Non-Spicy Ddukbokki

Last week I did a post on rabokki and mentioned how you can make it non-spicy. The original ddukbokki (by original, I mean the first one ever made) was actually a non-spicy one but spicy one took off and became super popular because it's cheaper (fishcake is cheaper than beef) and who doesn't love spice? However, the non-spicy kind has its place as well and I decided that it was better to show than to tell so here's a post.

Ingredients [serves 4]:
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (just a few drops will suffice)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 lb sirloin tip steak - at Costco, they call it "flap meat," (which always makes me laugh); you can use regular sirloin steak
1/2 an 8 oz. package of tube rice cakes (I used what was leftover from last week)
1 onion, sliced
1 cup baby carrots, cut in half - or you could julienne 1 regular carrot
2 scallion stalks, cut into fourths

Here's the marinade for the meat, which also serves as the sauce for the ddukbokki
I sliced the meat into bite-sized pieces, cutting against the grain so the meat would be tender and easily chewable.

I tossed the meat in the marinade and let it sit for at least half an hour.

In the meantime, I soaked the rice cakes in water to defrost and hydrate them.
I prepared the vegetables by cutting the onion into half moons and splitting the baby carrots in half. I buy baby carrots because my dog loves carrots so I let him snack on them.

I used the same shallow, wide pan that I did for the spicy ddukbokki and put it over a medium-high flame. Once it was searing hot, I added in the meat and any remaining marinade and juices.. A searing hot pan will ensure that the meat doesn't immediately "stew" in its own moisture. That's v. important for this because there's a lot of liquid going in the pan in the beginning. You want the meat to get some color before the moisture steams the meat too much.
I added in the onions right away. This way, they'd cook in the sauce and pick up all of the flavors.
I knew I was in good shape when I saw a lot of juices forming at the bottom of the pan. The juice is what's going to cook the rice cake. If you don't have any liquid in the bottom of your pan, add in anywhere between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. It should be just enough water to coat the bottom of the pan. Too much and you'll rinse the marinade off of the meat and it won't be as flavorful.
Once the meat was fully cooked, I added in the carrots. I don't like to add the carrots with the onion because I can't stand overcooked carrots. They're too mushy.
Then I drained the rice cakes and added them to the pan.
I tossed all of the ingredients and made sure the rice cakes were coated in the sauce. I covered the pan with a lid so that the rice cakes could steam and get heated through.
Once the rice cakes were done, I added scallions on top. If you're unsure whether or not your rice cakes are cooked through, just taste it! Most of the liquid should be gone at this point and the sauce should be slightly thickened as well.

YUM! The meat and sauce are salty but since the rice cakes are so thick, they're not salty at all so the ingredients complement each other v. nicely.


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