Monday, April 19, 2010

Momofuku Ssam Bar: Spicy Rice Cakes and Pork dinner

Top: Momofuku Ssam Bar's spicy rice cakes and pork // Bottom: My weekend re-creation

The tteokbogi dish at Ssam bar was absolutely awesome. Jake and I, of course, are big fans of anything that involves eating tteokbogi as a main course of a meal.

This dish adds pork and some veggies to round out the rice cakes and sauce, making it a bit more like a meat sauce for spaghetti.

I knew as soon as we got home I wanted to recreate it using the recipe in the Momofuku cook book.

It turned out to be fairly complex, so I saved it for last weekend's big cooking project.

The sauce was so much more than my usual tteokbogi sauce - starchy water from boiling the tteok, gochuchang, a spoonful of sugar, drizzle of sesame oil boiled down until it coats the back of a spoon. No, this sauce was a masterpiece. 2 sliced onions, seasoned pork, scallions, greens (the restaurant uses Chinese broccoli, I used the cores of baby bok choy) mixed with gochuchang, some water, doengjaeng (Korean soybean paste) and silken tofu.

Now, I took a few liberties with the sauce -- I don't keep things like "Schezuan peppercorns" around the house. I also misread the tofu requirement and only had firm tofu - the kind you fry, not the kind you stir into sauces. That turned out to be an easy fix, I just put a few tablespoons of the firm tofu in the food processor with a few tablespoons of boiling water until it was silky and creamy.

I pan fried the tteok giving it a crispy outside to the soft chewy inside then drizzled with some sesame oil. 

Here's the sauce with the onions mixed in. It's much lighter than my usual sauce because of the tofu.

The other thing I misread was about the fried shallots that topped the meal. Turns out the recipe calls for using packaged ones -- which I have never heard of, nor seen at a grocery store. I just fried 2 shallots until they were crispy (though a little burnt on one side) and they tasted fine.

Overall, this dish was totally worth the effort. Mine had a lot more sauce than the original at the restaurant, which was fine by both me and Jake. The sausage was spicy and salty from the gochuchang and doengjaeng. The tteok was crisp to the bite, then chewy inside.

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