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Korean Rice Cake Day - Garaetteok Celebration

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Korean Rice Cake Day - Garaetteok Celebration

Move over Pepero, it's time to give spotlight to Garaetteok! November 11 is famous for Pepero Day, where you give chocolate sticks to family and friends. This same date is also Garaetteok Day, it's literal translation being "Korean Rice Cake Day." Instead of chocolate sticks, you pass out long cylindrical rice cakes. Keep in mind that Garaetteok Day is Farmer's Day in Korea.

Two sticks of garaetteok ( Maangchi )

Two sticks of garaetteok (Maangchi)

1. MAKING GARAETTEOK

Garaetteok (가래떡) is made by pounding steamed rice flour, then dividing out the dough to create long flexible sticks. At festive events, you'll see people demonstrate the making of garaetteok in big vats and oversized wooden hammers.

Man pounding rice cake flour in Insadong ( Flickr )

Man pounding rice cake flour in Insadong (Flickr)

When you make garaetteok at home, it is a more quiet spectacle. You'd typically use a smaller "sledgehammer" and pound the rice flour on a wooden cutting board.

Making garaetteok at home ( Fit for the Soul )

Making garaetteok at home (Fit for the Soul)

2. USES OF GARAETTEOK

Fresh garaetteok can be enjoyed plain as is: uncooked without any sauces. If the garaetteok has hardened, you can heat it back up by pan-frying or grilling.

Grilling garaetteok ( NH Nonghyup )

Grilling garaetteok (NH Nonghyup)

Feel free to spice these carbs up by sticking them on skewers and brushing on spicy sauce made of gochujang! Also known as Tteok Kkochi (떡꼬치).

Spicy Skewered Rice Cakes ( Naver )

Spicy Skewered Rice Cakes (Naver)

Garaetteok is also thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces and popularly used to make Tteokguk (Rice Cake Soup). Tteokguk is eaten on Seollal, the Lunar New Year's Day. Traditionally, eating a bowl of Tteokguk on Seollal meant aging one year. If not, you'd stay the same age. I'd take the latter any day, please!

Sliced rice cakes ( Maangchi )

Sliced rice cakes (Maangchi)

Sliced rice cakes in tteokguk ( RicepaddyRandalls )

Sliced rice cakes in tteokguk (RicepaddyRandalls)

Garaetteok also come in thinner cylinders and are used to balance flavorful dishes. They can be added into Budae Jjigae (Army Base Stew), Jjajangmyun (black bean noodles), and Dalkgalbi (Spicy Grilled Chicken).

Rice cakes camouflaged in Budae Jjigae ( CherryOnMySundae )

Rice cakes camouflaged in Budae Jjigae (CherryOnMySundae)

Rice cakes tossed and turned while making Dalkgalbi ( Naver )

Rice cakes tossed and turned while making Dalkgalbi (Naver)

The thin versions of garaetteok are commonly used for Tteokbokki (떡볶이), spicy Korean rice cakes. Tteokbokki is hard to miss when you visit Korea. It's a signature Korean street food!

Tteokbokki ( Maangchi )

Tteokbokki (Maangchi)

3. GARAETTEOK CELEBRATION

 

Veteran rice cake makers and participants holding the five colors of garaetteok on Garaetteok Day in Insadong ( The Korea Times )

Veteran rice cake makers and participants holding the five colors of garaetteok on Garaetteok Day in Insadong (The Korea Times)

Choi Won-byeong (far left), the chairman of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, and guests holding up garaetteok ( JoongangDaily )

Choi Won-byeong (far left), the chairman of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, and guests holding up garaetteok (JoongangDaily)

Garaetteok Day. Carb lovers unite! (YonhapNews)

Garaetteok Day. Carb lovers unite! (YonhapNews)

Whether you're into chocolate sticks or long rice cakes, Happy Garaetteok and Pepero Day! :)

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How to Make Pepero Chocolate Sticks at Home

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How to Make Pepero Chocolate Sticks at Home

Scroll down to learn how to make these Pepero sticks!

Scroll down to learn how to make these Pepero sticks!

pepero sticks
... as well as these delicious sweeties :)

... as well as these delicious sweeties :)

Pepero Day is just around the corner! Which means it's time to give away those yummy chocolate sticks to family, friends and your significant other. You can buy boxes of Pepero at a Korean market or make them yourself at home. It's quite simple and I'm showing you how. Ready or not, here we go!

Note: for the detailed instructions, watch my YouTube video this Wednesday (tomorrow)!

Step 1: Grab your sticks.

Have 'em ready for action. Make these sticks from scratch or get them at your local grocery shop. Doesn't have to be Korean. As long as you find edible goods in the form of sticks, you're good to go! As for me, I'm using ingredients found at the American market.

Experiment with different kinds of sticks to find your perfect match.

Experiment with different kinds of sticks to find your perfect match.

Breadsticks. These looks more like the classic Pepero sticks made of biscuit.

Breadsticks. These looks more like the classic Pepero sticks made of biscuit.

Pretzel rod. The salt bits paired with dark chocolate make a winning combo!

Pretzel rod. The salt bits paired with dark chocolate make a winning combo!

Wafer rolls. Shorter and more delicate compared to the previous sticks. However they do contain chocolate inside!

Wafer rolls. Shorter and more delicate compared to the previous sticks. However they do contain chocolate inside!

