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Saucy Korean Rice Cakes

24 May

Most cravings have been easily satisfied by local restaurants with contactless curbside carry out with one exception: Korean BBQ.

With summer newly arrived, I’m sure galbi will be on the menu shortly. And we’ve got nothing but time on our hands and chefs sharing their tips in online videos, so why not make my own banchan, too?

Most recently, I was struck with a craving for the soft and chewy rice cakes and grabbed a bag from the Asian market last week along with a trio of smaller size gochujang sauces that’ll be great for my infrequent Korean cooking.

I scoured the interwebs for “easy rice cake recipe” and found many variations of the street snack, also known as tteokbokki, ddukbokki, ddeokbokki, or dukbokki. My impulse buy left me at home in quarantine with limited ingredients, so I improvised with what I had on hand. The result is a Vietnamese – Korean blend of this dish that I’m quite proud of.

Bowl of Korean rice cakes in pepper sauce with bok choy, shrimp, and cheese
Easy, comforting bowl of chewy goodness

Stir-fried Rice Cakes

  • 1 cup small rice cakes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 TB fish sauce
  • 1 TB dried shrimp
  • 2 TB gochujang paste
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 2 TB sugar (I split white and brown)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • Scallions
  • Optional: other veggies, seafood, cheese

If buying store bought, vacuum-packed rice cakes, cover them in water and soak for about 10 minutes.

Get the broth going by adding everything except the scallions and fresh vegetables. I have woodear mushrooms in the pantry and tossed some in at the beginning with the dried shrimp.

Other recipes used anchovy broth, kelp and other ingredients I don’t have on hand, and replaced with what I had (including the fish sauce, which I didn’t see in other recipes).

Once the broth is boiling, add the rice cakes and reduce to a light simmer, cooking for 10 minutes.

Add in additional vegetables you have on hand and cook until soft. Traditional calls for scallions, cabbage, fish cake, and kimchi. I added scallions and bok choy, and garnished with shrimp and fresh pickled ramp bulbs received from Number One Sons and The Farm at Sunnyside home delivery last week.

We’ve got lasagna on the menu, and I dipped into the mozzarella stash and melted some on top of mine (Anh doesn’t like cheese), which made for some fantastic cheese pulls and balanced flavors to the spicy-sweet broth.

Best served with an ice cold beer and children who are napping 😁

These ended up more saucey and left was plenty of delicious leftover broth that I saved for round two tomorrow.

Ginger Scallion Sauce – The Perfect Condiment

23 May

The first time I had this at Mark’s Duck House dim sum, I was in love. Better than any chimichurri or other condiment. “Sauce” doesn’t really cover it. More salsa-like. Anyway, make this and enjoy with chicken, steak, sauteed vegetables, rice and eggs at breakfast, anything.

Plate of chicken, rice with garlic ginger sauce, and roasted green vegetables)
A perfect, quick serve dinner.

Ginger Scallion Sauce

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1/2 cup ginger (approx 6″ root)
  • 2 garlic cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt (+more to taste)

Peel the ginger and cut into 1″ pieces before chopping in mini food processor. Remove to container and do the same with the scallions (green and white parts) and whole garlic cloves of using. Raw garlic will give this a bit more kick than it otherwise would have.

I didn’t have enough scallions on hand – hello 3 meals a day at home every day – so I used a small shallot to make up the difference.

Mix in the other ingredients and let sit for 10-15 minutes before re-seasoning.

Ginger garlic sauce in container

That’s it! Incredibly flavorful side that made our rotisserie chicken and simple roast vegetables and sauteed pea shoots (courtesy The Farm at Sunnyside) shine.

Spicy Miso Crab Carbonara

13 May

While scrolling through Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram Stories, I came across a quick pasta that had my stomach growling instantly. Though I’ve never been a fan of carbonara, the miso paste with chili garlic sauce piqued my attention.

In the COVID spirit of use-what-you-have, my mind blended her Spicy Miso Carbonara recipe with Bestia’s uni pasta (the stuff of food porn dreams). I neither had bacon or uni in my fridge, but I did have some leftover crab meat and Dungeness crab with loads of briny back fat.

With all credit to Chrissy Teigen, here’s my take on a super umami comfort overload pasta recipe:

Finished plate of fettuccine pasta with crab and shrimp garnished with parsley
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Cha Ca La Vong – Hanoi Style Fish with Turmeric and Dill

20 Apr

Chả cá lã vọng is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, and one that I’d never noticed before going to Vietnam. Hanoi to be exact. The bright colors and flavors are an instant mood booster and consistent crowd pleaser. I don’t know about you, but heading in to week six of being safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic has me craving all the bright and mood boosting things. Just look at these colors:

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