Korean Rice Cakes (Ddukbokki)

I know I said not to expect me to post for a couple of weeks, but I found time to make a quick dinner tonight, so here you go.

Korean rice cakes may not be for everyone. Completely unlike the crunchy styrofoam-like health food snack that no one likes but Mark (who will eat anything with the word rice in the name), they have a texture that puts some people off, including myself to some extent. I don’t like overly chewy things because I have bad dreams involving chewing gum and my teeth (which is why I don’t chew gum). Rice cakes are about the limit of chewiness I can tolerate. Mark loves them, however, and I like the spicy sauce they are served in. The first time I tried to make this, I overcooked the rice cakes. NEVER overcook rice cakes. Err on the side of undercooking!

The reason I didn’t make an Irish meal in celebration of Bloomsday is because we’re leaving for the beach on Saturday and I will likely not be cooking any more meals between then and now, so I’m not hitting up the grocery store for any fresh food and am eating what’s on hand. Ordinarily, I’d have used fresh ginger and added scallions to this dish, but again, I’m a lacking some fresh supplies.

Korean Rice Cakes (Ddukbokki)

1 package rice cakes
3 heaping tablespoons gochujjang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 gloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp grated ginger, or 1 tsp powdered ginger
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Korean red pepper flakes
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 leaves cabbage, chiffonaded
1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetarian ‘fish” sauce, or 2 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp water
3 scallions, chopped

Bring a medium large pot of water to a boil and add the rice cakes, stirring so they don’t stick.

How long it takes to soften them depends on the size and shape of the rice cake, but will probably only take a minute or so, so don’t walk away from them. Slightly undercook them because they’ll be further cooked later. When they are soft enough to chew, drain and rinse with cold water.

Prep the cabbage, onions, garlic, and scallions (if you have them).

Mix the gochujjang, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and sugar together in a small bowl.

Stir the soy sauce or vegan “fish” sauce into the water.

Heat a wok over medium high heat and add some oil. I used canola plus a bit of the toasted sesame oil for flavor. When hot, add the onions and cook for a minute or two.

Add the cabbage and cook for 30 seconds.

Pour in the water and soy or “fish” sauce and bring to a boil.

Scrape in the mixed chili paste …

… then stir to combine.

Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.

If your rice cakes are sticking to each other, run cold water over them while rubbing them apart from each other. When they are all free from each other, dump into the wok.

Bring the sauce back to boiling and cook just long enough to heat the rice cakes and thicken the sauce.

The sauce should be sticking to the rice cakes. Do not overcook! Stir in the scallions and remove from heat.

These must have been good because Mark informed me he would be taking the leftovers in for lunch tomorrow and he never takes lunch in.


  1. Tina Said,

    June 17, 2009 @ 4:57 am

    That’s how it’s prepared! I accidentally bought a pack few years ago and I had no idea what to do with it, since all the instructions were in japanese, korean and chinese 😀

  2. Jain Said,

    June 17, 2009 @ 5:08 am

    Looks delish.

    Hope you have lots of sun on your vacation – enjoy the beach!

  3. Jes Said,

    June 17, 2009 @ 7:06 am

    Have fun at the beach!!! And now I need to add rice cakes to my Super H list. This looks so good!

  4. Courtney Said,

    June 17, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

    Have a great–and hopefully WARM–time at the beach!

    Oh, and I have to tell you, I recently got a cast iron pan because of your posts about them! Thank you so much for all the great info–I am excited to use it :o)


  5. Danielle Said,

    June 18, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

    Also… ugh, Irish food + the beach! The warm, hot, sunny beach, at least.

  6. Lovliebutterfly Said,

    June 21, 2009 @ 11:51 am

    That looks good! I’ve seen those rice cakes in Chinese stores but I’ve never bought them. I thought they were eaten straight from the pack as cakes! lol! Now I’m gonna try them!

  7. Josiane Said,

    July 11, 2009 @ 10:53 am

    The things I learn here! I had never seen (nor heard of) Korean rice cake. I really haven’t spent enough time in the asiatic grocery stores when I could do it, i.e. before I moved to a city where I don’t have much chance of finding half of the ingredients for that dish… it’s a good thing recipes can be used as inspiration, for those times when we have to make do with what’s available!

  8. sandy Said,

    August 10, 2009 @ 12:05 am

    I’ve had this dish several times… the easiest way not to over cook the rice cake is not to boil it first… once you make the chilli sauce you simply add the rice cake…stirring to keep them from clumping… the starch thickens the sauce, the cakes only take about five minutes to cook. To make it even more authentically Korean, try adding fish cake to it when you add the rice cake… just cut it into strips….

  9. shayma Said,

    October 28, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    i adore, adore, adore Korean food and spices, esp gochujjang. this is wonderful and your photos fantastic!

  10. Resh Said,

    October 15, 2016 @ 6:15 pm

    I need help!! I overcooked my rice cake and I want to save them but don’t know how?

  11. renae Said,

    October 15, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

    Hi Resh, I don’t think there is any cure for overcooked rice cakes, sorry!

  12. Nyasha Said,

    June 22, 2020 @ 9:08 am

    Lovely recipe! I always love to read other people make ddukbokki because there is always something different to others especially yours. I hope you can have a look and comment mine too here: http://nyamwithny.com/nyam-recipes-ddukbokki/ I always find it good to add sesame oil and sesame seeds.

    What would you say is the first thing your fork or spoon goes for when you go for ddukbokki? Mine is the fishcake!

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