I loooove dduk bok gi–whether it’s the spicy kind or the mild kind with bulgogi. The chewy cylindrical rice cakes nestled amidst savory soy sauce seasoning, or hot sauce–both are wonderful and fun to eat.
My fondest food memories are comprised of walking through the streets of Seoul with my cousins or aunt and eating red hot dduk bok gi from food stands, bursting out with tortured laughter between bites and gulps of water. The stuff can get REALLY hot! And we love it that way. We love it so much that one of my cousins theoretically gave herself digestive problems from eating dduk bok gi so often. (She claimed she had an ulcer from dduk bok gi consumption).
Of course there is the mild kind, too–with soy sauce marinade and bulgogi. So delicious as well, but oh so different. I first ate the mild ddukbokgi variant at my cousin’s house–I was surprised to see the rice cakes swimming in a sauce that was NOT red and bubbling, but I ate them ravenously, just the same. Maybe I just love rice cakes.
Still, nothing tops the fiery red spicy dduk bok gi, the stuff that sets your mouth on fire, the stuff with just a hint of sweetness, the stuff that is reminiscent of the foodstands on the streets of Seoul.
Even today, I seek out spicy dduk-bok-gi, such a comfort food. I’ll go to the Korean market and buy myself some, quickly down it for lunch (with a glass of water). But you can make your own, too.
Recipe follows after the jump…
Dduk bok gi rice cakes
1 tsp sesame oil
2 dried shitake mushroom, soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes until softened
1/4 lb. of bulgogi beef, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 onion, finely sliced
for the seasoning (aka korean bbq marinade):
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp mirin or rice wine or vermouth
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1. Blanch the rice cake in salted boiling water for 2 seconds. Drain and rinse in cold water, then coat with sesame oil and set aside.
2. When the shitake mushrooms have reconstituted and become soft, drain and thinly slice them, discarding the stems.
3. Cut the carrot and cucumber into thin julienne strips.
4. Combine all the seasoning ingredients in a bowl. Add beef, coating it with the seasoning, leave to absorb for 15 minutes (or longer)
5. Coat a frying pan or wok with the vegetable oil and place over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the beef and onion and seasoning mixture. Stir fry until the beef is browned and then add the mushrooms, rice cake, carrot, and cucumber.
6. Reduce the heat and cook until the liquid has formed a sticky glaze over the ingredients. Transfer to a shallow serving dish and serve.
For spicy dduk bok gi: use gochujang (Korean red hot chili paste) in the seasoning instead of soy sauce, and leave out the mushrooms…and try adding sliced fish cake instead of beef.