Meet spicy Korean rice cakes

I would walk nearly a kilometre during the winter in -20 weather for a taste of these freshly grilled Korean rice cake skewers at Yonge & Finch. It’d be a rough walk, but I knew it’d be worth it every time. One order for $1.50, and worth every penny. That food cart right outside Shoppers satisfied that craving, and kept me warm, even if it was just for a mere 30 seconds before the wind chill cooled it down, the spice would then linger on my walk back.

Now we gotta make those Korean rice cakes at home. I’ll be honest that they will never taste as good as the ones from Pojangmacha unless you have a gas stove to achieve that smokey taste. But the joy of making it at home is to make it the way you want! With the same grilled rice cakes, you can make the toppings sweet, or savoury, or super spicy; it’s all about adjusting the sauce!

Ok, fine, the base of the recipe is 5-ingredients, while our garnish will serve as extra frills if you’re feeling fancy!

Ways to the tastiest rice cake skewers

  • Skewers are totally optional. You can save time by skipping it (and also save your fingers from being pricked! :p). The rice cakes are very tacky, and stay intact as long as you don’t seperate it!
  • Extra sauce? Use it for noodles! Add a tablespoon or two of water and mix well into vermicilli noodles. I like to serve it with shredded lettuce, or any greens I have.
  • Grill the rice cakes for a signature, traditional rice cake skewer taste! Or… Add extra gochugaru flakes. It’s not the same level of smokiness, but it’s a good balance.
  • Taste the sauce, and adjust to your preference. My gochujang paste is very spicy, so I needed to add 2x the amount of honey to balance the flavours.
  • Because there’s always ways to make it tastier – other topping ideas: crushed seaweed, peanuts, green onion oil

Cooking time: 10 per batch
Preparation time: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ingredients:

1 package of rice cakes (fresh)

Sauce

1½ tbsp gochujang paste
2 tsp gochugaru flakes (optional)
½ tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp sesame oil
2-3 tbsp honey

Garnish

black sesame seeds
white sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Prepare rice cakes for frying. You can either gently break it off into 5-piece increments, or whole! However you want to enjoy it.
  2. For different cooking methods:
    1. Pan-searing rice cakes: To a pan on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and sear rice cake on both sides for 3-5 minutes, until seared and lightly crusted (like the picture below, of the skewers at the bottom).
    2. Grilling rice cakes: Cook rice cakes until the surface blisters.
    3. Air-frying rice cakes: Cook for 10-13 minutes at 400 degrees.
  3. Mix together ingredients for sauce: gochuhang, gochugaru, soy sauce, sesame oil and honey.
  4. To the seared rice cakes, brush on the mixture. Optionally, top with garnish of black and/or white sesame seeds. Enjoy immediately.