Gyung Dan – Korean Sweet Rice Balls

Gyung Dan - Korean Sweet Rice Balls

This light Korean snack highlights the chewiness and natural sweetness of sweet rice flour. Boiled until floating, sweet rice balls are really easy to prepare and has endless variations. Dry coatings such as sesame seeds, roasted soybean powder, and cinnamon sugar cling readily to its surface. Gyung dan can also be stuffed with sweet fillings such as red bean paste, as demonstrated in this excellent video by Maangchi.

Plain uncoated rice balls are also extensively used in several sweet and savory applications from all over Asia. My preference by way of heritage is a warm bowl of Filipino ginataan, rice balls and fruits cooked in sweetened coconut milk.

Weekend Herb Blogging
Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Valentina of Trembom

recipe adapted from Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall’s Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen

Gyung Dan
Korean Sweet Rice Balls

makes 16 hazelnut-sized rice balls

Gyung Dan - Korean Sweet Rice Balls Flour
Don’t let your parole officer see this.

1 cup sweet rice flour (approximately 160 grams / 5.65 ounces)
a pinch of salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup boiling water

Coatings:

  • Black or white sesame seeds, toasted until fragrant and popping (whole or ground)
  • Roasted soybean powder
  • Cinnamon sugar

Notes:

  • Sweet rice flour is also known as glutinous rice flour or mochiko, its Japanese moniker.
  • I prefer to use the smaller amount (1/3 cup) of boiling water to make a sandy and crumbly dough. It will be a bit harder to form the balls but the resulting texture is more to my liking — the outside will be soft and gets progressively chewier towards the center.

Instructions:

Mix the sweet rice flour and salt in a bowl. Add the boiling water one tablespoon at time while stirring vigorously. Depending on the texture desired, adjust the amount of water to create either a crumbly or soft dough (see Notes).

Gyung Dan - Korean Sweet Rice Balls Dough
Crumbly sweet rice flour dough.

Divide the dough into 16 portions and shape into hazelnut-sized balls.

Gyung Dan - Korean Sweet Rice Balls Raw

Bring at least 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Prepare a large bowl filled with iced water. The iced water will be used to instantly chill the cooked rice balls and stop the cooking.

Drop the sweet rice balls into the boiling water one at a time. Boil over high heat until the balls float to the surface. It will take about 6 to 10 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to gather the sweet rice balls as they float to the surface and place in the bowl of iced water.

Place the rice balls on paper towels and let dry briefly for a few minutes. Roll in the toppings of your choice and serve.

Gyung Dan - Korean Sweet Rice Balls in Black Sesame and Roasted Soybean Powder
Black and blue balls of sweet rice flour.

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44 Responses to “Gyung Dan – Korean Sweet Rice Balls”

  1. Caroline says:

    Black and blue balls!?! LOL

    The cooking method for these reminds me of palitaw. Gotta try making these soon!

  2. Rosa says:

    Oh, those balls look yummy and very pretty! I love sweet rice!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. snookydoodle says:

    Hi
    This recipe is really interesting. I don’t think i ll find sweet rice, I only find regular rice flour. Can I use this one ? Do they have to be served immediately? cannot they be stored?

  4. kat says:

    Oh I’ve never made anything like this but now I’m so tempted. I must go find this flour

  5. sweetbird says:

    My husband loves these but I always thought there was some elaborate process to making them. Looks like they’re finally going to get made…

  6. Lori says:

    These look really good. I have to try these!

  7. Maryann says:

    I’ve never had these. They look so interesting and yummy! :)

  8. Andrea says:

    I have an aunt from Korea, and I have such fond memories of meals at her house. I was introduced to seaweed there! I wonder if I could get her to make these for me…They look great!

  9. celiaK says:

    Aha, coated bilo-bilo. Must be yummy.
    You know one of the best bilo-bilos I encountered (besides that in a ginataan) are ones floating in a sweet ground black sesame soup, super yum-mi !

  10. Kalyn says:

    Wow, very interesting. I’ve never seen these or tasted them. I bet they taste good though!

  11. valentina says:

    wow, this gorgeous. I love how simple it is to prepare. Reminds me a bit of gnocchi. Wonderful!

