Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake)


When I lived in Seoul, South Korea, this snack was on every corner.  Almost literally.  Most street vendors had this bubbling away, ready to be spooned onto a plastic bag-covered plate for instant gratification.  And although I was at first a bit hesitant to try it (I doubt those carts are inspected in any way whatsoever), I now find that I occasionally start to crave this spicy little treat, even if it makes my nose run.

Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake)

1 cup dashi or beef broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 tablespoons red pepper paste (gochujang)
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths on the bias, green and white parts
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 (1½-pound) package cylindrical rice cakes (garae tteok)
3 pieces flat fried fish cake (approximately 3x6-inches each)

Combine the broth, garlic, red pepper paste, green onions, and sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Slice the rice cake diagonally into 2-inch pieces, if necessary, and add to the sauce.  Cook until the rice cakes soften and the sauce starts to thicken, about 6 minutes.  Cut each fish cake into 8 triangles.  Add the fish cakes to the rice cake mixture and cook until heated through.  Add a little water if necessary to keep the sauce fluid.

Makes 4 servings

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