Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tastes Like Korean

Sometimes an underlying flavor pervades a culture's culinary consciousness to the point where it is impossible to think of one and not the other. For the Italians it's garlic & oil, for the Thai it's fish sauce, and for the Koreans, it's Gochujang.

Gochujang is a red pepper paste made w/ powdered fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, and salt. It has a texture similar to miso paste, hoisin sauce or even a really thick BBQ sauce.

Gochujang is simultaneously salty, sweet, sour and spicy. It's flavor is vaguely reminiscent of miso paste, only far less sweet and infinitely more spicy. Gochujang is used in Korean cooking primarily as base for soups, hot pots, and various other condiments. It is also used to season seafood and other light proteins.

A taste so bold and unmistakable -- surely it will leave you saying, "It tastes like Korean."

Tteokbokki (Korean Rice Cakes w/ Chili Sauce)

1 # Korean rice cakes (Tteok)

4 scallions, sliced on the bias (whites & greens separated)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 1-in. knob ginger, grated
1/2 cup kimchi
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS soy sauce
3 TBS Korean chili paste (gochujang)
2 cups water
1 cup fish cake, sliced
2 serrano chilies, thin sliced

sesame seeds, to garnish

1. soak the rice cakes in cold water while you prepare other ingredients; 10-20 mins.

2. saute the scallion GREENS over medium heat until wilted; 2-4 minutes. add the ginger and garlic, saute until fragrant. add sesame oil, soy sauce, gochujang, water, fish cakes and rice cakes. mix well and let simmer until rice cakes are tender; 4-6 minutes.

3. serve rice cakes on a flat plate and garnish w/ the scallion whites, serrano chilies and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -

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