24 January 2010

Momofuku's Roasted Rice Cakes

Momofuku Roasted Rice Cakes (with title)
We now interrupt my usual story or philosophical rant for a (and here we substitute my Oprah-yelling voice) GIVEAWAAAAAAAAY! Duncan and I are giving away a copy of acclaimed book... MOMOFUKUUUUUUU! by David CHa-AAAAAANG!

Before the rest of my chatter: head on over to The Gastronomer's Bookshelf to find out how to participate. Also, check out my newest review, for Momofuku! (You can also check out our archive page to read all our reviews so far.)

I'll start with the most important food book of my life: Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé. I know I haven't posted very many recipes from it and I rarely mention it, but when I was just an intern on my last year in medical school who didn't know how to cook, I envied the ridiculously beautiful creations people were making from this book and posting on the eGullet forums. I wanted to make desserts just as dreamy as they did. I guess it must have been fate, because the bookstore next to the hospital had a ripped copy for only about $10. I snatched it and fantasized over every single full-page photo. A few months after I graduated, I gathered all my courage to try my first cake recipe: The Faubourg Pavé. I guess you could call it my initiation into patisserie. And I've never looked back.
(This is for the Momofuku giveaway by The Gastronomer's Bookshelf).

(Obviously I'm just setting my own example, as I'm not winning the book ;)

Ahem. I hope you'll participate because I really, really want to know what your greatest cookbooks and food books are. And, well, I couldn't be prouder of my second baby, The Gastronomer's Bookshelf, where we're slowly building a great network of thoughtful, talented reviewers for everything from cookbooks for busy cooks to professional textbooks and food-related literature. I'm proud of every single one of our reviews and even though people may not always agree with our reviewer's opinion of a book, we make sure that each one is helpful and informative. Cos let's face it, there are a TON of cookbooks out there!


I just love the Korean paste products. The color coding is so helpful for people who can't read Korean (red = gochujang, brown = doenjang, green = ssämjang). When I saw this picture in the book, I knew I had to make it. The sweet and spicy flavors of Korean food is a marriage made in heaven for me. Just the tickling my taste buds needed! It's also my first time to use Korean rice cake sticks (logs). They're similar to the disc-shaped ones. They kind of remind me of very chewy, soft, bland gnocchi that lend themselves nicely to such a flavorful sauce. I hope you give it a try!

The bowl, by the way, is from iittala and was a birthday gift from Duncan. Gorgeous, isn't it?

Momofuku Roasted Rice Cakes (close-up)
Roasted Rice Cakes adapted from Momofuku
This looks a little more involved than my usual cooking recipe (we won't talk about the baking for now), but really, the only thing that takes long is roasting the onion. I accomplished that the night before, an hour before going to bed (and I was playing a video game while doing it, standing up every few minutes), so I could breeze through the dish when I woke up. The sauce and the rice cakes are no-brainers.

Red Dragon Sauce
  • 60g (1/4 cup) water
  • 50g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 180g (6 tablespoons) ssämjang (Korean seasoned/chili bean paste)
  • 15g (1 tablespoons) light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or more to taste)
In a small saucepan over high heat, stir together the water and sugar until it boils and all the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Stir in the ssämjang, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil until combined.

Roasted Onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • pinch of salt
In a small, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the onion (don't be alarmed if it's piled up high) and let it cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Toss the onions while seasoning with salt. Toss the onions, redistributing the ones caramelizing below every 3 minutes for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and stir and toss the onions every 10 minutes for 50 minutes, or until uniformly caramelized and nearly mushy. You can use them immediately let them cool and store in the fridge for a week.

Rice Cakes
  • 60g (1/4 cup) mirin
  • 60g (1/4 cup) ramen broth (I used chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup (or the whole recipe above) Red Dragon Sauce
  • 1/4 cup (or the whole recipe above) roasted onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 500g (1/2 package, or 6 long) rice cake sticks (like these, in the freezer section)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 50g (1/2 cup, greens and whites) sliced scallions
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the mirin and broth to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the red dragon sauce. Reduce until thick and glossy, about 7 minutes. Add the roasted onions, stir to combine, and turn off the heat.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until smoking, then add the rice cakes and reduce the heat to medium. Sear the rice cakes about 3 minutes a side or until light golden brown all over. Transfer them to a cutting board and cut into 2-3cm (1 inch) lengths.

Turn the heat back on under the sauce and heat until boiling. Toss in the rice cakes and sesame seeds for a few seconds. Serve hot with the sliced scallions on top.

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