RICE CAKE – COMMON, VERSATILE AND DELICIOUS DISH
In this blog post, we will explore the basics of rice cake. What is a rice cake? Rice cakes are typically made of glutinous rice or short-grained sticky rice that has been pounded into dough-like consistency and then steamed, deep fried, or baked.
They can be savory or sweet with different toppings like seaweed, matcha green tea powder, and sugar glaze. Why should you know about this? Well for one thing it’s delicious! But another great reason to learn more about this variety of food is because it might help alleviate your health problems.
Rice cake is a common food found in many Asian cuisine. It’s also referred to as rice cracker, and it can be eaten on its own or with a dish. Rice cakes are made from a dough of rice flour mixed with other ingredients such as sugar, salt, egg yolk and oil that is then pressed into depressions or shapes in order to form the shape of the individual cakes.
If you’re looking for more information on rice cakes, please continue reading below to find out about the nutritional benefits and how they can fit into your diet.
WHAT IS RICE CAKE?
Rice cakes are a type of food item that has been shaped, condensed or otherwise combined into a single object. There is an array of rice cake recipes from around the world and it’s especially prevalent in Asia. One recipe includes using rice flour as its main ingredient whereas other uses ground up whole grains for their binding substance to create this tasty dish!
Rice cakes are a type of food that has long been enjoyed in Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. They consist of two types: glutinous rice cakes with fillings and non-glutinous rice cakes. Glutinous rice cakes have a soft, sticky texture from the starch they contain while the non-glutinous ones are firmer and crunchier. Today we will explore some popular varieties of this tasty treat!
Rice cake is a healthy snack option for those who don’t want to eat fried chips or chocolate bars when they’re hungry. The best part about this delicious treat is that it doesn’t contain any preservatives, so you know exactly what you’re eating! They are available at most grocery stores for an affordable price, making them the perfect last-minute purchase before work!
RICE CAKE BENEFITS
1. Thins Blood
It has been proven that eating rice cake can thin your blood and prevent stroke caused by blockage of the arteries. Rice cake contains magnesium oxide (MgO), a natural blood thinner. Just a small serving of rice cake per day is sufficient to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
MgO also thins the blood and reduces tooth decay by acting as an antibacterial agent against oral bacteria for those who suffer from periodontal disease.
2. Reduces Cholesterol
The sweetness of glutinous rice comes from malt sugar (dextrin). When eaten, it changes into simple sugar which enters the bloodstream quickly, thus reducing cholesterol levels naturally. Also, rice cakes are full of fiber, which is another way to lower LDL cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol helps prevent heart diseases and stroke.
3. Alleviates Constipation
Glutinous rice contains oligosaccharide, a carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the human body. Instead, this polysaccharide provides food for certain intestinal bacteria, which help stimulate bowel movements in the intestines and cause peristalsis (the propelling forward of contents through the digestive tract).
4. Prevents Diabetes
Rice cake does not dissolve easily in saliva, so it stays in your stomach longer than ordinary foods. It thus reduces blood sugar spikes after meals and prevents obesity and diabetes.
5. Keeps Bones Strong
The Japanese have a saying that, “Eating glutinous rice helps keep the bone structure healthy.” Rice cake is high in calcium and vitamin D, which are good for your skeleton health.
6. Skin Beautifying
Glutinous rice contains large amounts of dietary fiber and amino acids, both of which improve skin health by improving circulation and cell turnover rate respectively. It also contains vitamin E, nicotinic acid, and other antioxidants.
7. Prevents Cancer
Rice cake contains more niacin than regular white breads which keeps your digestive system healthy by preventing colon cancer because of its effect in promoting healthy cell growth throughout the body; no wonder Japanese people eat rice cakes at most mealtimes!
8. Regulates Blood Sugar
Glutinous rice does not dissolve quickly in the mouth; therefore, it has a low glycemic index and does not cause blood sugar spikes after meals. Rice cake also contains relatively large amounts of vitamin B1 which helps convert food to energy instead of being stored as fat in your body.
9. Proper Growth
B vitamins (including thiamine) are essential for the proper development of an infant’s nervous system and glucose is an important source of energy for children. Therefore, rice cake helps promote proper physical growth in infants and young children and prevent malnutrition.
10. Glutinous Rice
Glutinous rice may be eaten with soybean curd or mild soup to increase its nutritional value even more! Enjoying regular servings of rice cakes will keep your healthy head to toe!
In addition, if you grind glutinous rice into a powder and put it on your skin …! It turns out that this “beaten rice”, as it is called in Japanese, is great for exfoliating dead skin cells. You’ll feel young again!
