Koreans often make baekseolgiddeok to celebrate a baby's 3 week birthday (saei rye in Korean) or any child's birthday, but it's most often traditionally prepared to celebrate a baby's 100 day birthday (baek il in Korean). The white cake represents purity and perfection and is attained by using fluffy steamed white rice flour and few other ingredients: sugar, salt, and water.
The whole family gives the baby good wishes on his or her 100 day birthday. They might say: "I hope you grow up to be always healthy, pure, and happy!"
This rice cake was meant to be shared with many people because it's believed that the more people who share it, the longer life the baby will have.
If you've already made my mujigaeddeok (rainbow rice cake), I think making baekdeolgiddeok may be too simple for you. I added some dried fruits and sliced almonds to this rice cake to make it more tasty and colorful, but if you want to make it in the traditional Korean style, leave them out.
Let me know if you make this for your lovely family members, friends, babies, your parents, or even your co-workers! Impress me and my other readers.
4 cups and 1 TBS rice flour (made from short grain rice)
1 ts salt
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
dried colorful fruits and nuts if desired : raisins, golden raisins, papaya or apricot (sliced), cranberries, and almonds (sliced or chopped)
Steamer, sifter, 8 inch (20 cm) cake ring
Thaw out the package of frozen rice flour and put it into a large bowl.
Add water and salt. Mix it all up and press out any wet lumps by rubbing the lumps gently between your palms. Repeat until all the lumps are broken and the rice flour is uniformly wet.
Sift the rice flour twice, then add sugar and sift once more.
Add 10 cups of water to the bottom of a steamer and bring to a boil.
When the water boils, place a wet cloth or cheese cloth over the rack and put the cake ring on top. Put the sifted rice flour into the ring and flatten it out so the mixture sits level.
*tip: a business card works well for this
Add colorful dried fruits and nuts on top, if you want them. The traditional Korean style doesn't use them, but you can add them if you like.
Cover the cake with the cloth and steam over high heat for 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and open the lid. Uncover the cake and carefully lift it out using the sides of the cloth. Place it on a plate or cakeboard.
Wait a few minutes for it to cool down before gently pulling the cloth out and removing the cake ring from the cake.
Serve with tea, coffee, or milk.
Freeze any leftover rice cake: if you freeze it when it's still fresh and fluffy, it will still be chewy and fluffy when it's thawed out. Cut the rice cake into individual servings and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Put the pieces into a plastic bag and keep that the freezer. Thaw it out at room temperature before serving, or reheat it in a steamer or microwave oven.
If you can't find frozen rice flour in a Korean grocery store, you can make rice flour it at home:
Rinse and drain some short grain rice a couple of times and soak overnight (10-12 hours).
Drain the water and grind the rice very finely. Use it right away, or immediately store in the freezer.