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Learn to cook Korean: Spicy rice cakes

January 28, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

Hello world!

This is Jee Soo Lee, here to introduce all of you to the awesomeness of Korean food. I am focusing on some simple stuff, things you can cook Korean food right there in your residence hall and share with your friends! So today, let’s begin with 떡볶이 (pronounced Ddeok-bok-gi) meaning stir fried rice cake).

Here’s what you need:

1. Rice cake (these longer ones are typically what we use for this dish, but the sliced ones are just as fine)

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2. Pepper paste

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3. Sugar

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4. Soy sauce

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5. If you want, you can add all kinds of extra ingredients to make the dish more interesting  and flavourful, including but not limited to:

  • Pork
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Eggs (You would need to boil these separately and peel before adding to the dish)

Okay, so here we go!

1. Make sure your rice cakes are soft and ready to go. If your rice cakes feel hard, let them sit in warm water for a few minutes before cooking them.

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2. While the rice cake gets ready, wash and cut other ingredients.

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3. Now get rid of the water you let the rice cakes sit in. Then add new water. It should be just enough to cover the rice cakes.

4. Turn on the stove, and add the sauce that accompanies the pack of rice cakes.

5. This is the important part so be aware! Add pepper paste, sugar, and soy sauce in the proportion of 2:1:1

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6. Well, I am a typical Korean and I love spicy food, so I added powdered pepper.

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As my preference shows, the proportion of sugar and spice is actually really up to you.If you like spicy, add more pepper paste, if you like sweet, add more sugar. Whatever fits your appetite is the best sauce for you!

7. Stir, stir, stir until it boils. Stir well enough, or the rice cakes are going to stick to the pot and give you a hard time later.

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8. Now, you can add any of the extra ingredients you wish. For this part, you can use up all those veggies and meats lying around in your fridge/kitchen – it doesn’t matter much, what you put.

9. I added pork first. Add more water if necessary. And then I added all my veggies.

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10. Finally, stir, stir, stir, until it’s ready.

Wait, how do you know it’s ready? Just remember two things:
- One, all the ingredients are cooked.
- Two, the sauce is thick and there’s definitely not enough sauce to sink all the ingredients.

11. Your final product would look something like this!

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See how the rice cakes don’t really look very white anymore? This means the sauce seeped into them well and that it’s going to taste awesome! Well, I had my Taiwanese friend and two local friends at my residential college taste the dish and they all approved of it. Wherever you are from, this is a simple recipe worth trying some time. So go ahead and try it in your residence halls, pantries, kitchens, induction cookers – and tell me how your turned out in the comments below!

Special thanks to Joanne, my dearest friend who helped with cooking, taking pictures, having an amazing time in HKU! And thank you to Sally and Rachel for the objective tasting.

Until next time, Annyeong!

By Lee Jee Soo
Year 1 Student
From South Korea



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