This rice cake, youngyang chaltteok (영양 찰떡), is one of the easiest rice cakes you can make at home! No kneading, no shaping, no pounding, and no special tool other than a steamer is required! Young-yang means healthy, and chal-tteok refers to sticky, chewy rice cakes that are made with glutinous rice (sweet rice) flour/powder, chapssal garu (찹쌀가루). It’s also called by its short name youngyang tteok (or dduk).
The tradition of rice cakes goes back to ancient Korea. There are literally hundreds of varieties of rice cakes made with all sorts of grains. While enjoyed everyday as a snack, light meal, dessert, or in savory dishes such as tteokguk (soup), and tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried), rice cakes are a big part of the special occasion and holiday food traditions. For special days, Korean homes prepare several varieties of rice cakes in addition to the must-have type such as songpyeon for Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving/autumn harvest festival).