RICE CAKE DISADVANTAGES
Rice cake is not lactose intolerance, no protein, can be at any time of the day. There are many who give a poor diet and children should eat rice cake rather than other cakes frequently given snacks. Is there anything to worry about? Are you really worse than other food?
The following disadvantages are based on the comparison with common foods:
1. Lose Weight
1T rice cake contains only 157 calories, or even less than 100kg, but in the same amount of bread 476 calories which is nearly twice as much cheese 420 kcal more meat 894 kcal (based on both making 300g).
Of course, rice cake does not contain fat and carbohydrates that make bread added agave syrup and sugar spread fat contained in cheese, so we can say the rice cake is more likely to lose weight comparing to other cakes.
2. Malnutrition Of Vitamin B1
Two foods have been widely recognized malnutrition of vitamin B1: bread and rice cake. As long as they are not labeled additives containing vitamin B1 (e.g., vitamin B1, B2 and B6) can be sure to eat only rice cake if you are worried about nutrition is not getting enough vitamins or minerals.
3. No Dietary Fiber
Rice cakes contain no dietary fiber, but the first of two days a month bread containing a lot of fiber, gluten-containing foods and often cause intestinal spasms triggering constipation may be better than rice cake with constipation worse if you do not take more exercise.
4. No Preservatives
Rice cakes contain no preservatives, so they have to eat soon after getting old taste is not good for the same bread kept up to two months can still be eaten. On the other hand, we now know that wheat gluten (wheat and rice), which has been used as a natural preservative of fruits and vegetables are also known as carcinogens there’s not here.
RICE CAKES IN DIFFERENT CULTURES
Rice cakes are a popular food in Asian countries, where they may be known by different names.
1. In China
They are known as Youtiao (literally fried thing) or Zongzi. They can either be wrapped with fish and vegetables called yu you tiao or stuffed with meat and sweet bean paste called zongzi.
Yu you tiao are made of wheat starch noodles stuffed with minced pork, shrimp, lard and scallions. It is golden brown colored when cooked on one side. The other side has the color of an egg yolk due to the yellowing from the frying. Yu you tiao’s appearance are similar to that of a Chinese cruller, which also contains meat; but a cruller is often not stuffed.
2. In Malaysia and Singapore
It is known as cheong fun. It is also known as sweet rice cake or sticky rice cake. The name “cheong fun” translates literally from the Cantonese word 粽 which means ‘package’ or ‘bundle’.
Cheong fun are commonly filled with lotus paste, red bean paste or a mixture of the two (thus sometimes known as “red bean cheong fun”, although this is different from the more flattened and thinner than usual type served at dim sum restaurants), though other fillings such as tau sar piah and soft yolk custard can also be found.
Sometimes it is stuffed with durian instead. Non-sweet fillings may include fresh cream, chocolate or durian jam. The filling ingredients are usually not mixed until after the cheong fun has been fried, thus ensuring that each piece contains only one kind of filling.
These thin rolls have a slippery, almost translucent quality and a unique springiness. They are either eaten by hand or cut in half with a pair of chopsticks and added to congee, soup dishes, various noodle dishes (e.g., mee pok) or simply served as an accompaniment to tea. A common way of eating cheong fun today is just adding Milo powder (cocoa mixed with malt powder).
Cheong fun used to be steamed but this method has been abandoned in recent years because the rice flour dough no longer holds its shape when cooked that way. Nowadays, cheong fun is always fried, preventing it from getting soggy  and keeping it crispy for longer periods. This new method has however been criticised by purists as not being the traditional way, or something eaten in other countries where non-fried versions can be found.
Today, the original sweet rice cake cheong fun is often sold along with a drier variety known as “starch cheong fun”. Starch cheong fun can also be used in place of rice paper to wrap spring roll fillings.
3. In Thailand
They are called Nang Yok and can be found mostly sold by street vendors or at a food cart on every corner. Also, they can be made into sweet pancakes filled with mung bean paste or green bean paste.
Other rice cakes are called kanom jeen. They come in many varieties of shapes and sizes. Kanom jeen are usually made with rice flour, tapioca starch or cassava root starch to which salt is added during the cooking process.
4. In Taiwan
They are called youtiao, and usually eaten with soy milk for breakfast. You can also find them sold on night markets and at traditional Hong Kong style cafes. They are made of rice flour, so they are less oily than the Chinese variety.
5. In Vietnam
They are called “bánh rém” (brittle rice cake) or “bánh đúc“, which is the most popular and typical New Year’s Eve desserts. They may be wrapped with red bean paste or filled with mung bean paste. It is also served on Tet (Vietnamese New Year).
