When you need something a bit greasy, spicy, and filling to undo whatever is left in your system from the night before, these easy rice cakes are the answer to your hangover prayers.
'rice cakes' on Serious Eats
This is how you should cook an updated version of the classic stir-fried rice cakes dish.
Rice cakes are my comfort food. They are the best cure I know for a lonely heart, a disgruntled outlook on life. Because they remind me of my mother and of home, they remain one of the few noodle dishes I do not make for myself. I want someone else to make them for me, and while in some cities this might be an unreasonable desire, I figured I had a decent chance of finding just the right bowl of rice cakes in Chinatown.
Don't expect smoky wok hei flavors here; instead look for light, tender, slightly sweet rice cakes fragrant with mild pickled cabbage and punctuated by quiet bites of pork and mushroom. Kudos to any restaurant that can make a plate of pasta, pork, and oil taste restorative.
Render bacon till really crisp, fry Korean rice cakes in the bacon fat, then stir fry half a head of napa cabbage in what's left. Combine everything together with enough gochujang to make a sauce for a meal that takes almost no effort but reaps boundless rewards.
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.
This Thursday is Lunar New Year, which, if you're Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, or just a festive person, means you'll probably be eating with friends and family. Lunar New Year doesn't have specific holiday foods, per se. Feasting with loved ones is the most important part! Here are recipes for rice cakes, dumplings, mochi, scallion pancakes, and more.
I've been infatuated with Korean cuisine for years now but never really understood rice cakes. They always seemed so mushy, bland, and covered in sweet sauce. But a recent midnight snack at a Korean bar changed everything. Instead of boiled, these were grilled, so they had that crackly outer layer, which gave way to a tender and succulent inside. They were also tossed with this fiery red sauce, which forced you to keep a drink close at hand.
What is a rice cake? Glutinous rice is pounded to a gluey, sticky mass, which is then formed into a variety of different shapes and sizes. Shape-wise, there are chubby and skinny, tall and short, round and oblong. Color-wise, they can be pale (made with white glutinous flour) or tan (made with brown rice). You'll find freshly cooked rice cakes, most frequently in cylindrical form, sold at some stores, though all Korean markets will carry refrigerated, pre-packaged rice cakes that must be boiled before use.
This recipe for Kimchi Stew with Rice Cakes from the Momofuku cookbook is addictively good. David Chang uses two-week old kimchi (fresh and crisp with a not-too-sour taste), any type of broth (he suggests pork; no big surprise given Momofuku's obsession with pork), and rice cakes made with glutinous rice.
Mmm, pretty rice cakes. Photograph from the Institute of Traditional Korean Food. When I was little, the term rice cake meant fat, round, mostly flavorless disks of puffed rice that I thought people only ate if they were on a diet. At some point this image left my mental food dictionary, and now rice cakes can only mean the soft, squidgy Asian variety made of pounded glutinous rice transformed into sweet and savory dishes. Growing up in a Chinese family with an affinity for Japanese cuisine, I've tried a variety of Chinese and Japanese rice cakes, but Korean rice cakes—in particular the sweet varieties—have been off my radar until now. In Korea, different kinds of rice cakes, or tteok...