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DIY Food

{make it} roasted korean rice cakes…



I was first introduced to Korean food in the 5th grade from some of my best childhood friends. I'd go over to their house after school to do homework, and we'd feast on their mom's home cooking of leftover's from the night before. I had grown up on Thai food from my parents, so this new kind of Asian cuisine was a fun departure from what I was used to. Little did I know that six years later, in 11th grade, these same friends would be the reason I'd meet my future husband, Bob…and have a life full of great Korean food through him and my extended family.

One of my favorite Korean dishes of all time is Dok Boki…rice cakes cooked in a spicy sauce. It's hard to find at the average Korean restaurant or Korean BBQ place as it's often considered a bar food best served with beer. So anytime I can find it, it's instantly part of my order. The combination of spicy, sweet, savory, and chewy gets me every time. Earlier this year, I had the best Dok Boki I've ever had at Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York. While I never thought anything could beat my mother-in-law's version, I love this one a tiny bit more simply because the rice cakes are grilled which adds one more layer of texture on top of everything else!

The other night, I had a serious hankering for Dok Boki, so we whipped some up with the ingredients we had on hand using David Chang's recipe from the Momofuku cookbook. We didn't have everything specified in the recipe so some were left out, and it still turned out super tasty. If you have the book, we basically just made the red dragon sauce. Here's how…

You'll need:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup ssämjang {Korean fermented bean chile sauce usually comes in a red rectangular tub. Update…just realized we used Gochujang which is a bit more spicy and more concentrated because we didn't have ssämjang}

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar {didn't have sherry so we used white balsamic vinegar}

1 teaspoon of Asian sesame oil

2 tablespoons of grape seed oil

Rice Cake Sticks {we used the frozen tubular kind}

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

optional: 1/4 roasted onions {didn't have onions but I'd add this next time}

Here's how:

— Make the sauce by bringing the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes, then stir in the ssämjang to dissolve it. Stir in the soy, vinegar, and sesame oil and taste the sauce. No one flavor should stand out, but all should be present and accounted for. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

— If you have frozen rice cakes, cook in boiling water for a few minutes until al dente but not too soft {They'll continue to cook when grilled}. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the grapeseed oil to pan, and add rice cakes just when it's about to smoke. They should sizzle when they hit the oil, then drop heat to medium. Sear for 3 minutes per side until a light golden brown.

— Bring the sauce back to a boil and toss the rice cakes in the sauce for a few seconds until evenly coated. Divide rice cakes into bowls and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Remember, this dish is spicy and best served and enjoyed with other more mild dishes!


{photo by Oh Joy, recipe adapted from Momofuku cookbook}


  1. SOUNDS scrumptious!
    Hmm. I may have to try that.
    I am a HUGE lover of food and thrive off travelling and tasting new flavours…
    Thanks for sharing that with us!

  2. Yum! My good friend and roommate in college started dating (and is now married to) a Korean guy. To impress him she made this dish in huuuuge quantities. He was impressed and I was super happy because I got to eat the left overs for days.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe – I might have to try making it myself sometime.

  3. ohmygosh, i LOVE dok boki!!!! i was introduced to it in middle school from a korean friend, and have always looked for this dish in korean restaurants, which is never on the menu. yay, now i have the recipe. thank you!

  4. Joy, my college roommate freshman year was Korean. She used to make me things all the time, but she either wouldn’t tell me what she was feeding me, or I’d forget what it was called within the week. She used to make this sometimes, and I’d completely forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me (and telling me what it’s called)!

  5. Ssamjang will bring it a deep flavor but gochoojang (like leslie mentioned) will bring it even spicier and the traditional way. I also like adding dried anchovies (sounds disgusting but so good) in the broth and then remove it before I add more ingredients.

  6. nice joy
    You ever try frozen rice cakes sticks as a sweet snack? Pan fry the rice cakes in a little oil until crisp on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. Sprinkle with a little sugar and toss to coat. Instant warm, sweet, crispy and chewy snack. YUM! I’m hungry.

  7. This is definitely something with a taste that creeps up on you. At first I didn’t care for it at all. Ate half of a serving, threw the rest out. (I know!) Now I randomly crave it. Just looking at it right now makes me hungry.
    Like leslie and Banhannas said before, I also use gochujang. I usually get frozen bags from Hmart. I’ve never tried making a sweet version, now I need to get some more!

  8. Oooh, looks so yummy!! My husband & I went to NYC last summer and we ate at Momofuku – it was AMAZING. Probably the best food we had while in NYC…& now there’s a cookbook?! Woo!!

  9. hi joy! i really enjoy your blog! though i agree homemade dukboki is the best, there’s a place called “school food” in the new cgv cinema building in koreatown (western and wilshire) that has great duk boki and spam rolls if you’re out there sometime! 🙂

  10. Yum! This looks incredible, and made me instantly hungry! Thanks for sharing the recipe – I can’t wait to try it. I would have normally been too intimidated to make Korean food, but you made it sound very feasible!

  11. Get out! You and Bob met in high school? And I didn’t realize he was Korean. For some reason, I thought he was Chinese. Anyhow, are y’all high school sweet hearts or did you date after high school? It always surprises me how many people have known their spouses since their teenage years and let’s be honest, we weren’t exactly in our “prime” during high school. Or maybe that’s just me…..

  12. Your post just made me want to go out and buy some to eat and I usually avoid it since I’m around it on a daily basis (living in South Korea at the moment)!
    I tried to make this once but it didn’t turn out so well, so I might give your recipe a try and see if the hubby (who is Korean) likes it. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Either the pchopping went bonkers, or there’s something seriously wrong with the color of the above dish (or recipe).
    FWIW, I don’t know any one actually Korean (besides DChang, but I’m not using his “Korean” recipe when there’s a proper MIL available) who doesn’t use gochujang for dukbokki.

  14. Mmmmmm… just made this and frying the rice cakes before adding them to the sauce does add an extra layer of delicious. So good – thanks!


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