Korean sweet rice cakes are chewy, gooey, and absolutely delicious. Each sweet rice cake is coated on the outside with black sesame seeds which gives it a great nutty flavor profile.
Note: We are using a rice cake/mochi machine for this recipe. We will try to attempt a recipe in the future without the need for a machine for anyone who doesn’t have access to a rice cake/mochi machine.
Gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian dessert or snack option
Yes! This is a gluten-free dessert or snack option! Score! Enjoy these sweet and sticky rice cakes by themselves as a dessert, for breakfast, or a sweet snack. They are gluten-free and a healthier option than most sweet treats. The rice cake machine does most of the work. The whole family, including kids, is going to love these Korean sweet rice cakes!
Key features and tips
We are soaking and pounding sweet rice with our rice cake/mochi machine. This is as authentic as it gets! This recipe may take a bit of time to produce, however, it really doesn’t since most of the time is just soaking the sweet rice. The machine does all of the hard work for you! If you love rice cakes as we do, then we highly recommend investing in a rice cake/mochi machine.
These rice cakes are coated on the outside in a black sesame mixture. It’s a simple mixture made of black sesame seeds, salt, and sugar. It really gives the chewy sweet rice cakes a nutty profile, with a slight crunch. It is so good!
Tools/items needed to make this recipe
Korean sweet rice cakes for celebrations
Typically, Koreans eat sweet rice cakes for dessert, New Years’, birthday celebrations, or sometimes even for breakfast. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a celebration as a reason to make sweet rice cakes though! These black sesame seed sweet rice cakes can be made and eaten any time of the year!
Reheating Korean sweet rice cakes
Once the sweet rice cakes have completely cooled, they will harden. To reheat and soften the rice cakes back up, put a non-stick pan on low heat. Warm up the rice cakes for a couple of minutes on each side or until the rice cakes turn softer again. Feel free to add a very little bit of water and place the lid on the non-stick pan to ensure extra softness.
- 6 cups sweet rice
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 Tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup of Water
For the black sesame outer coating:
- 1 cup toasted/roasted black sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Rinse the sweet rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Repeat as many times necessary until the water is clear (about 6-7 times).
- Soak the sweet rice in cold water for 24 hours at room temperature on the counter.
- After 24 hours, strain the sweet rice with a fine mesh colander. Leave it in the colander to allow it to continue to drain for about 30 minutes.
Put water in the bottom of your rice cake/mochi machine according to its instructions. There should be a compartment where you put the water under the pot in the machine.
- Place the pot back in the machine, based on your particular machine model. Place all of the sweet rice in the pot.
- Push the “Steam” button on your rice cake/mochi machine.
- While the sweet rice is steaming, boil about ¼ cup of water. We usually do this in a coffee cup and warm the water up in the microwave. Add the salt and sugar into the hot water and mix together well until salt and sugar dissolves. Set aside for later.
- When the sweet rice is done steaming, open the lid and wait for 20 minutes until all of the steam has released.
- After 20 minutes is up, push the “Pound” button on the machine.
Intermittently throughout the “pound” process, pour in about ¼ of the sugar/saltwater mixture you made earlier. Wait a bit and pour in another ¼ of the sugar/saltwater mixture. It takes about 25 minutes for the machine to pound all of the sweet rice (the machine we have). Each machine could be a little different and take a longer or shorter amount of time. And you can see if you like it very finely or not.
- Let’s toast the black sesame seeds. Place a pan on medium-high heat and dry toast the sesame seeds for about 4 minutes. Make sure to continuously stir the sesame seeds to ensure they don’t burn. Just be careful not to burn the sesame seeds, it’s harder to tell since they are black already. Remove the black sesame seeds from the pan and place them in a bowl.
- Mix together the toasted black sesame seeds, salt, and sugar to make the outer coating mixture. Pour half of the black sesame seed mixture on a tray and spread it out evenly to cover a large surface area.
- When the sweet rice is completed pounding, pour the sweet rice (now tteok) on top of the black sesame seed mixture.
- You’ll notice the sweet rice cake starts to spread out itself and becomes flat.
- Once it has stopped flattening out itself, pour the other half of the black sesame seed mixture on top and spread it evenly.
- Next, you can cut the sweet rice cakes into whatever size you like. We like a square/rectangle shape that’s easily grabbable.
- Make sure you dip each piece in the excess black sesame seed mixture to cover each cut side of the sweet rice cakes to ensure it doesn’t stick to each other.
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