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In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, and salt. Set the bowl aside.
Pour 1 3/4 cups (400g) of water into a saucepan, and bring the water to boil, covered.
Gradually pour about half of the hot boiling water into the bowl with the flours. Stir the flour and water with a large fork, chopsticks, or a wooden spoon as you pour the water into the bowl. Once the water absorbs into the flour, gradually mix in the remaining hot water. Continue stirring until the water is fully absorbed.
After mixing for about 30 seconds, you’ll find there is still dry flour along the bottom of the bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of room temperature water over the loose flour. The cooler water will also cool the dough slightly. Stir everything again.
Let the dough cool for about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring periodically to release some steam. Then, begin kneading the dough. If the dough is still too hot to touch, stir the dough for another 1 to 2 minutes to cool it off, or wear disposable gloves to knead the dough.
Knead the dough until you’ve incorporated nearly all the flour into the clump of dough. Occasionally, wipe the dough along the sides of the bowl to catch any loose flour.
When nearly all the loose flour has been incorporated into the dough, turn everything over the counter or a work surface and knead the dough for another 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will feel a little tacky and may stick to your fingers a little. However, it shouldn’t be overly sticky. If it is very sticky, add another tablespoon of flour and work it into the dough. Shape the dough into a disc. The dough should look relatively smooth.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (anywhere between 94 to 98 grams is fine). Leave one piece of dough out on the work surface. Transfer the remaining 7 pieces back into the bowl and cover the bowl with a towel.
Shape the dough into a short, thick log and lay it lengthwise on the surface. Starting from the middle, roll out the dough and gradually work your hands further apart. Eventually, you will get a long dough rope. It should be about 16 inches long and just over 1/2 inch in diameter. Roll the dough rope off to the side.
Roll out 3 more pieces of dough into long ropes. Then, line up the 4 ropes of dough and cut them up into 2-inch pieces. The dough will stick to your knife a little. You can lightly grease the sides of your knife with oil to prevent sticking, but I don’t usually bother with that.
Transfer all the pieces of cut rice cake onto a large baking sheet and cover them with a towel while you finish shaping the remaining pieces of dough. If any of the last few pieces of dough have started to dry up and crust over, knead them again until they no longer feel dry. Then, roll out the dough into a rope.
Line the plates (or small pans) with parchment paper. This will keep the rice cakes from sticking to the plates. Arrange the rice cakes in rows over the lined plates. Cover the plates with a towel until the rice cakes are ready to be steamed.
Fill the wok with about 1 1/2 inches of water and bring water to boil.
Place the steaming rack in the center of the wok. Then, carefully lower one of the plates onto the steaming rack. Cover the wok with a lid and steam the rice cakes on high heat for 10 to 11 minutes (see note 2). Remove the plate from the pan and let the rice cakes cool on the counter. To check whether the rice cakes are done steaming, slice up a rice cake and check the center. If you don’t see any solid white spots, they are fully cooked.
If the water level in the wok is looking dry, add some water. Lower the second batch of rice cakes over the steaming rack, cover the wok, and steam for another 10 to 11 minutes. Remove the rice cakes from the wok and let them cool.
You can serve the rice cakes warm with sauces like my soy and vinegar dumpling sauce, chili oil, or peanut sauce. You can also stir fry the rice cakes, add them to stews, or use them to make tteokbokki.