Dust your work surface and your hands with rice flour. You can shape the rice cakes a number of ways, but the most important shape is the large rice cake balls. Their circular shape symbolizes togetherness.
Divide the dough in half. Place one half back into the bowl and cover it with a lid or damp cloth. Take the other half and roll it out into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Divide the dough log into 2-inch wide pieces, so that each piece is about 3 to 3.5 ounces (85 to 99 grams) each. Roll each piece into round balls. Starting from the center, arrange the rice cake balls on the bamboo basket/steamer until the bottom layer is completely packed. Make sure there are no gaps between the rice cake balls. They need to touch each other to symbolize fullness and abundance.
Once you reach the edge of the basket/steamer, there will be a few smaller gaps that won’t fit a large rice cake ball. You can fill those gaps with smaller balls. Alternatively, you can fill those gaps with some dough shaped as pig troughs or arrowhead root. To make a pig trough, roll out a piece of dough (about 2 ounces/56 grams) into a log shape. Then, press into the dough on both ends with your thumbs, leaving 2 imprints.
To make the arrowhead root, roll out a small piece of dough (about 1 to 1.5 ounces/28 to 42 grams) into a circular shape. Then, use the palms of your hands to roll out one side so that it looks like a thin shoot is growing out of the ball. Use the pig trough and/or arrowhead root to fill in the small gaps.
After packing the bottom layer with rice cakes, you’re ready to move on to the next layer. Bowl & bird feed: At the center of the top layer, my mom usually makes a bowl with bird feed. Rip out 1.5 to 2 ounces (43 to 56 grams) of dough and shape it into a bowl. Place it at the center. Then, roll out tiny pieces of dough into balls and place it inside the bowl. These tiny balls of dough represent the bird feed.
Surround the bowl of bird feed with large “coins.” Take 2 to 2.5 ounces (56 to 70 grams) of dough and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball with the palms of your hands to make a coin about 2 inches in diameter. Arrange the coins around the bowl with bird feed.
Finally, my mom usually surrounds the bird feed with geese. Take 1 to 1.5 ounces (28 to 43 grams) of dough and shape it into a log that’s about 1 inch thick. Then roll out one end so that it’s a little thinner. This thinner end will be the head.
Bend the neck up 90 degrees to shape the neck. Bend the tip of the neck down 90 degrees to create a face and beak for the geese. My mom usually makes at least 6 geese and arranges them around the bowl with bird feed, so it looks like the geese are eating from the bowl. If you have more dough, feel free to make more geese and line them around the edges.