Thursday, January 26, 2012

떡뽂이 - Ddukbokki / 라볶이 Rabokki

For an updated, slightly prettier version, click over to my cheese ddukbokki recipe.

Ddukbokki is a snack dish made with rice cake. Rabokki is ddukbokki with ramen noodles stirred in. There are variations on the sauce; I've had spicy-sweet, with Korean hot pepper paste as the base, and I've had salty-sweet, with soy sauce as the base. I prefer the spicy.

2 cups water
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup Korean hot pepper paste
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 an 8 oz package of rice cakes (tube kind, not ovals; sometimes at the Korean market, you'll find fresh rice cake, which is so much better than the packaged kind)
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 pieces of Korean fish cake (odeng), roughly chopped
1/2 package of ramen noodles (Korean ramen noodles are best, the American kind doesn't have the same taste)

optional garnish:
1 egg, hard boiled
sesame seeds

** If you prefer your food less spicy, you can use 2 tablespoons of hot pepper paste and 2 tablespoons of ketchup instead.
Or if you want a completely non-spicy ddukbokki, you should abandon the fishcake and use beef (steak or stew meat cut up into little chunks) and use 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil instead of the hot pepper paste. Some more vegetables would be nice as well (like sliced carrots, broccoli, and/or squash). Maybe I will eventually do a post on this?

Before I start with the ddukbokki recipe, let me reveal my method for making the perfect hard boiled egg. My definition of a ruined hard boiled egg is that ugly green sulfur ring around the yolk and a horribly chalky center surrounded by rubbery whites (texture is way important to me!). The perfect hard boiled egg has a tender white with a lovely moist and bright yellow yolk.

Start the egg (or eggs) in a pot of cold water. The pot should be big enough so that the egg is (or eggs are) submerged completely. Put the pot on high heat and bring the water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, pop a lid on the pot and turn off the heat.

Set a timer to 8 minutes for what I call the ideal yolk. If you want a slightly runnier yolk, set your timer to 6 minutes or for a yolk that is completely set, 10 minutes.
Once the timer rings, drain the egg (or eggs) and run under some cold water for a minute or two. Fill pot with more cold water and let the egg (or eggs) sit for 5 minutes, or until completely cool.
The best technique for getting the shell of a hard boiled egg: tap the egg on a hard surface a few times on the tips as well as the "sides." (I put it in quotes since eggs are round and don't have flat surfaces to call sides).
Using your flattened hand, roll the egg back and forth to crack the shell in to even smaller pieces.
See? Lots and lots of little cracks.
Once you start peeling, the shell should just fall off in one big piece. Rinse off the naked egg under some cold water to make sure no tiny pieces of shell are stuck to the surface.
Split in half to reveal the perfect egg! See? No green sulfur ring, paste-like yolk (which I prefer over a powdery, chalky yolk), and the whites are super tender (think silken tofu vs. firm tofu for a texture comparison).
Anyway, back to the ddukbokki...
I started by soaking the rice cakes in some water. This will help to get them defrosted (I keep mine in the freezer until I'm ready to use so they don't get moldy) and rehydrated so they'll cook faster without getting gummy. I bought mini rice cake but it's all your preference. They also sell brown rice versions, if you're into that.
Then I got a wide, shallow pot on the stove and added the water, garlic, and hot pepper paste.
Once the hot pepper paste was dissolved, I chopped up the onion and fishcakes and added them to the pot along with the sugar.
Once the sugar had dissolved and the garlic was soft, I drained the rice cakes and added them to the pot and gave it a good stir. I let the rice cakes cook for about 7 minutes until they were cooked through (but still chewy). The rice cakes themselves will soak up a lot of liquid and the starch from the rice cakes will help thicken any leftover sauce.
Now, you can skip this step if you don't want ramen noodles in your ddukbokki, but I recommend that you do NOT skip it. I used half a package of ramen noodles but you can use a whole package if you love noodles. The goal is to just slightly parboil the noodles so when you add them to the ddukbokki pot, they'll cook up quickly.
I added the noodles to a pot of boiling water.
I stirred the noodles up with chopsticks just until they started to get soft and separate. Then I turned off the heat and drained the noodles immediately.
Then I rinsed the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking.
Once the rice cakes were soft, I added the noodles and stirred them into the sauce. You only need to cook for less than 1 minute to get the noodles soft and cooked through. Any longer and they'll overcook and turn gummy.
And to garnish, sprinkle with sesame seeds, add a few scallions, and plop on the hard boiled egg.

Serve and eat! This makes a great lunch or snack.


  1. Looks amazing! I'll try it tonight. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  2. Thanks! I hope you love it :)

  3. How should you defrost the rice cakes?

    1. Like I show above, soak them in water. An alternative is to leave them in the fridge overnight.


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