Saturday, February 13, 2010

Roasted Rice Cakes

Recently Alex showed me a blog called Momofuku for 2 where someone named Steph from Vancouver is making every single recipe in the Momofuku cookbook.  It's very Julie & Julia, but it is unbelievably fabulous.  Steph takes beautiful pictures of the recipes, documenting every step of the cooking process.  It is blogs like hers that make me realize how great an amateur food blog can really be.  And it also makes me wish that I had the free time to cook labor-intensive recipes like that every evening.  If you love food, and you love Momofuku, you really need to check out her blog.  It really is THAT good.

Steph's blog inspired me to finally get off my ass and make David Chang's recipe for Roasted Rice Cakes from the Momofuku cookbook as part of my Chinese New Year all Asian-inspired menu.  However, seeing as I didn't have the time full roast the onions for the recipe, a process which is supposed to take approximately 50 minutes, or to make the Ramen Broth, which requires 4 pounds of chicken and 5 pounds of meaty pork bones plus a ton of other ingredients and takes at least an hour, I made a much lazier/simpler version of the rice cakes.  For me, David Chang's cookbook is a lot like Jean-Georges Vongerichten's.  I love to look at it, but I rarely ever make anything from it.  Chang and Peter Meehan's prose is amazing.  I love reading them babble on just about everything.  But when I take the cookbook off the shelf to try to figure out what to cook for dinner, I almost always have to put it right back on the shelf once I realize that I am missing at least 2-3 ingredients, plus I don't have 3 hours in which to cook dinner.  Oh well.  I love the cookbook anyway.

These Roasted Rice Cakes are heavy and very filling, but very tasty.  They are also sweet enough that I could only eat so much - maybe half to two-thirds of the portion I had originally served myself.  The sauce does have savory notes, but considering the Korean Red Dragon Sauce starts with simple syrup and the rice cakes are tossed with seriously caramelized onions, it would be hard for the savory notes to outweigh the sweet.  If I had made the recipe as written from start to finish there might have been more savoriness to cut the sweetness, so I can't lay the blame at the cookbook's feet.  There's always next time!

Recipes after the jump!

Roasted Rice Cakes
Adapted from Momofuku
By David Chang and Peter Meehan

1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Korean Red Dragon Sauce (recipe below)
1/4 cup roasted or very caramelized, thinly sliced onions
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
16 oz. round Korean rice cakes
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 scallions, greens and whites, sliced on the bias

To make the sauce combine mirin and chicken stock in a large saucepan over high heat.  Boil to reduce slghtly, about 2-3 minutes.  Add Red Dragon Sauce, reduce heat to medium, and reduce sauce to a glossy consistency, about 6-7 minutes.  Stir in onions.  Cover sauce and keep warm over very low heat until the rice cakes are ready.

While the sauce is reducing, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Make sure that your skillet is very clean or the rice cakes will pick up all of the schmutz from the pan.  Add the oil to the pan until hot, but not smoking.  Add rice cakes.  They will sizzle when they hit the oil.  Reduce heat to medium.  Sear the rice cakes for about 3 minutes per side, until light golden brown all over.

Bring the sauce back up to a boil and toss the rice cakes in the sauce until they are evenly coated.  Sprinkle rice cakes with sesame seeds and toss again.  Divide rice cakes among 4 bowls.  Garnish with sliced scallions and serve immediately.

Korean Red Dragon Sauce
By David Chang and Peter Meehan

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup ssamjang
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Asian sesame oil

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Stir in ssamjang.  Stir in soy, vinegar, and sesame.  Taste the sauce.  Add more of any ingredient to taste.


  1. omg...her blog is part of the reason I want to make a blog! hahaha

  2. i know! i am obsessed! she takes the best pictures of everything. i'm super jealous.

  3. This looks like something I eat in a Korean restaurant in Boston. It is made from the oval rice cakes and contains some sliced fish cake too. Just sayin'.

    BTW, I just discovered your blog and am looking at almost every single recipe. I don't think I've ever been more inspired or impressed. (I guess the translation is that our ideas re food are very much in synch.) As soon as my cookbooks and I get moved, I will try some of your variations.

    Jean B./Mass.

  4. Jean, thanks for your comment! I really appreciate it. I am glad that you're enjoying the blog. And I hope that you have enjoyed all of my recipes that you have tried!