Ever since I can remember, I have always loved rice cakes. One of the main reasons that I want to visit Korea is to try fresh rice cakes…aside from visiting the tourist spots, of course. 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!
**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. Ask any Korean on the street about rice cakes, and they will be able to share their nostalgic memories of their mother preparing this dish.
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. On the other hand, use the fresh rice cakes immediately before it begins to dry and harden.
Rice cakes also come in different shapes including long cylindrical rice cakes and ovalettes. Typically, most people cook ovalettes in soups and the 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!
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 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. I had a special request to put chive wontons into the dish (carbs on carbs on carbs!) so I added them in for good measure.
Rabboki is my ultimate Korean comfort dish. Ramen noodles with soft, chewy rice cakes with salty spam, sweet onions, and carrots all cooked 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!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.