Rice cakes are gelatinous, chewy, and a bit of an acquired taste, but mostly an acquired texture. Rice cakes don’t have a lot of flavour on their own since they are made from rice. Usually Korean rice cakes are found in soups or in dok boki, a Classic Korean dish that tosses boiled rice cakes with a red spicy sauce.
I’ve had dok boki in Korean restaurants before, and even though I like the chewy rice cake texture, eating more than one or two of them isn’t really my thing. After a while they start to feel too heavy, too gelatinous. I think it’s the monotony of the texture of the dish; there are no real contrasts.
Roasted rice cakes are different because of the roasting. Roasting them in oil in a cast iron skillet crisps up the rice cake giving it a toasty, crunchy outside and a soft, chewy inside. It’s an addictive combination and much better than boiled. Mike and I tried some of the roasted cakes right out of the pan and they were delicious just like that.
The cakes were delicious plain, but they were even better when you tossed them in that signature red sauce. Chang’s sauce is made up of Korean Red Dragon sauce, roasted onions, mirin, and ramen broth.
Sweet and spicy, crisp and chewy, this dish is answers all my complaints about the monotony of dok boki. If my version is this good, I’m definitely ordering this when I visit Noodle Bar again!
Note: Rice cakes are called mochi in Japanese and they do an awesome grilled mochi of their own: isobe maki mochi. Mochi is grilled until puffy and golden brown, wrapped up in seaweed and drizzled with shoyu. It’s quick and tasty, if you don’t have time to make all the Momofuku sauces.