Friday, March 15, 2013

Lunch Week 9: Ddeokbokki, Galbi, Sauteed Spinach, and Enoki Mushrooms

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Ddeokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes), Galbi (beef short ribs), Sauteed Spinach, and Enoki Mushrooms
Going Korean this week. It's a pretty simple lunch and really freaking delicious.

First the rice cakes. I buy them frozen and ready to use. You can try making them yourself but it's actually pretty cheap to buy pre-made. Store frozen until you're ready to use them. Here I used the cylindrical kind.
The sauce for the rice cake is spicy using gojujang (a spicy pepper paste) and chili pepper powder.
I boiled some water and added dashi powder until dissolved. Traditionally, you soak anchovies and kelp in the water for flavor. I thought dashi was a good alternative.
Then add the rice cakes and hot pepper sauce. Cook until the rice cakes are softened and the sauce has thickened. Add chopped scallions at the end.
I also sauteed some spinach with some oil, salt, and sesame oil.
And also some enoki mushrooms with soy sauce.
In the oven, I broiled some galbi (Korean beef short ribs) and pork bulgogi (thinly sliced pork steaks). I marinated it in a sweet soy sauce mixture beforehand.
Then on a rack inserted in a pan it went with the broiler on high. Broil for about 10-15 minutes until slightly charred.
I also had some leftover kabocha squash that I threw in there as well. Overall, the lunch was really good except for the rice cakes. They did not reheat well in the microwave at all. In fact, the texture was so hard and off that I had to remove it from the lunches altogether. So that left just the meat, mushrooms, spinach, and squash. Luckily, it was enough to fulfill my hunger at lunchtime. I saved the rice cakes to be reheated slowly on the stovetop at another time. You didn't think it went to waste, did you?

Recipe below is adapted from the ddeokbukki recipe from

Ddeokbukki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)
1 pound of cylinder shaped rice cake, bought or homemade. (Use a little more if you’re not adding hard boiled eggs and fish cakes)
4 cups of water
7 large size dried anchovies, with heads and intestines removed
6 x 8 inch dried kelp
1/3 cup hot pepper paste
1 tbs hot pepper flakes
1 tbs sugar
3 green onions, cut into 3 inch long pieces

1. Add the water, dried anchovies, and dried kelp to a shallow pot or pan.
2. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes over medium high heat without the lid.
3. Combine hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, and sugar in a small bowl. Remove the anchovies and kelp from the pot and add the rice cake, the mixture in the bowl, the green onion, and the optional fish cakes and hard boiled eggs.
4. Stir gently with a wooden spoon when it starts to boil. Keep stirring until the rice cake turns soft and the sauce thickens and looks shiny, which should take about 7 to 10 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

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