Buckwheat 'Cakes' (Memil Tteok)

  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

These buckwheat 'cakes' are delicious, gluten-free, and easy to dress up with whatever toppings you like. I love these with some good honey and soybean flour or brown sugar, but you can also experiment with fruit and preserves. Like the other types of Korean 'cakes' made from rice and grains called tteok (dduk, duk), these were traditionally made and eaten at Korean celebrations and ceremonial events.  

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water

How to Make It

  1. Prepare a firm dough with the flour, salt and as much water as necessary to create a manageable dough.
  2. Roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangles - about six of them.
  3. Cook on a lightly oiled steamer tray. Cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Top with soybean powder, honey, and/or brown sugar, if desired.

*Note: You can also pan-fry these and/or fill them with sweet or savory ingredients.

More about Duk, or Tteok, Korean Rice Cakes

"Tteok is not only one of Korea’s most symbolic foods, but also one of its oldest. “Korea has been producing tteok for about 2,000 years, going back to the Three Kingdom’s Period. Now there are about 200 forms of rice cake — 198, precisely speaking.”  

Indeed, one of the things most fascinating about the displays is the mind-boggling diversity of sizes, shapes and colors in which tteokmanifests itself. And the color is important, too — quite often, rice cakes are chosen for particular occasions thanks to their color and the role they play in Korea’s traditional yin-yang cosmology. Take, for instance, the white garae tteok commonly consumed sliced in tteokguk soup on New Year’s Day. New Year’s Day is traditionally considered a day with a lot of yang, or positive energy. White, too, symbolizes yang, hence the use ofwhite garae tteok.

Other colors have their uses, too. Red, for instance, was commonly believed to be effective in scaring away ghosts, goblins and all other manners of things that go bump in the night. On Dongji, the winter solstice, red-bean porridge with rice cakes was served —the long night and its attendant beasties requiring culinary caution. Likewise, on the table of a first birthday, or dol, you’ll find rainbow-colored tteok. This symbolizes the hope that the child’s dreams will grow like a rainbow. 

Region plays a major role, too. Take, for instance, songpyeon, the half-moon shaped rice cakes with chestnut paste eaten en masse during the Chuseok holiday.

Its color and even shape will change from place to place — along the North Korean coast, for instance, they take the shape of a clam shell, in the hope that the rice cakes will bring in a good catch in that shell-fish dependent region."

Source: Adapted from VisitKorea.com

Some Information About Buckwheat:

"While many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, it is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens. Buckwheat flowers are very fragrant and are attractive to bees that use them to produce a special, strongly flavored, dark honey." 

Source: Adapted from WHFoods.com