Back in March 2018, I had the opportunity to go to Adobe Summit in Las Vegas with a few coworkers. Thanks to some generous per diems, we treated ourselves to dinner at Momofuku, where we split a crazy Italian-American-Asian fusion rice cake dish, seasoned with Korean spices and made with Italian sausage. (At least insofar as I can recall … it was almost 2 years ago. The dish was memorable, though the details are no longer lingering on my taste buds.)
Anyhoo, we’ve been doing a lot more Asian—or more accurately, Asian inspired—cooking, and I decided to give my take on that Momofuku dish a whirl. Especially because I was sitting on lots of gochujang and gochugaru after making Kenji’s kimchi-brined fried chicken sandwich. Plus I had some leftover bok choy from our second attempt at Jet Tila’s chicken lo mein (almost there!)
How to make Italian-Korean fusion (ish) rice cakes
For the sauce (all measurements approximate – I eyeball just about everything):
- 2 T gochujang
- ¼ c ssamjang
- ¼ c water
- ½ T soy sauce
- Splash of sherry vinegar
- ½ t sesame oil
- Squeeze of lime
- 1 T mirin
- Splash of fish cause
- 1 T honey
For the dish:
- 1 lb Korean rice cakes (tteok) from the refrigerated section of your local Korean grocery ½ lb Italian sausage (I like hot)
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4-6 green onions, chopped, whites and greens separated
- 3-4 baby bok choys, chopped, whites and greens separated
Toppings! (all to taste)
- Thai basil
- Green parts of those green onions
- Sesame seeds
- Crunch Dynasty
Soak and/or boil rice cakes according to package instructions. Or, if like mine they don’t have instructions on English. Do you best guesswork with internet resourcefulness. Here, I soaked mine for about 20 minutes in room temperature water, but they were still quite hard so then I boiled them for about 2 minutes. Next time, I will try either soaking in hot water or only boiling. These were definitely edible and had a nice bite, but were a bit overdone.
In a saute pan / cast iron skillet: Cook & crumble Italian sausage and remove from pan. Wipe out excess oil and add in the onion, then cook until translucent. Add in the garlic and green onion whites and stir until fragrant. Add the bok choy whites and stir until they start to soften, then add the green parts and stir until nearly done.
Add in the rice cakes and stir everything together. If the texture of your cakes allows, maybe try to crisp them up a bit. Then, add your sauce and mix until the rice cakes are coated and everything is nicely combined. Here, I like to stir in most of the Thai basil, cilantro, and green onion greens, reserving about ⅓ for as-you-like-it personal dish topping.
Dish into serving vessels, top as you desire, and enjoy.