1. Let’s start this recipe by making the rice cakes, what you will need to source is some short grain rice flour, most asian supermarkets should stock this. Depending on what brand you buy will possibly change the amount of boiling water added, although, this is more of an eyeball thing when making up the dough. Start by adding 300g and 1 tsp of salt into a large mixing bowl then mix well. Next gradually add 170ml of boiling water whilst constantly mixing. When all of the water is added use a spoon to bring the dough roughly together. We are looking for a rough dough that is neither too wet or too dry almost like a really dry mashed potato (refer to image below).
2. Now to steam the dough, you can either add the dough to a steamer and steam for 20-25 minutes or use a microwave. For this recipe I went lazy and went with a microwave if I’m honest. Cover the dough with clingfilm whilst leaving a small gap then microwave on full power for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes remove the dough and briefly mix again. Cover with clingfilm one last time and again place into a microwave for an additional 2 minutes to cook the dough.
3. When the dough is cooked, we now want to lightly brush a work top with a drizzle of sesame oil and empty the hot dough on top. As the dough is ridiculously hot at this point we now want to begin to pound the dough using either a pestle, tenderiser or rolling pin. Pound the dough for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough starts to become smooth and elastic. As the dough begins to cool you can also start to kneed by hand to make this process faster. The more time spent into pounding the dough at this point will offer a more elastic and textured rice cake. When the dough is ready roll back into a smooth ball and we can now begin to roll out the dough.
4. To make rolling the rice cakes much more manageable begin by dividing the dough into 4 equal pieces. Then cut one of the pieces into two to give us 8 pieces in total then using your palm lightly roll each piece of dough into a cylinder approximately the size of a fat cigar. Now roll each “cigar” as evenly as possible using both hands until we have long strips of dough approximately 1/2 an inch in diameter. Repeat this process until all of the dough is rolled out into equal sized strips.
5. Finally all that’s left is to cut the rice cakes into manageable pieces. Traditionally you want to level out the rice cakes and equally cut into approximately 5cm in length each. When cut drizzle lightly with sesame oil to prevent the rice cakes from sticking. These rice cakes can either be frozen, used immediately or stored in the refrigerator over night to harden slightly.
6. For the next component of this recipe we want to make up the gochujang broth. To add umami to the broth we want the base to be made up of a simple dashi stock. Start by adding a hand sized pice of kombu and 4 dried shitake mushrooms to a small saucepan with 800ml of cold water. Place onto a medium to low heat and slowly bring the stock up to a gentle simmer. We don’t want to bring the stock up to a boil as it may become bitter. Slowly simmer the stock for 5 minutes to infuse then after, remove the stock from the heat and allow to steap for a further 10 minutes. Now pass the stock through a fine sieve into a fresh saucepan and we now have a very simple dashi.
7. To transform the dashi into something a little more special place the stock back onto a medium to low heat then add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 1/2 tbsp gochujang, 2 tbsp korean fine chilli flakes, 1 1/2 tbsp of corn syrup or 1 tbsp white sugar and 1-2 tbsp of light soy. Use a whisk to mix well and slowly simmer the broth until slightly reduced and thicker.
8. Whilst we wait on the broth to slowly reduce we can move onto the enoki mushrooms, these will add texture and make the rice cakes a bit more interesting. Begin by washing and trimming off the bottom of the mushrooms. Now tear the enoki into smaller intact bunches and place onto a baking tray. Drizzle lightly with sesame oil, a light dusting of garlic powder or salt and some fine korean chilli flakes. Place into a hot oven set at 180°c and roast for 15-20 minutes or until nice and crispy. Place the enoki to one side for now as we will ad these at the very end.
9. Now to bring everything together, start by adding a drizzle of cooking oil to a large frying pan then add rice cakes and fry on a high heat until crispy golden brown. For some bizarre reason the rice cakes take some time to get golden brown as they tend to dehydrate first before they start to fry. When golden brown add the slightly reduced gochujang broth and cook on a high heat to reduce until the broth becomes thick, glossy and coats the rice cakes nicely. When ready remove from the heat and we are now ready to serve.