This recipe has been updated.
The restaurant’s recipe is included in the “Momofuku” cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan. “Ma po tofu was their point of departure,” Chang and Meehan wrote of the restaurant’s employees who created the dish, Tien Ho and Tim Maslow. “They melded it with a dish from the first late-night menu — rice cakes with a kinda-sorta-but-not-really Asian pork Bolognese sauce. The result isn’t Sichuan or Korean or Bolognese or anything, but it is very Momofuku. And banging.”
If you know anything about restaurant cooking, you know that the dishes can be pretty involved. (Letting restaurants prepare complex dishes that I don’t want to make at home is one of the main reasons I love dining out.) In keeping with my cooking ethos of simplicity being paramount, I stripped the original recipe down to its essence and added my own interpretation to create the one that I’m sharing with you here.
My version starts with cooking hot Italian sausage until it has surrendered its flavorful fat. Onion and garlic are then sauteed in the rendered pork fat. Next, kimchi, gochujang, toasted sesame oil and a little granulated sugar are added to form a quick, deeply flavorful sauce. Lastly, rice cakes are simmered directly in the sauce until tender and chewy, for a one-pot meal. Serve with packaged fried shallots — which aren’t exactly easy to find but worth hunting down — and sliced scallions to sprinkle on top for an extra jolt of flavor. The result is a quick, comforting meal that tantalizes the taste buds.
Korean Rice Cakes (Tteok) With Spicy Sausage and Kimchi
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Where to Buy: Kimchi and gochujang can be found in many well-stocked supermarkets or in Asian markets. Frozen and refrigerated Korean rice cakes (tteok) and packaged fried shallots can be found in Asian markets or online.
NOTE: Rice cakes may be sold in packages noting grams. You’ll need about 500 grams. Break apart any rice cakes that are stuck together before adding to the pan. Sliced rice cakes are also available, but this recipe has not been tested using them. If using frozen rice cakes, add 1 to 2 minutes to the cook time.
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- Generous 1 pound refrigerated cylindrical Korean rice cakes (tteok; see NOTE)
- 1 pound fresh hot Italian sausage, loose or casings removed if necessary
- 1 medium yellow onion (7 ounces), diced
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (7 ounces) napa cabbage kimchi
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Packaged fried shallots, for serving (optional)
- Sliced scallions, for serving (optional)
In a large bowl, add the rice cakes and enough water to cover by 1 inch and soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain.
In a large nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate, leaving the fat in the skillet.
Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring regularly, until the onions start to soften and brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
Add the cooked sausage, kimchi, water, gochujang, sesame oil and sugar, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the rice cakes, stir to combine and cook until the sauce thickens and the rice cakes are tender and heated through but still chewy, 3 to 6 minutes (see NOTE). Remove from the heat, spoon into bowls, sprinkle with fried shallots and/or scallions, if using, and serve hot.
Per serving (1 1/2 cups)
Calories: 605; Total Fat: 25 g; Saturated Fat: 11 g; Cholesterol: 61 mg; Sodium: 1039 mg; Carbohydrates: 72 g; Dietary Fiber: 15 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 16 g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.
Recipe from staff writer Aaron Hutcherson.
Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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An earlier version of this recipe did not include instructions for when to add the sausage into the dish.