Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake)

When I lived in Seoul, South Korea, this snack was on every corner.  Almost literally.  Most street vendors had this bubbling away, ready to be spooned onto a plastic bag-covered plate for instant gratification.  And although I was at first a bit hesitant to try it (I doubt those carts are inspected in any way whatsoever), I now find that I occasionally start to crave this spicy little treat, even if it makes my nose run.

Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake)

1 cup dashi or beef broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 tablespoons red pepper paste (gochujang)
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths on the bias, green and white parts
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 (1½-pound) package cylindrical rice cakes (garae tteok)
3 pieces flat fried fish cake (approximately 3x6-inches each)

Combine the broth, garlic, red pepper paste, green onions, and sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Slice the rice cake diagonally into 2-inch pieces, if necessary, and add to the sauce.  Cook until the rice cakes soften and the sauce starts to thicken, about 6 minutes.  Cut each fish cake into 8 triangles.  Add the fish cakes to the rice cake mixture and cook until heated through.  Add a little water if necessary to keep the sauce fluid.

Makes 4 servings

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Jungle Jim's International Market: Throwdown Crab Cakes

So I was watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and I just happened to catch the episode where he does this crab cake throwdown with a couple up in Booth Bay, Maine, who supposedly make the best crab cakes on the planet. The whole episode I'm drooling up a storm, but when I look for the recipe (not Bobby Flay's, the other people's), it's not on the website. Dang secret recipes! Well, I think I caught enough of the ingredients from the snippets they showed, so I finally crafted a recipe using something I found online that I think is pretty close, at least without tasting the original. And these crab cakes are amazing!

Throwdown Crab Cakes
Adapted from Margie's Crab Cakes from Jungle Jim's International Market

1 egg, beaten until the egg lightens slightly
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons lemon rind, finely grated
1 teaspoon lime rind, finely grated
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 green onion, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 cup panko, plus extra for crust
1 pound peeky toe or blue swimmer crab meat, checked for shell bits
Olive oil

Combine first nine ingredients. Add panko and mix until moist. Add crab, and fold in gently with your hands to ensure that crab stays in chunks. Using an ice cream scooper, make scoops of crab and place on a cookie sheet (I got about 14 out of this recipe). Refrigerate for one hour. Form scoops into patties a little smaller than your palm. Dip each flat side lightly in panko. Let the cakes rest for about five minutes. Heat an equal mixture of olive oil and butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Fry each cake for about three minutes on each side, but watch them, because they may be done in about two and a half. EAT!!