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Autumn Comes, Chuseok Arrives, and it’s Time to Eat Songpyeon

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When Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day, August 8 on the lunar calendar) is coming mothers are busy preparing new harvested fruits, delicious traditional food, and songpyeon, the special food for Chuseok - altogether similar to a turkey meal on American Thanksgiving day.
Songpyeon is kind of rice cake made of non-glutinous rice and fillings such as beans, chestnuts, sugar, and sesame. As it looks like a half-moon, so it represents a lunar fruit, while fish are fruit of the sea and grains are fruit of the earth. The reason it called songpyeon is because it is steamed on a bunch of needles from a pine tree (‘song’). 

Korea’s Special Holiday Food

There are some must-eat foods on festivals and special holidays in Korea beside Songpyeon for Chuseok. For example, on New Year’s day Koreans eat Dduk guk (rice-cake soup prepared with slices of rice cake, beef, eggs, etc.) and on Dano festival (on the 5th of the 5th month of the year according to the lunar calendar) they eat Surichi Dduk (a kind of rice cake). When it is Dongji (around November 22 on the lunar calendar) Koreans eat Patjuk (rice gruel boiled together with red beans). When it is a family member’s birthday mothers usually cook Miyeok guk (seaweed soup) because this is the first food a woman newly delivered of a baby eats. So it is traditional that Korean moms cook this soup on the birthdays of their children.


How to Make it 
Ingredients: non-glutinous rice powder, wormwood, jujubes, chestnuts, beans, honey, sugar, salt, sesame oil, cinnamon powder, and pine needles

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1. Make ‘so’(fillings) first. Follow the steps below. (1) Mix the sesame with honey or sugar: (2) Spread some salt on the washed beans and then (3) Steam chest-nuts.
2. Pour hot water on the rice powder and knead. Divide the dough into two and add wormwood powder to one part. Pour hot jujube tea into another bowl of rice powder and knead. Then three kinds of dough are prepared: green (wormwood), yellow (jujube tea), and white (plain).
3. Take two table spoons of rice dough from the big dough and make the dough into a round shape. (Fill the so into the dough in a half-moon shape.)
4. Pour some water into a steamer and place pine needles onto gauze and boil the needles. After place uncooked Songpyeons on top of the pine needles and close a lid of each songpyeon.
5. After 30 minutes cooking in a hot pot put the songpyeons into cold water and filter. Finally put sesame oil on the top of songpyeons.

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

<저작권자 © AgraFood, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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