Yakbap (Korean steamed sweet rice cake)

Honey and Butter yakgwa cookies

It seems Korean desserts are quite popular around here. By request, here’s another that is a traditional Korean sweet. Not surprisingly, it’s made from rice. Yakbap in Korean means literally “medicine rice”. It is thought that the combination and abundance of healthy nuts and dried fruits was a health booster.

Be sure to use SWEET, or GLUTINOUS rice, not regular short grain rice. You can also find roasted, peeled and pre-packaged chestnuts sold in Asian groceries, or even some supermarkets. Korean dried jujubes (dates) can also be found at Asian groceries. Please do not use American or Middle Eastern type dates. Korean dates are much less sweet than regular dates. If you can’t find them, use raisins. Personally I think Yakbap tastes best after it’s cooled and chilled a couple hours in the fridge. I like the cool chewiness it gets. On the other hand, my mom won’t eat Yakbap unless it’s been slightly warmed in the microwave.

The recipe calls for pine nuts, but I substituted whole almonds instead. My grandmother would kill me if she knew. But hey, she’s not here now, is she?

Yakbap (Korean steamed sweet rice cake)
adapted from Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen

2 cups sweet rice, also known as glutinous rice
2  3/4 cups water
1 TB soy sauce
2 T corn syrup, honey or molasses
2 TB rice wine or vermouth
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1 cup skinned walnuts OR chestnuts, cooked, shelled and skinned
1 cup pitted dried jujubes, sliced (dried korean dates) or 1/2 cup raisins
2 TB pine nuts
1/2 cup + 1 TB brown sugar
1 TB ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Rinse rice thoroughly about 3 – 5 times in cold water. Soak rice in lukewarm water for at least 1 hour. Drain rice and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a rice cooker, mix together, and turn on the rice cooker. When the rice cooker is done, pack the yakbap lightly into an 8×8 greased baking pan. Let cool. Cut into serving sized pieces. Keeps 2 days chilled, 3 weeks frozen, microwave for 10-20 seconds to rewarm.

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  • Reply
    January 8, 2011 at 1:56 am

    I have a question on the rice wine. Is that the same as mirin? I will be making this as soon as I hear back from you.

    • Reply
      January 8, 2011 at 4:43 am

      Hi Jean,
      Mirin is a sweetened rice wine that is too sweet to be subbed in this case. You can use sake or vermouth.
      Hope this helps 🙂

  • Reply
    January 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Hmm I can see why this would be considered medicine rice. It looks really tasty.

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