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Dinner In The Tteokbokki Of Life

tteokbokki rice cake onion spicy stevie wonder
“Let’s start living our lives living for the future paradise”

Theme song by Stevie Wonder “Pastime Paradise” from Songs In The Key Of Life
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I acknowledge Songs In The Key Of Life is considered to be iconic in the Stevie Wonder catalog, but it’s really not one of my faves. To me, it signals a mid-’70s shift from the soul-funk of classics like Innervisions, Talking Book, and Music Of My Mind to the Top 40 MOR of “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” As a double album, I think it has a lot of filler. Perhaps as a single LP, I would dig it more. “Sir Duke,” “I Wish,” “As,” hell even the now cliche “Isn’t She Lovely” are all fine tracks, but I went with “Pastime Paradise” as the theme here for the sole reason it’s my favorite on the album. It’s also likely many music fans don’t realize the origin track for Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” and I always like to take the opportunity to music nerd out when I can. The theme really has nothing to do with a big bowl of spicy Korean rice cakes, but I had to choose a track from an album I don’t particularly dig, and this is my choice.

The things I love most about tteokbokki are its simplicity and versatility. At its core, it’s chewy rice cakes in a spicy sauce. That simple dish can then form the foundation for a “What’s In The Box?” freestyle adding whatever strikes your fancy to upgrade your meal. Taken to the extreme, you’ll end up in the glorious maximalist stew known as budae jjigae. I kept this recipe as close to traditional as possible in order to give you the canvas to create your own dinner in the key of tteok.

Rice cakes, red onion, cabbage, and radish in a spicy gochujang sauce
Makes 2 servings

1 pound fresh rice cakes (the stick-shaped variety)
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green cabbage. chopped
3 radish, sliced
2 scallion, chopped for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds or furikake for garnish

For the sauce
3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups of vegetable stock

Add the vegetable stock to a large pan. Stir in the sauce ingredients. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the red chili pepper paste (gochujang).

Add the rice cakes. Boil until the rice cakes become very soft and the sauce is thickened about 8 – 10 minutes. Stir frequently so the rice cakes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the red onion, cabbage, and radish. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for an additional 4 – 6 minutes. Depending on rice cakes, you may need more time to reach the desired level of softness. Add more broth or water as necessary. Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve immediately.

Posted in comfort food, cooking, food, foodmusic, music, musicfood, recipe, rice cake, sauce, soup, stew, vegetarian

1 Comment

  1. Pingback:Chopbokki - Bushwick Grill Club

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