Rice Cakes with Sweet Soy Sauce

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Rice Cakes with Sweet Soy SauceThese sautéed or stir-fried rice cakes are sweet, salty, spicy, and addicting. There are two kinds of rice cake that work great in this recipe: noodlelike Korean duk (aka dduk or deok) and Chinese New Year cake, which is formed into long, ½-inch-thick white noodles and either sold whole (usually fresh), cut into sticks, or sliced and frozen. Japanese mochi, available in various shapes, also work well.

  • Yield: 4
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 1 pound rice cakes
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Korean-Style Chile Paste (page 664) or gochujang, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
  • Pepper
  • Chopped scallions for garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds (see page 299) for garnish
How to Make It
  1. If the rice cakes are frozen, soak them in a large bowl of cold water for a few minutes until they’re thawed a bit, then cook them in a pot of boiling water until soft, about 5 minutes, drain, and slice when cool enough to handle.
  2. Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and chile paste in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Put the vegetable oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the rice cakes, soy sauce mixture, and a sprinkle of pepper; cook until the rice cakes are coated in the sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. If the pan dries out, add a couple of tablespoons of the water. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds and serve.
A quick one-pan dinner: Prepare about 2 cups of any combination of thinly sliced shiitakes, onions, carrots, and/or bell peppers. Add to the hot pan in Step 3; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Proceed with the recipe, adding more vegetable oil as needed.
  5. RICE CAKES WITH STIR-FRIED GREENS Follow the variation above, substituting 1 pound greens like baby spinach, pea shoots, and/or sliced baby bok choy or Napa cabbage for the vegetables.
  6. CURRIED RICE CAKES Great served with Winter Squash with Soy (page 264): Omit the soy sauce and sugar in Step 2 and add 1 teaspoon curry powder and ¼ cup coconut milk.
  7. RICE CAKES WITH KIMCHI Omit the sesame oil, sugar, and chile paste. In Step 3, add 1 cup or more Kimchi (page 93) a minute or so after the rice cakes.
  8. BRAISED RICE CAKES The rice cakes thicken the liquid as they cook, creating a stick-to-your-ribs dish: Add 3 cups vegetable stock (pages 97 to 100), dashi (page 100), or water and up to 2 cups whatever thinly sliced vegetables you like and/or cubed tofu. Omit the sugar and vegetable oil. Put the stock in a pot and bring to a boil; add the remaining ingredients and cook at a steady bubble until the rice cakes are soft and the vegetables are cooked. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
  9. RICE OR CELLOPHANE NOODLES WITH SWEET SOY SAUCE If you like, add vegetables as in the first variation: Substitute 8 to 12 ounces rice vermicelli, rice sticks,
  10. cellophane noodles for the rice cakes. Drain the noodles and immediately add them to the pan; you may need additional oil. Proceed with the recipe.

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