparing rice cake!

Step one is to grind your rice into a flour. These two horizontal mills are used for that purpose. They have two polished cylindrical millstones counter-rotating which crush the rice into flour. I cringed several times when the lady put her hand in the hopper to aid the flow of rice.

Here's my flour, just coming out of the mill. The lady added a small amount of salt to the rice on the first pass through the mill. Then she added a very small amount of water, and ran it through the mill a second time.

The resulting slightly moist bucket of flour was transferred into a square box, which had an internal vent to allow the passage of steam. She put this box on a special table which had steam pipes, covered it with a cloth, and turned on the steam full blast. It was left to steam for a few minutes - it wasn't very long.

Next up, the steamed mass of rice flour was transferred to the extruding machine! She pushed the rice into the opening, and it comes out the side of the table. She made one or two passes with the extrusion output open. Then for the final pass she installed the proper "tool" on the machine (seen in the photo above) and started making the final product. There were other "shapes" available, ones I've also seen available in the store. Note that the rice cake is dipped in a bucket of cooling water as it comes out of the machine and onto the cutting table.

And here you see the result, long cylinders of extruded rice cake! This is sliced into 6-8 inch sections, and boxed up for transport home.

Piping hot, fresh rice cake is good, but...

...this is now I like it the best. Grilled with honey. I wonder if my apartment contract specifies pets? Could I care for several thousand bees on my balcony without drawing undue attention from the neighbors???


Revrunner said...

Enjoyed some of these for the first time last year. Great explanation of how they're made!

Tuttle said...

This is now my official favorite post you've ever made! Grat stuff, Stumbler!

But, you don't need to raise bees, you can buy honey here in Korea, it is almost worth its weight in gold!