Well, I was thinking about finishing old bottles I’ve add since forever in a closet and I thought that was vodka in the dark corner there, so the plan was to do that famous creamy vodka sauce. But, that was tequila. So why not ? I had tokk, the Korean rice cake-pasta-mochi and coconut cream. At the end there is nothing left of the original recipe, but miraculously I got that luscious sauce effect… Finger-licking good !
That starts with flavors of three fresh herbs in a tomato sauce with onion, garlic and olive oil. Plus a cup of vo.. er, tequila.
Then pas… er, Korean tokk are added. Then, when they become soft coconut cream.
Gungjung tteokbokki (궁중 떡볶이) were the tokpokki prepared for the Korean royal courts. They were served long before hot chili reached Korean peninsula, so they are much less spicy than the street stall version.
This is a simple interpretation of the dish using soy sauce and sesame oil as main flavoring and what I had in my pantry.
Nira (garlic chives), carrot, onion and soaked dried shiitake mushrooms.
The tokk (rice cakes) need 8 to 10 minutes boiling, then refreshing under fresh water. Then stir-frying and wetting the sauce with the mushroom soaking water. I only added black pepper.
Decorated with a little yuzu peel.
The balance of flavors is perfect. I think the mushrooms bring a lot, so don’t skip them or replace them with something strong in flavor. Beef is a possibility.
The same yuzu was used to flavor a few blanched green beans. I also added a little fragrant sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.
Today, I’ve made tteokbokki that I call tokkpokki because that’s how I hear it and remember when I have no spell-checker. Yes, that’s hot !
Here are the ingredients :
-the ttoek are Korean mochi or blocks of rice paste. For this dish the cylinder shape is common.
-veggies (carrot, onion, garlic)
-a protein, here tofu (that could be strings of meat, slices of fishcake or boiled egg)
The spicy Korean miso, gochujang. I’ve added paprika powder for more redness, and 2 dried hot chilis for spiciness. That way you can choose the level of hotness you wish.
Koyadofuis freeze-dried tofu. The hard blocks can be re-hydrated in water in a few minutes.
They become like sponges. I had one big block that I cut in slices.
I add the different ingredients, the sauce, water, then the ttoek and let simmer half an hour. Salt, sugar, hot chili can be added to taste.
Sanchu, Korean salad. That’s not what Koreans do but I like it as a side here.
Circles are 丸餅marumochi. Squares are 角餅kakumochi (rectangle board shaped mochi). In white, boiled mochi, in yellow grilled mochi (yakimochi).
These marumochi and kakumochi are made a while before New Year and sold still soft or a little dried. That’s 生餅namamochi (fresh, unprocessed), even if it can be kept months in modern packaging.
So that’s about Japanese tradition and regional variation. But you may wonder what is mochi ? Long story short :
Blocks of pounded cooked sticky rice.
How they make mochi (not me, people do, particularly strong men…) :
That I do, but… well, the result is a little different. I can’t be so violent in my little mortar. Well some Japanese families have the big stone mortar, but these days it’s mostly used to entertain the tourist at marketplaces and fairs. There are “home-bakery” machines that have a program to pound mochi, and they are popular. Well I buy my New Year mochi. Just for the fun, try it some day :
Most of the mochi are sold sealed plastic bags with a stuff to control humidity. You can keep them a while, but as soon as you open, expect them to dry (if let unpacked) or get molds (if you reclose the bag) within 3 to 7 days. So if possible open a pack for what you can eat soon.
Fresh mochi are sold unsealed, well, you have 3 to 7 days…
In case, you have leftovers, it’d better to let them dry (you can still cook them) than get mold (you’d have to throw away).
THE 2 WAYS OF COOKING MOCHI
To boil : place the mochi about 5 minutes in boiling or near boiling water or broth.
To grill : place the mochi about 5 minutes under the broiler/grill of your oven at 250 degree celcius. That can be done on a barbecue or brasero. As the mochi will become soft and nearly liquid, it would fall from a large net or a skewer, so place it either on a thin metallic net, or a metal plate.
Then eat your mochi :
-with a little soy sauce, with nori, with… your choice
-use it in recipes below
NB : You can grill or boil a piece of mochi not too big, that you could keep inside your hand. If it’s bigger, cut the big mochi with a knife.
Cut mochi is called and sold as 切り餅（きりもち）kirimochi.
That’s not a dessert of course, but the dim sum classic. Turnip cake, radish cake and I spare you the Chinese names, mostly because I’m unable of typing them. In Japan, it’s called daikon mochi. It’s actually made of daikon radish, even in China. But usually not of mochi (sticky rice), but plain rice flour.
So, shred 2 cups of daikon radish. Add 1/2 cup of water, cook a little till daikon gets a little tender.
Add rice flour. I use 上新粉 (joshinko), a processed Japanese flour. Add as much as you can to make a solid dough, still stick.
Flavoring : I fried onion, garlic and some red chili. Cut negi leek greens. Plus salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
Steam the mix till it changes of color to slightly yellow and slightly transparent. I put it about 40 min, in the rice-cooker with some water under the bowl.
Then if you’re a perfectionist, you let it chill, then place in the freezer 1/2 hour to harden and you can slice it perfectly when it’s half-frozen.
Yes, I made the casual version, I took the paste still soft with a spoon and stir-fried both sides. Serve with hot chili sauce and sesame oil as a dip. And Chinese tea.