spicy rice cakes (dduk-bok-gi/떡볶이) are ubiquitous in korea. it is one of the most beloved snacks and you can find them everywhere. they even have a street in sin-sa-dong dedicated to it called ‘the street of dduk-bok-gi’.
dduk-bok-gi is one of my favorite dishes and its tied to so many of my childhood memories. i remember for my 7th birthday, my mom and her friends made a huge batch for me and my 20 of my friends. i remember looking forward to the trips to the market, because my brother and i will be guaranteed a dish of it at the small stall in front of the market entrance. they served it in a round, green plastic dish and you ate it with a toothpick. sadly, i learned they no longer serve it like that on my last trip back. it was half the fun. i remember rinsing the dduk (rice cake) in water for him, because it was so spicy he had a hard time with it. i remember squatting in the middle of the street with my mom on a random shopping trip to dong-dae-moon where a lady sat on a bucket and made the reddest, hottest and meanest giant dduk-bok-gi ever.
you can say it is my comfort food – as easily as i reach for a bowl of mac & cheese or a loaf of bread, i whip it up to serve my mid-night cravings. it’s a perfect mixture of spicy, sweet & chewy.
water (or broth for extra flavor)
dduk (rick cakes)
japchae gim-mal-ee (fried seaweed noodle rolls) : optional (a must for me)
odeng (fish cakes)
1 green onion
goh-choo-jang (red pepper paste)
sesame oil (optional)
sesame seeds (for garnish)
1. if your rice cakes are frozen, put them in a bowl of room temperature water for 10-15 minutes.
2. if your dumplings & seaweed rolls are frozen, fry them until golden brown. set aside.
3. cut carrot, onion and green onion. heat oil on a pan and stir fry carrot & onion until cooked.
4. add 2 cups of water and mix in red pepper paste and sugar. Mix.
5. add rice cake and fish cake. put on low heat until the sauce thickens.
6. add dumplings & seaweed rolls. mix.
7. add green onions.
8. garnish with sesame seeds and serve.