The Momofuku roasted rice cakes recipe is something that instantly sends me back to my days as a kid, sitting around our big black table and indulging in the spicy, sticky and gooey dish. As David Chang puts it in the Momofuku cookbook, “Korean kids are raised on (rice cakes) like cows on corn.” Some of you may not know that I am half Korean, which is why this was a popular and re-occurring dish in our house when we were kids. Funnily enough, the above bowl of Chang’s delicious roasted rice cakes was served (and shot) on the very same black dining table. One that sits proudly in my adult home — thank you parents!
On New Year’s Eve my boyfriend DJ’d at Momofuku in Toronto. Always looking for a theme to my dinner parties, I took this as an opportunity to explore the Momofuku cookbook sitting on my shelf. Before the big night out I prepared a huge Momofuku feast for my girlfriends that involved steamed pork buns, delicious noodles, and these spicy roasted rice cakes. I was absolutely smitten with this dish and so impressed with how well it turned out. Slightly different from what my mom would prepare, these rice cakes were pan fried before getting smothered in the delicious ‘Korean red dragon sauce.’ I’ve always been used to super soft and gooey cakes, but I was delighted by the addition of a bit of crisp texture added to this dish.
If you’re up for trying a traditional and comforting Korean dish, look no further. Here’s what you need:
Roasted Rice Cakes:
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup Ramen Broth (you can also use a regular broth of your choice for convenience)
1/2 cup Korean Red Dragon Sauce (recipe below)
1/4 cup Roasted Onions (you could follow Chang’s recipe but honestly just sautee your onions in a bit of oil and salt for long enough that they are soft and clear with charred edges)
2 tablespoons Grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 tablespoon Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Sliced Scallions (greens and whites)
1. Make the sauce: Combine the mirin and (ramen) broth in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the rice cakes later and put it on the stove over high heat. (Note: Get fresh rice cakes if you can, otherwise if they are hard or frozen boil them for a bit first.) Boil to reduce until lightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the red dragon suace, turn the head down to medium, and reduce the sauce to a glossy consistency, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the roasted onions. Cover and keep warm over very low heat until the rice cakes are ready.
2. While the sauce is reducing, heat a large (at least 12-inc) cast-iron skillet over med-high heat until hot. Add the oil to the pan, and just when it’s about to smoke, add the rice cakes. They should sizzle when they hit the oil, which point you can drop the heat down to medium. Sear the rice cakes for about 3 minutes per side, until they’re lightly golden brown: you want to brown them, but don’t overdo it, or they will dry out. Transfer the rice cakes to a cutting board and cut them into fifths.
3. Bring the sauce back up to a boil and toss the rice cakes in it just for a few seconds, until they’re eenly coated, Sprinkle them with the sesame seeds and toss again, then divide the sauced rice cakes among bowls. Garnish each serving with a few large pinches of sliced scallions and serve hot.
Korean Red Dragon Sauce (makes about 1 1/4 cups):
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Korean fermented bean and chile sauce, or more to taste
2 tbsp light soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tsp Sherry Vinegar, or more to taste
1 tsp Sesame Oil, or more to taste
Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes, then stir in the red paste to dissolve it. Stir in the soy, vinegar, and sesame and taste the sauce: no flavour should stand out, but all should be present and accounted for. Adjust as necessary.