It would appear that I’ve inadvertently created “Jes Makes Korean Food Thursday” or something of that nature. Last week, Japchae; this week, Tteokbokki (try to type that ten times!).
So what is tteokbokki (other than something impossibly hard for me to type for whatever reason)? Quite simply, a braised dish of rice cakes with other assorted goodies thrown in. Descriptive right? Basically, when I’ve had it at Korean restaurants and loved it, the rice cakes are cooked in a spicy sauce to this magical chewy but not slimy state and sometimes served with fish cake or vegetables.
This version? Not so loveable.
It’s funny–G will eat anything. Anything! And he hated this dish. I mean, he ate 2 small bowls of it, but when faced with the thought of having it for lunch the next morning, he balked and said that he would only if I would. Nope, sorry, not going to happen.
For G, it was a texture thing–too slimy, too much all the same texture from the mushy rice cake to the mushy eggplant to the slightly less mushy mushrooms. For me, it was a taste thing. Maybe my gojuchang is too old (one or two years old maybe?), maybe I just don’t like the particular kind I picked up this last time. I dunno. But I hated the flavor. Too fermented. Too miso-y. Just kind of weird.
But I’m going to post the recipe anyway because, hey, you might like it! I’d recommend cutting way back on the water though–maybe only use 1 or 1.5 cups–and make sure that you like your gojuchang before you throw it in since that’s the main flavor you’ll get in the dish.
I think this dish killed my desire to experiment with Korean cuisine for the rest of the month, but who knows…it might be Korean Thursday next week!
3 c water
2 tbsp gochujang (check ingredients if you need gluten free)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce (choose a gluten free variety if needed)
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1? piece of ginger, grated
1 lb frozen tteok (Korean rice cakes), any shape
1/2 lb Asian eggplant cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
3 green onions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only (I used chives)
Fresh ground black pepper
Toasted sesame oil
Bring the water to a simmer in a large skillet. Non-stick is a good option as the tteok do tend to stick a bit.
Add the gochujang, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger and stir. It is ok if the the gochujang doesn’t fully dissolve immediately, it will have plenty of time.
Add the tteok and cook, stirring occasionally until it comes back to a simmer, then adjust the heat to maintain the simmer.
After 5 minutes add the eggplant and shiitakes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally and checking the bottom for sticking, until the tteok and eggplant are tender, about 15 minutes more minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add a bit more water.
Taste and adjust seasoning and sauce thickness. It should definitely be thick like a stew, not a soup, but not gummy and tight. Add a bit more water if needed.
To serve, transfer to a large serving bowl or individual dishes and garnish with the green onions, black pepper and a healthy drizzle of sesame oil.