Korean Rice Cakes (Garaetteok)
Garaetteok (가래떡) is a long cylindrical rice cake (tteok) made with short grain rice flour (non-glutinous). It is one of the many types of Korean rice cakes (tteok, 떡) and doesn’t have much taste. For that reason, garaetteok is ideal for making Korean stir-fries or soups with the added flavor.
In olden days, each household makes their own rice cakes for a special occasions like holidays or wedding banquets. Steamed rice flour was pounded in a large stone mortar until it becomes very chewy, then rolled between the palm of hands creating cylindrical shape, around 1-inch in diameter.
In modern days, a rice cake machine took over the job making a mass production, and people usually purchase their rice cakes at the store.
Types of garaetteok
There are three types of garagetteok; origianl cylindrical rope, short sticks, and round disks.
- Original garae-tteok (가래떡): Thick rope like rice cakes are usually eaten fresh on the day it is made. People often grill this rice cake to char the outside slightly, and then dip into honey or rice syrup to enjoy as a sweet snack.
- Short stick shape (tteokbokki-tteok, 떡볶이떡): As the name indicates, these little finger long rice sticks are for making spicy rice cakes (tteokbokki). Much thinner and narrower version of original garae-tteok is sliced into finger long length. You can buy them fresh, or in a vacuum sealed package sold in Korean markets.
- Rice cake rounds (tteokguk tteok, 떡국떡): These thin round disks are sliced from the original garaetteok that has been slightly dried. They are for making rice cake soup, a traditional dish eaten during the celebration of the Korean New Year. People also occasionally use these rice cake rounds in rice cake stir-fries.
How to store rice cakes
If you purchase fresh rice cakes in any shape, use them on the same day since fresh rice cakes can dry out fast. Chilled or vacuumed rice cakes should be stored in the refrigerator at all time until ready to use.
Once opened, any leftover rice cakes should be stored in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks. Freezing is not an ideal way of storing rice cakes since they become mushy when cooked into a dish.