Monday, June 26, 2017

Rabokki (Ramen + Ddukbokki)...

Equals RIdiCuLous DEliCiousNess... To ddukbokki (uber popular spicy Korean rice cakes) aficionados and ramen lovers, there couldn't be a better combination. Eyeing this very dish being slurped and devoured by a young boy across our table in a hole-in-a-wall Korean eatery, my kids and I returned our gaze to our rather plain ddukbokki and wished we ordered that one! No worries, I told them, mama's got you! And just like that, the shared moment of silent wishful gaze became a fulfilled desire at our family table. As it skillet-simmers over the stove, the umami sauce turns creamy and the rice cakes soften and becomes addictively chewy. Throw in curly whirly hearty Korean instant noodles and you've got a match made in heaven!

Rabokki (Ramen + Ddukbokki- Spicy Rice Cakes)
Makes 4 to 6 Servings

5 cups of water
10 large size dried anchovies, with heads and intestines removed
6 x 8 inch dried kelp
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, halved and sliced
3 green onions, cut into 2-inch long pieces
½ pound fried fish cakes, many shapes and sizes to choose from, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound of cylinder shaped rice cake, best to buy fresh at a Korean supermarket
3 Tbsp. Korean hot pepper paste
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. each soy sauce and fish sauce
hard boiled eggs (optional)

2 packages of Korean instant ramen (Korean-style is thicker to hold up in heartier sauce)

Vegetarian Option: Use dried shiitake mushrooms and steep along with the dried kelp.

Steep anchovies and kelp in a pot or bowl with the water for an hour or more. If desired, you can boil the contents in a pot for 15 minutes, strain anchovies and kelp and keep the broth.

Separate each rice cake before cooking, or it can form a sticky clump. Detaching rice sticks is a great activity your kids can help with. 

My son never fails to swarm me during ddukbokki-making sessions, looking to help! I gladly oblige.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet over medium heat and saute onions for two minutes; add the carrots and cook for another two minutes before adding the green onions to stir-fry for one and then the fish cakes. Add the broth.

Usually Korean instant noodle packages contain a packet of dried vegetables along with the seasoning. I used two so I add those in. Save the seasoning packets for another use.

Bring to a boil and add the rice cakes. Return the mixture to a boil again, then add the pepper paste. Add one tablespoon at a time and taste to find your ideal spice level. Add the rest of the seasoning, tasting and adjusting the flavours as you go. 
Meanwhile, prepare the ramen in a separate pot. Cook until 75% done or al dente.

Add the ramen with the ddukbokki mixture. Toss in the skillet and simmer for 30 seconds before serving. The liquid is meant to be saucy, not thinly prepared like soup in a bowl of ramen. But add a little more water to desired texture.

What should I eat first? Ddukbokki or ramen?

Now go to town my sons... NOM NOM!

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