  12. Life Chef says:

    You’ve done it again! Simply beautiful.

  13. valentina says:

    As I read your lovely post my mind started going round and round about different variations to the recipe.I really loved this post.

  14. noobcook says:

    woah they look so exquisite and cute, I just know they are tasty :D

  15. Hannah says:

    These sound so good! I’m a huge fan of kinako and sesame seeds, so I’ll have to try this one out.

  16. Mary says:

    Those look fabulous. My mom makes different sweet and savory items using sweet rice flour but I’ve never tried. One of my favorite desserts is the fried sesame balls made with sweet rice flour and mung beans. Yay for sweet rice flour!

  17. Tom Aarons says:

    Aw… You’ve made them so perfectly round and cute that I just want to play marbles with them! :)

  18. Sexy Korean Singer Lee Hyori | Celebrity Express says:

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  19. Adam says:

    Those look perfect Jude! I really like the toasted sesame seeds, or maybe just with some simple sugar. They make a perfect party snack :)

  20. daphne says:

    This looks like another version of mochi!

  21. Syrie says:

    oh I love these! I would sometimes eat them actually at a Chinese restuarant in Sydney. They were served with fruit on a little dessert plate. I loved their chewy texture. Great pictures!

  22. robin @ caviar and codfish says:

    Never knew what to do with the sweet rice flour that I see at the Asian market before – thanks for the info!

  23. rice paper rolls recipe | Packaging & Paper - Packaging Products, Paper, Paper Exporters and more says:

    [...] Gyung Dan – Korean Sweet Rice Balls Use a slotted spoon to gather the sweet rice balls as they float to the surface and place in the bowl of iced water. Place the rice balls on paper towels and let dry briefly for a few minutes. Roll in the toppings of your choice and … [...]

  24. Amy says:

    Hi there! Just came across your blog via Tastespotting. I’m putting these little balls of deliciousness at the top of my to-do list, I can just tell I’m going to love them. Your photography is out of this world as well. I’m just starting out as a blogger and can’t get enough of looking at stunning food photography. Now if I could only master it myself :) I’m off to poke around now!

  25. Jaime says:

    another interesting asian sweet! these look delicious

  26. giz says:

    You’re hysterical Jude – the sweet rice does look like contraband doesn’t it. I wouldn’t in a thousand years have guessed that this was rice – truffles, yes, rice – never.

  27. Vera says:

    How interesting! I’ve never tried these but I’m sure they are delicious!

  28. Caroline – I don’t get it :)

    Snooky – Gyung dan actually freeze well. I’m not sure if regular rice flour will hold together but it’s worth a try.

    Giz – Hopefully my stash doesn’t mistakenly get flushed down the toilet.

  29. Danielle says:

    I love this recipe! It’s like bilo bilo! It is especially good filled with red bean paste :D mmm… masarap!
    Thank you!

    danielle

  30. FoodieView Blog » Kick off the New Year on the Lighter Side says:

    [...] sweet rice balls are a filling end to a meal or snack. Angel food cake is famous for being virtually fat free but [...]

  31. Nicole, Sydney Australia says:

    I made these for the korean staff at my son’s daycare. Needless to say they were a big hit and they were very proud and happy I attemped one of their traditional foods.
    Thankyou very much for showing me how to make a wonderful treat and make international friends :)

  32. Chloe says:

    Yum! I need to make these at home some day! I have never tasted them before, but I am absolutley POSITIVE that they are delicious! :D Thank you so much for posting it!

    ~Chloe~

  33. bestbuy says:

    How interesting! I’ve never tried these but I’m sure they are delicious!

  34. adrian says:

    This recipe works great! Has anyone tried to put a filling in them?

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    @TheRonMorales Amen, Brother

  38. Jung says:

    I remember making them when I was in high school at a cooking class (I’m from Korea) I am plaining to make some for my collaegues.
    My favourite topping is spongecake crumbs (you can make it by using a grater) they are so sweet and soft!

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  40. The Asian Grocery Mystery Shop « cookalike says:

    [...] trusty internet came to my rescue and furnished me with a host of recipes for rice balls. I found this recipe that looked nice and quick and cooked up a little batch (based on a half cup of the flour instead [...]

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