Korean Rice Cakes (Tteok) With Spicy Sausage And Kimchi
30 minutes 4 servings (makes about 6 cups)
I was introduced to Korean rice cakes, a.k.a. tteok, at Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York around 2013. Of all the dishes I enjoyed during my tenure there, the one that I think about most often was Ssam Bar’s spicy pork sausage and rice cakes. I fell in love with the bouncy chew of tteok, a texture I hadn’t really encountered before, and loved the layers of spice in the dish and how it was packed with flavor. This recipe is an homage to that.
The restaurant’s recipe is included in the “Momofuku” cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan.
My version starts with cooking hot Italian sausage until it has surrendered its flavorful fat. Onion and garlic are then sauteed in the rendered pork fat. Next, kimchi, gochujang, toasted sesame oil and a little granulated sugar are added to form a quick, deeply flavorful sauce. Lastly, rice cakes are simmered directly in the sauce until tender and chewy, for a one-pot meal. Serve with packaged fried shallots — which aren’t exactly easy to find but worth hunting down — and sliced scallions to sprinkle on top for an extra jolt of flavor. Storage notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Where to buy: Kimchi and gochujang can be found in well-stocked supermarkets or in Asian markets. Frozen and refrigerated Korean rice cakes (tteok) and packaged fried shallots can be found in Asian markets or online.
Generous 1 pound refrigerated cylindrical Korean rice
cakes (tteok; see Note)
1 pound fresh hot Italian sausage, loose or casings removed if necessary
1 medium yellow onion (7 ounces), diced
⁄4 teaspoon fine salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (7 ounces) Napa cabbage kimchi
1 cup water
2 tablespoons gochujang
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Packaged fried shallots, for serving (optional)
Sliced scallions, for serving (optional)
In a large bowl, add the rice cakes and enough water to cover by 1 inch and soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain. (This step is optional.)
In a large nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate, leaving the fat in the skillet.
Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring regularly, until the onions start to soften and brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
Add the kimchi, water, gochujang, sesame oil and sugar, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the rice cakes, stir to combine and cook until the sauce thickens and the rice cakes are tender and heated through but still chewy, 3 to 6 minutes (see Note). Remove from the heat, spoon into bowls, sprinkle with fried shallots and/or scallions, if using, and serve hot.
Note: Rice cakes may be sold in packages noting grams. You’ll need about 500 grams. Break apart any rice cakes that are stuck together before adding to the pan. Sliced rice cakes are also available, but this recipe has not been tested using them. If using frozen rice cakes, add 1 to 2 minutes to the cook time.
Nutrition information per serving (11⁄2 cups) | Calories: 605; Total Fat: 25 g; Saturated Fat: 11 g; Cholesterol: 61 mg; Sodium: 1039 mg; Carbohydrates: 72 g; Dietary Fiber: 15 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 16 g