Cookbook Corner: Soy Rice Cakes from Our Korean Kitchen
As I said in the introduction to my Korean Prawn Rice Bowl with Sesame Pak Choi, the food I cook for myself when I don’t have to work on any recipes for brands or the blog is Korean food. And the book that has been the most helpful to me in learning about Korean cooking and flavours, and in helping me re-produce some of my Koreatown favourites at home? The copy of Our Korean Kitchen I was gifted at the Observer Food Monthly Awards last year. So, today I thought I’d talk a bit about the book, and share a super simple, super delicious recipe I would not have even attempted if I had not been given an easy introduction to Korean cooking.
These are rice cakes. You can either get them in tube form like this, or in round cake form, either in the fridge (shrink wrapped) or frozen section of most Asian supermarkets. By themselves they’re basically a solid, flavourless starch, but coated with crispy chilli, or this sweet-and-unami honey-soy coating, they can become super addictive – great as a carb side to other Korean dishes, or served by themselves with the shredded lettuce, kimchee and Kewpie mayo piled on. Yes you need to go to the Asian grocery to seek them out, but all the other ingredients are pretty normal, and as I said, they’re addictive.
I’ve cooked so much from this book, and everything has been fantastic. If you don’t have an Asian grocery near you, there is so much in here you can do with basic supermarket ingredients, and even more if you just order some gochujang (Korean hot sauce) – or just get it in Waitrose or in Sainsbury’s, and some Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru red pepper). I’ve made the homemade kimchee which I love (a great project, especially if you can’t get any near where you like), but the ‘instant’ cucumber kimchee is my new favourite pickle. I basically live off of the Kimchee Fried Rice as my al time favourite comfort food, and you can see how delicious the pan fried prawns are here. I also made a pretty great beef stew. Basically, I love everything from this book.
So, shall we talk about the rice cakes? This serves about 4 as a side, and they don’t re-heat well, so cook for a feast. Alternatively, if you buy the frozen ones (or fresh rice cakes that have not been pre-frozen), just cook what you need and freeze the rest for later.
- 2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 200g Rice Cakes
- 2 tbsp Groundnut Oil
- 2 Spring Onions, finely chopped
- Toasted Black Sesame Seeds
Combine the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and mirin in a small bowl and set aside. Boil a pan of water, and add the rice cakes. Cook them until they float to the surface (like gnocchi) and drain. Set aside so you can get rid of as much excess water as possible.
Heat a very large pan or wok over a very high heat and add the groundnut oil. Add the rice cakes, and stir fry until they are brown and crispy. Add the sauce, and allow to bubble away until sticky, and coating the rice cakes. Serve the rice cakes with the sliced spring onions and sesame seeds sprinkled over the top.