Step 2: Melt the chocolate.

Whatever your favorite chocolate is, it is time to melt them. Microwave or double boil. Your choice. I'll be using the double boil method to melt my morsels of dark and white chocolate.

Make sure your chocolate bits are in small, equal pieces.

Make sure your chocolate bits are in small, equal pieces.

Mmmmm... Move over diamonds! Chocolate are a girl's best friend.

Mmmmm... Move over diamonds! Chocolate are a girl's best friend.

Fill a saucepan with 2-3 inches of water. Place a snug-fitting glass or metal bowl on top. Make sure the heat is on low heat for simmering and that the water in the saucepan doesn't touch your stacked bowl. We don't want to burn the chocolate. What did those sweeties ever do to you to receive such treatment?

The double boil method. Typically you'd use a snug-fitting glass or metal bowl for stacking. Otherwise, improvise. Perhaps you'll place a bowl at an angle like I did (above).

The double boil method. Typically you'd use a snug-fitting glass or metal bowl for stacking. Otherwise, improvise. Perhaps you'll place a bowl at an angle like I did (above).

Dump those chocolate morsels into the stacked bowl as the water simmers. Keep stirring. When there are only a couple bits left to be melted, turn the heat off.

I'm so tempted to swim in this.

I'm so tempted to swim in this.

Step 3: Cover the sticks with melted chocolate.

Leave one end of the stick untouched by chocolate. This allows for people to enjoy your homemade Pepero sticks without creating a hot mess on their fingers.

Step 4: Decorate those sticks!

Before the melted chocolate dries and hardens, sprinkle on your desired ingredients. Your sticks may look like twinsies of the original Pepero flavors. Or get creative and invent your own combo of party-in-the-mouths!

My family of vegan toppings: almonds, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, coconut shavings, and more!

My family of vegan toppings: almonds, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, coconut shavings, and more!

I ended up making five sets of chocolate sticks. For the first batch, I used coconut shavings, raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, red quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth. The healthy and nutritious makeover to Pepero! Makes you feel a little less guilty for eating sugar and refined carbs.

This first batch was my tastiest set of homemade Pepero. The salted pretzel rods paired with dark chocolate and crunchy toppings was a match made in heaven.

pepero
pepero chocolate sticks

My second batch of homemade Pepero. Not as exciting and sexy as the previous set, however still cute in its own simple way.

pepero homemade
chocolate sticks

Once I finished using my dark chocolate, I cleaned the stacked glass bowl and melted the morsels of white chocolate.

white chocolate

My third set of homemade Pepero was a rainbow. The combo of colorful sprinkles, white chocolate and breadsticks tasted like a birthday cake! Maybe even a unicorn.

pepero colorful
rainbow sticks

My fourth set of homemade Pepero was the most fun to decorate. Though not as glossy as my first batch, the vibrant red of the goji berries make this batch exciting in terms of presentation.

pretty pepero
pepero sticks homemade

I present to you... my fifth and final set of homemade chocolate sticks. Happy Pepero Day!

pepero day

Don't forget to share your goodies with your loved ones. Spread the happiness and calories! One way to bond with people is to get fat with them :)

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15 Photos That Will Make You Want To Eat Pepero

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15 Photos That Will Make You Want To Eat Pepero

Get your box of chocolate sticks ready! Pepero Day is approaching. Every November 11 in Korea, people give each other chocolate sticks. It's a commercial holiday begun by Lotte and is particularly celebrated among those with a sweet tooth. Get your box of Pepero at the Korean market or make your own at home! Warning: the following photos may cause drooling.

1. Ever wonder how a rainbow tastes like?

2. Whoever said, "A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down," never had a bite of these chocolate sticks. Sorry, Mary Poppins!

(  Mybany  )

3. You know someone genuinely loves you when they make Pepero Cake for you.

( Tumblr )

4. Diabetes in fancy mode.

5. Packaged Pepero is awesome, but homemade chocolate sticks are even better!

(  Naver  )

6. Cake made of almond-flavored Pepero sticks topped off with pistachios. Drool. Eyegasm.

7. Sophisticatedly cute and neat. Perfect for the ladies prim and proper.

8. Mmmmm... Lettered Pepero sticks with pinches of rose petal chocolate shavings.

(  Naver  )

9. Cookies inspired by Yours Truly, Pepero.

10. Chocolate sticks gone nuts!

(  Naver  )

11. I want to cuddle with these guys.

12. Giant mama box of Pepero next to its baby.

13. Four hours at the gym to burn off. I still want it!

14. Rectangular biscuit sticks with a whole lotta crunch.

homemade chocolate sticks

15. On a diet? Cuddle a Pepero pillow instead.

Lasts longer than the actual chocolate stick and doesn't melt on you!  ( Ameblo )

Lasts longer than the actual chocolate stick and doesn't melt on you! (Ameblo)

For him & for her  ( Ameblo )

For him & for her (Ameblo)

BONUS: Sugar-free Pepero. Everybody's favorite!

Korean 50,000 & 10,000 won bills rolled up. Approximately $180 USD!  ( Cuteinkorea )

Korean 50,000 & 10,000 won bills rolled up. Approximately $180 USD! (Cuteinkorea)

Tune in my YouTube channel this week for more on Pepero Day. Until then, happy responsible snacking! :)


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