HANJAN’S SPICY RICE CAKES (TTEOKBOKKI)
1 lb (454 g) precut frozen rice
cakes, or 1 lb (454 g) fresh rice cakes, cut into 2- to 3-inch
(5- to 8-cm) long batons
2 large eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
1 tsp (5 ml) salt, plus more to taste
1 tbsp (15 ml) vinegar (any kind)
2 cups (500 ml) dashi, plus
more if needed
1/2 medium onion, minced 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (250 ml) gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) 2 tbsp (30 ml) sugar
1 tbsp (15 ml) gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
Salt if needed
1/2 cup (125 ml) grapeseed or canola oil
1/2 lb (225 g) fish cakes, cut into batons the same size as the rice cakes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced 1/2 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) batons
1. If you are using frozen rice cakes, soak them in cold water for 1 hour after cutting. Fresh rice cakes can be used straight from the package.
2. To prepare the soft-boiled eggs, add enough water to a small pot to cover the 2 eggs. Set over high heat, add the baking soda, salt and vinegar, and bring to a boil. (The baking soda makes it easier to peel the soft-boiled eggs and the vinegar will help centre the yolks.)
3. Add the eggs and wait until the water starts to boil again, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook for 6 minutes.
4. While the eggs cook, prepare an ice bath. When they are cooked, immediately transfer the eggs to the ice bath. Chill for 5 minutes, or until they are cool enough to peel.
5. Carefully peel the eggs. Slice lengthwise in half, sprinkle the yolks lightly with salt and set aside.
6. To make the sauce, put the dashi in a medium pot set over high heat. Bring to a boil and boil to reduce the volume by half, 15-20 minutes.
7. Add the onion, garlic, gochugaru, sugar and gochujang, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the onions are tender and the flavours have come together. Taste and add salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and reserve.
8. Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat and when it just begins to smoke, add the rice cakes. Cook, turning the rice cakes occasionally, until they are crispy on all sides but have not browned much, 8-10 minutes; lower the heat if necessary.
9. Add the fish cakes, onions and scallions, increase the heat to high and toss with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, until everything is heated through.
10. Add the sauce and stir
2-3 minutes so the oil emulsifies with the sauce. It should be thick enough to coat the rice cakes, but you may need to add a little more dashi or water if it reduces too much and starts to burn.
11. Serve family-style on a large plate, garnished with the softboiled eggs.
Rice cakes are “probably the most popular street food in Korea,” says chef Hooni Kim.