One of my wife's favorite meals at the local Korean market is a simple dish of rice cakes in a bright red sauce. The rice cakes are tender to the touch and the sauce alternates between unbearably fierce and pleasantly sweet. I've made a version at home before, but I was looking for a humbler approach, one that wouldn't require a solid hour in the kitchen. This recipe from My Korean Kitchen works perfectly.
The hardest part about this recipe is tracking down the ingredients. Obviously, a Korean market is your best bet, but if you're not blessed with one nearby, it might require some searching. Luckily, once you have everything, it's an absolute breeze.
All you need is a hot wok and some vigorous stirring to get this done. This version doesn't have quite the same amount of complexity as a few of the other recipes I've tried, but it's much easier to pull together. Also, thanks to the cabbage and onion, it feels a little more rustic and satisfying.
- ⅓ cup water
- 4 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Korean chili powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, ends trimmed, chopped into 1-inch lengths
- 4 leaves cabbage, sliced into 1-inch lengths
- 1 ¼ pounds rice cakes, broken
- 4 sheets Korean fish cake, cut into 3-inch by 1-inch rectangles
Mix together the water, gochujang, sugar, chili powder, and garlic in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Place a wok over high heat. When smoking, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. When the oil begins to smoke, add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until onion is lightly browned and soft, three to four minutes. Add the cabbage. Cook, stirring often, until it softens, about two minutes.
Add the rice cakes, making sure to separate them so they don’t stick together. Also add the fish cakes, and the gochujang sauce. Stir well and let the sauce reduce until it coats the rice cakes, about two minutes Add the scallions and stir well. Let this cook for another minute. At this point the rice cakes should be tender. Serve immediately.