So far in every recipe I’ve posted, I included rice cakes. But how can you resist them? This time I’ll be showing you how to make ddukbokkee, a popular Korean street food usually eaten as a snack, but upgraded a notch by adding ramyun. Take the first syllable of ‘ramyun’, which is ‘ra’ and then add it to bokkee, resulting the name ‘rabokkee’. Rice cake, fried fish paste, and an assortment of vegetables are simmered in a sauce made out of mainly broth, and chili paste (gochujang 고추장).
I know it might look a little intimidatingly red and spicy, but remember that you are the boss of your own rabokkee and you can make it as spicy, or as mild as you would like.
Let’s begin with the main ingredients you will be needing.
Fried fish paste is a must to ensure a nice, thick, savory broth. You’ll immediately notice that once you put the fish paste into the broth, it will richen the soup and turn milky white.
Rice cakes are of course the star of the show. I used a bowl of skinny rice cakes but traditionally, thicker rice cakes are used. For those of you who are a little short on time, thinner rice cakes will taste better because thicker rice cakes require more time for it to season.
Ramyun noodles of any kind will do, but because I like things a little bit spicy, I decided to use Shin Ramyun. Make sure you buy ramyun that is meant to have a broth, because we will be adding the powdered soup flavoring into the rabokkee.
I love using my yang-pun pot for these kinds of dishes; the pot is very thin so water boils quicker. These pots can be found at very cheap prices and come in all sizes. They work great to boil pasta quickly as well.
Now for the broth! You will need:
One pyogo mushroom (shiitake) cut in half, a long leaf of green onion, two dried sardines degutted and deheaded and put into a ‘sardine net’ (I don’t really know what it’s called…). I at first added water until it filled the pot halfway, but after I put the rice cakes in I realized that I put too much water in. I would recommend adding about three cups of water. Rabokkee does need more water than normal ddukbokkee because noodles really require more broth.
Put the ingredients in the water, then allow to boil for about five minutes. Then add:
One sheet of fried fish paste. Cut into triangles as seen above. You can cut into any shape you want, but a lot of ddukbokkee will have little traingles of fish paste… I don’t know why.
Boil for about fifteen minutes on high heat. Once you add the fish paste, as I stated above, the broth will turn a milky white color.
Add the rice cakes and lower the heat to low. Simmer for about ten minutes. The rice cakes really act as a natural thickener, so add more rice cakes for a thicker sauce.
Now for the seasoning!
Chili paste gives ddukbokkee its trademark color. There are less spicy versions of chili paste, but most of the chili paste in grocery stores aren’t that spicy at all.
Korean chili paste is known for its taste-bud slapping, strong, rather pungent flavor. It works incredibly well with seasoning meat as well.
Start with about a tablespoon, whirl it around, taste the broth, and add more if you would like.
I added about half a cup of chili paste and it wasn’t spicy enough for me, so later I added about two spoonfuls of chili pepper as well. I used a mesh strainer and chopsticks to help the paste melt into the broth.
Add one spoonful of cooking syrup or rice syrup- both can be found in all supermarkets and are essential in many Korean recipes.
The syrup looks like this.
A spoonful of syrup going in.
Then add one spoonful of soy sauce. In Korea there are two main different kinds of soy sauce we use in cooking- jin gan jang, and guk gan jang. Jin gan jang has a lot more stronger soy sauce flavor than guk gan jang. Guk gan jang is mainly used to season ‘guk’ which are soups, hence the name.
Because I like things spicy, I added one spoonful of coarse ground Korean chili powder. This is of course optional.
Now open the packet of ramyun. You will find two different little packets inside. The one above contains the powdered soup seasoning, while the packet on the bottom contains dried chili powder, mushrooms, and green onion. Throw away the bottom packet and open the powdered soup packet.
It will look like this. If you don’t like MSG, add only half of the packet, but if you want your rabokkee to taste better, add the whole thing. This soup packet is like a magical spell that makes everything taste better.
Simmer for about five more minutes and test a rice cake. It should be very soft and should be very well-seasoned.
Break the noodles in half so that they aren’t too long when cooked and add to the broth.
Add a heaping pile of cabbage into the mix. There are also two random bean sprouts that somehow got into the cabbage.
Crank up the heat to medium and boil until the noodles are cooked through.
Now take the whole pot, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, don’t even bother with plates, and dig right in. But for photo purposes:
I have to admit my rabokkee was a little on the runnier side, but that’s because I didn’t add enough rice cakes. I would add about two bowls instead of one if you really want a thick consistency, but I really didn’t mind because everything was well-seasoned.
Another photo at a different angle, because look at it, glistening under my fluorescent kitchen lights…
I hope you have enjoyed my recipe! Until next time! 🙂