Ever since I can remember, I have always loved rice cakes. If I don't have my rice cake every couple of months, I will crave it every day until I do, and mind you, I am not a pleasant person to be around until I get my fix! To satisfy my current craving, I decided to make the ultimate Korean street food, rabboki. This dish is a spin on ddukboki, mixing spicy rice cakes with ramen! Add some spam and you have comfort food at its best. You'll want to make a big batch of this dish, trust me!
Rabboki (Ddukbokgi with Ramen)
- 6 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon rice syrup
- 1 ½ tablespoon chili paste gochujang
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black bean paste
- 1 lb rice cakes
- 4 ounces fresh ramen noodles
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ can spam sliced and cut into triangles
- ½ onion sliced
- 3 carrots sliced on a bias
- Combine ingredients for the sauce from water - black bean paste in a small sauce pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Set aside.
- If using frozen rice cakes, soak in room temperature water for 30 minutes. Drain.
- Cook ramen noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain and shock in ice water. Drain again and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan. Add sliced spam and sear on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add onions and carrots. Saute until onion has softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spam, rice cakes and ramen to the pan. Pour sauce into the mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or until rice cakes have softened. Remove cover, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Rice cakes are the comfort food of Korean cuisine, and rightly so. They are dense, chewy, sweet, and spicy. They are great as a late-night snack, mid-afternoon, dinner, lunch, pretty much any time of the day.
You can find fresh or frozen rice cakes at most Asian stores. If you are using frozen rice cakes, soak them in room temperature water for 30 minutes. If you're using fresh rice cakes, make sure to purchase them on the day you're cooking them since they will dry and harden after 24 hours.
Rice cakes also come in different shapes including long cylindrical rice cakes and ovalettes. Typically, people cook ovalettes in soups and cylindrical shapes for stir-fried dishes.
You can make this dish vegetarian or add a salty protein like spam. Not a fan of spam? Try ham, pork belly, or even chicken!
Some of the sauce ingredients may sound foreign but they can all be found in local Asian markets. Gochujang is a Korean chili paste; depending on the brand, some may be spicier than others. The black bean paste is the same paste used to prepare the popular Chinese-Korean noodle dish, jja jang myun. Brown rice syrup is similar to corn syrup in that they are both sugaring agents; however, one is made from rice and the other from corn. If you can't find brown rice syrup, substitute it with corn syrup.
You can make ddukbogi spicy or non-spicy but rabboki is best spicy. The spiciness helps balance the heaviness of the dish.
Rabboki is my ultimate Korean comfort dish. I just can't resist a bowl of ramen noodles tossed with soft, chewy rice cakes, salty spam, sweet onions, and carrots in a spicy sauce. I'm drooling just thinking about it! If you never had Korean food before, this dish would be a great one to introduce you to the cuisine. Go ahead, give it a try!
For more Korean food inspiration check out this bossam recipe!