Spicy Korean Rice Cakes (Duk Boki) Recipe

Spicy Korean Rice Cakes (Dukboki)
Dukboki being made by an open air street vendor. Naomi Imatome
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (8)

This Korean dish of cylindrical rice cakes (duk) covered in a thick, spicy sauce is a popular street food in Korea. It is also eaten as a casual meal at home or as a drinking snack.

I prefer to make dukboki with fish cakes (oden, o-mook) in my kitchen, but it's also good made with beef or no meat at all for a vegetarian version. I like to make and eat it with Napa cabbage at home, but again, I've had good versions with bok choy too.

You can change the vegetables to suit what you like or what you have at home—other options you might consider include Shitake mushrooms, green onions or scallions, sugar snap peas and even yellow, green or red sweet bell peppers.

What You'll Need

  • 1 lb cylindrical rice cakes (duk), cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 tbsp kochujang (hot chili pepper paste)
  • 1 tsp kochukaru (hot chili pepper powder)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 package rectangular fish cake (oden or omook), sliced into 1" pieces
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced into pieces

How to Make It

  1. Soak rice cakes (duk) for about an hour in cold water.*
  2. In a pot, mix 3 cups water with kochujang, kochukaru, garlic, sugar, and soy sauce.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add fish cakes.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add the mushrooms, cabbage, and rice cakes.
  7. Bring up to a boil again, simmer for about 3 minutes, and then turn off the heat. The sauce will thicken upon standing.

* If you don't have time to soak the rice cakes for an hour in advance, you can add the rice cakes into the pot in the very beginning with the sauce.

Simmer for about 10 minutes before adding fish cakes and simmer for a few minutes more after adding vegetables.

Freezing and Defrosting Rice Cakes (Duk)

If you have rice cakes left over from your meal, it's quite possible to freeze them for later use. However, you should be cautious in doing this, since freezing your rice cakes can impact their texture (one of the features people like about Korean rice cakes). They will freeze best in a very cold freezer. If you have access to a home vacuum packing machine, that will help prevent freezer burn.

To defrost the frozen rice cakes before using them, wait until just before you're ready to cook them, remove them from the freezer, and place them in cool water for between 10 minutes and one hour (until they're thoroughly defrosted. Then, cook them immediately.