Holidays with the Park's are usually filled with tasty Korean food and sweets. Since both of my parents were born and raised in Seoul, I also grew up embracing the Korean culture and its customs.
For our family, a dessert that always makes an appearance this time of year is Mochi, a rice cake filled with sweet red beans. The traditional version looks like a snowball that really is good enough to eat.
These days, different variations of Mochi can be found pre-made at Asian grocery stores and bakeries. But of course, homemade and Mom's Mochi are the best! Mom usually makes everything from scratch, but this recipe will still give you the same results in a fraction of the time.
Ingredients:1 lb. sweetened red bean paste 1 lb. sweet rice flour 1 cup corn starch1 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cup sugar 3 cups water
Directions: Mix sweet rice flour, salt and sugar into bowl. Add water, and mix. Lightly coat baking sheet with corn starch. Wrap bowl and place into microwave for at least 7 minutes. While still hot, mix the ingredients well until it forms into a ball. Knead the rice cake for several minutes. Pull apart small sections of the rice cake (size of an egg) and flatten out. Place a teaspoon size portion of the red bean paste in the center of the rice cake. Pull the sides together and pinch at the top and round into a ball. Place the Mochi onto the baking sheet with corn starch. Dust the Mochi with more corn starch.
This recipe makes 25 rice cakes and takes about 45 minutes.
Rice cake (or 'Dduk' in Korean) is eaten year round in Korean households, and can be made into savory dishes or dessert. On New Year's Day, it's tradition to eat 'duk guk' -- rice cake soup.
Happy Holidays and Happy Eating! -Kathy