One Hot Mess

Last night I prepared one of my all-time favorite Korean dishes, dduk bok-kee. Often served in late-night bars and cafés, this dish is the Korean equivalent of an American comfort food like macaroni and cheese. In Korean, dduk generically refers to a rice cake, a satisfyingly glutinous dumpling that arrives in many shapes. Dduk bok-kee is composed of cylindrical dduk in a spicy hot sauce, often with other elements like onions, fish cakes or beef, and possibly a hard-boiled egg.

Dduk Bok-kee

I first discovered the dish in Beijing while at a bar. A Korean friend had several orders of the dduk bok-kee brought out to us, and from that point on, I was hooked. Dduk bok-kee became my usual order whenever I went to Korean Town in Chicago, but it wasn’t until I got to San Francisco that I realized (thanks to my friend Fumiko) that it is actually rather simple to make at home. Here’s incredibly quick, semi-homemade version.

Semi-homemade Dduk Bok-kee

1 package frozen dduk (found at any Korean supermarket)

1 package dduk bok-kee hot sauce

1 package fish cake (pre-cooked)

Half an onion, sliced

Soak the frozen dduk in cold water for 2 hours. Rinse out water and replace with clean water. Fill water to approximately 1 inch above the dduk resting in the pot. Boil until soft (you will need to pull one piece out to test). The dduk should be soft, gummy, and completely cooked through in the center. Add the fish cake and the onion slices to the boiling mixture until completely heated through, then pour in the hot sauce. Top with hard-boiled egg if desired.

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