In Central Vietnam (Gia Lai) they are made of corn flour instead of rice flour and they are known as “bánh cốm” – glutinous corn cakes. Also in some regions, glutinous rice flour is mixed with maize flour to make yellow color “bánh gạo” (literally corn cakes).
Another type called “bánh chưng“. It is baked as long cakes for Tết. It was traditionally made only during this festival but today you can get “bánh chưng” year-round at local bakeries. The dough is made from glutinous rice flour mixed with water or mashed mung beans and sweetened to taste.
“bánh chưng” is usually brushed with butter before baking to give them an attractive glisten appearance; there are also those that are coated with peanut or sesame paste.
5. In the Philippines
These are known as biko or “bikoi” (rice cake). They are made in different shapes such as hearts and flowers, but most often they use a bamboo stick to mold the dough into circles of different diameters according to one’s desire. The design is pressed until it takes shape. Biko can be eaten with grated coconut or chocolate sauce or sprinkled with sugar powder. It also comes in many flavors such as banana, strawberry, mango and orange created by flavoring the rice paste before molding the dough into its final shape; some add raisins while others add chopped cashew nuts.
It is popular at birthday parties to use it for the table centerpieces. Biko are also molded into different shapes and sizes by hand, not using a bamboo stick or a mold. These shapes are more often made into animal figures like animals with ears that move when placed in water and other figures best seen from an aerial viewpoint.
These sweet rice cakes used during Christmas season, together with camachili (fish crackers) as well as suman which is traditionally eaten in buri leaves wrapped around these delicacies to be eaten with bare hands while watching Christmas movies on television.
6. In Japan
It is called “yomogi senbei” (Japanese: 黄萁粉練べい; literally “dried mugwort powder rice cracker”). It is made of glutinous rice flour, sugar powder, and soybean oil. Usually, it is sold in small packages in traditional Japanese grocery stores.
Yomogi senbei was firstly produced by Kusaya Factory around the end of Edo period and the start of Meiji era. Yomogi senbei featured medicinal herb called ‘yomogi’, which had a long history of use for its healing effect such as anti-tumor agent, or immune booster, etc. By adding these medicinal herbs, it became more popular, and people started to buy them as a daily snack.
7. In Korea
The popular rice cake is Tteokbokki. This rice cake is made of glutinous rice flour, mixed with water and steamed until cooked. It is usually served in a clear broth (tteokguk) and topped with Korean chili paste (gochujang), raw diced onions, fish cakes, and sliced hard boiled eggs. Tteokbokki can be eaten as a snack or enjoyed as an entrée during lunch or dinner.
8. In Cambodia
They are known as bien chakkravong. They are served with mung bean paste fillings on special occasions.
They can also be simply steamed without any filling and brushed with oil to make them glisten (usually with a specific type of black sesame oil). Some people prefer to just buy these pre-made at markets or from roadside vendors that sell freshly steamed cake to eat after their morning jog around the city.
On 25 March 2013, Cambodia marks the annual Bokator Day to commemorate an ancient martial art used by the Khmer warriors in combat against invading enemies from abroad as well as local rebels; Bokator also played a significant role in protecting the nation’s sovereignty.
These bánh chakkravong are shaped like a stylized mace and symbolize bokator techniques: ‘mai’ or ‘chiem’, which is Cambodian traditional fighting tools made of thick wood with two sharp edges at one end.
Another popular rice cake is called sotoun paiya. It used to be a food consumed only by the Khmer Royalty in ancient times until today it has spread among ordinary people. Sotout Paiya is actually a fermented rice cake which was developed hundreds of years ago for preservation purposes in order to preserve foods during long journeys from one place to another.
Sotout paiya is now considered as people’s favourite snack and can be seen everywhere; these snacks are sold on motorbikes, streets markets, gas stations and on every local market. Some people prefer to buy it already made and packed after their morning jog in the park in order to have a quick, cheap and healthy breakfast before starting work or school.
Sotout paiya is usually dipped into sauce (e.g., fish sauce) for taste; plenty varieties can be found on the market e.g. pork meat and shrimp sotout paiya, prahoc sotout paiya (fermented shredded fish with spices), green banana filled with shredded coconut meat, …
9. In Burma and Myanmar
It is called kyaukswe, they are usually eaten together with coconut milk and toppings such as Shredded ginger, red chili sauce and pickled garlic. It typically comes with a small packet of sesame seeds. The kyaukswe is eaten by breaking the cake into bite-size pieces, dipping it in the coconut milk, and then eating it with pickled garlic.
10. In Indonesia (Java)
They are called ‘kue dadar‘, after Java’s famous culinary speciality “dodol dadar”. They are made from glutinous rice flour mixed with water to make a dough that is shaped into round cakes when frying until golden brown. They are typically eaten with savoury fillings such as shredded chicken and minced shrimp, or sweet fillings such as palm sugar filling.
RECIPES WITH RICE CAKES
- 2 cups of cooked rice cakes (tteok)
- 1 cup of onion
- 1/2 cup of green chili peppers
- 100 g of squid or shrimps
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper powder
- Soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for those who don’t eat gluten)
- A tablespoon of fish sauce
- A pinch of salt
- Hot pepper flakes or gochugaru
- Sweet rice syrup.
Step #1 – Cut the green chili peppers into bite-sized pieces, onion as well as squid or shrimps into small squares.
Step #2 – Put a tablespoon of oil in a large pot, sauté the chopped onions on medium heat until they are translucent then add cooked rice cakes (tteok), squid or shrimps, red pepper powder, fish sauce, salt and hot pepper flakes or gochugaru and stir for about 5 minutes until you can smell them.
Step #3 – Add water to stew it over high heat for 10 more minutes.
Step #4 – When the stew is boiling, add green chili peppers and bring it to boil once again then reduce heat to a simmer.
Step #5 – Add sweet rice syrup (or sugar) to your taste. Serve hot with other side dishes such as kimchi and steamed eggs. Lightly sautéing before stewing over high heat is the key to make tasty tteokbokki.
2. Nang Yok
- 1 lb beef meat (flank or brisket are good choices)
- 1 package khao piak (glutinous rice cakes), deep fried or fresh khao piak, required amount to serve 4-5 people
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups water Sugar palm juice (optional)
- Ground black pepper and sliced red chilies for garnish (optional)
Step #1 – Chop your meat into small pieces. You can either slice it in thin stripes or cut them into small pieces with a knife. This is entirely up to you depending on how you prefer the texture of inner parts of your soup.
Step #2 – Rinse the rice cake well under running tap water until it gets rid of any starch that may stick around its surface. It’s advisable that your hands be very well wet before handling the rice cakes so that your hands will be less sticky when touching them.
Step #3 – Pour 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil into a wok or pan and heat over medium heat. This step is optional, but it makes the fish dish more delicious because you can add some sesame oil as well in order to get rid of any unpleasant smell while being cooked. Make sure the amount of oil is enough for frying rice cake later.
Step #4 – Sauté beef, ground black pepper and sliced red chilies for garnish until they become browned or maybe slightly burned (it’s okay). Stir carefully with a spatula so that they don’t break apart from each other during the process.
Step #5 – Add 3 cups of water into the wok and turn to high heat. Put the slices of fish meat in too (if you use sliced beef, don’t add it yet).
Step #6 – While waiting for the soup to reach boiling point, let’s prepare another pan or wok by heating a small amount of oil over medium-high heat until smoking hot.
Step #7 – Add required amount of rice cakes (dip them one at a time). You may place two sheets on each side of your cooking utensil to prevent sticking together if you have no cooling racks inside this pan. When they are frying, keep stirring carefully so that all sides are cooked well without burning and sticking with other pieces together. This step will enhance the crispy texture of rice cake.
Step #8 – When you start hearing the sizzling sound, turn off your stove and transfer them to a colander to drain excess oil. Step #9 – Transfer fried rice cakes back to where we are boiling our soup and then add 2 cups of sugar palm juice (if you don’t have this ingredient at home, just skip it). I’d recommend using fresh ones instead because they add a beautiful fragrance into your fish sour soup.
Step #10 – Turn up heat until the liquid starts boiling and then lower down again for about 10-15 minutes, or until most of the water evaporate out from the pan while stirring occasionally so that deep-fried cakes won’t burn or stick together.
Step #11 – Serve hot with deep fried khao piak (khao fai in Thai) or fresh ones (khao piak-chee, the Thai name for eating rice cakes plain).
In case you have leftover cooked soup, remember to put it into a clean container for later use because you can eat them as snacks by cold steamed fish on top of these crispy rice cakes topped with ground black pepper and sliced red chilies with dipping some vegetables along with small portions of spicy chilli sauce and freshly cut lime wedges.
HOPE YOU FIND MORE RECIPES FROM RICE
Rice cake is a very versatile dish that can be used in sweet or savory recipes. The rice cakes are made from ground brown rice, wheat flour and water and then cooked to make them chewy with an almost fluffy texture similar to bread dough. These ingredients create the base for many different dishes such as zongzi (sticky rice dumplings), tteokguk (rice soup) and bibimbap (a Korean dish).
You can also use these tasty treats as a sandwich wrap by filling it with your favorite fillings like ham, cheese, veggies or whatever you have laying around the kitchen! Happy eating!