Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes

When we went to David Chang’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar I ordered a spicy pork dish that was really good. When I got home one of the first things I did was look through his new book Momofuku to see if it was in there and sure enough there it was.

I found that the biggest challenge for this recipe was finding the ingredients. Silken tofu, kochukaru, rice cakes, these were just some of the things that I had to find on Asian grocery scavenger hunt. Some might find it frustrating, some might take a look at the ingredients and take a pass, but there is just something about finding this stuff that has been a lot of fun.

The ingredients, while different, have many similarities to American ingredients. Kochukaru is basically chili powder. Rice cakes (in stick form) are not the lightweight prepackaged diet snacks you typically think of, but doughy sticks that have the dense chewiness of gnocchi. Silken tofu, when whipped, has a mellowing affect on spice like one would expect from sour cream. For me it’s the kind of thing that gets the mind going a mile a minute as to the application of these ingredients on some of my favorite foods.

If you’re up for the challenge of finding the ingredients, this is a great recipe for any spice lover. My only caveat would be to make the dish with the dried chiles but pick them out when everything is done. If you’re adventurous go ahead and try them but consider yourself warned. This does freeze and warm up well.

Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes

Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes

by David Chang from Momofuku

  • ½ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 very loosely packed cups (1-1/2 ounces) dried red chiles
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toban djan (jarred Chinese fermented bean and chile sauce) or ssämjang (the Korean analogue to toban djan)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon kochukaru (Korean chile powder)
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups sliced or coarsely chopped Chinese vegetables, such as Chinese broccoli or bok choy
  • 8 long cylindrical rice sticks, cut in 1 inch lengths
  • 8 ounces silken tofu, drained
  • 1 cup sliced scallions, greens and whites
  • ½ cup packaged Chinese fried shallots

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, when the oil is hot, add the onions and ½ teaspoons of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to take on color and begin to shrink in the pan, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, turning the onions over on themselves every 5 or so minutes, until golden and soft and sweet, about 20 minutes longer.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, when the oil is hot, add the ground pork and cook, jabbing at the meat with the edge of the spoon to break it up, for about 10 minutes, just until it has lost its raw pinkness but not so long that it brown or threatens to dry out. Transfer the pork to a bowl and reserve it. Return the pan to the stove.
  3. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons oil to the pan turn the heat down to medium, and let the oil heat up for a minute. Add the dried chiles and warm them through in the oil for 1 minute, until they’re fragrant. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute to infuse its flavor into the oil – it doesn’t need to color, but when the aroma of garlic is rising from the pan, it’s ready, Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Chinese chile bean sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, and kochukaru. Reserve until the onions are cooked.
  4. Add the water, cooked onions, and pork to the pan with the chile sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the soy, sugar, and remaining2 teaspoons salt. At this point, you can cool the sauce and refrigerate it (for a few days) or freeze (for a few weeks), if desired.
  5. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and stir in the chopped greens. Cook them for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stems are just tender.
  7. Drop the rice cakes into the boiling water and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes, until warmed through. Drain and add them to the pan with the pork sauce. Whisk the tofu until creamy and fluid and then stir it into the rice cake mixture.
  8. Divide the rice cakes and ragu among serving bowls, garnish each with some scallions and packages fried shallots, and serve hot.


  1. there is alot of ingredients goin on in the recipe..looks delicious!! :)

  2. I checked out the Momofuku cookbook after your previous post on it, and my first reaction was the necessity of ingredient hunting. That said, it's not like there is a shortage of Asian markets in Cleveland, especially around E. 30th. I might have to try this sometime--it looks really good.

  3. Ben - I do think that part of the fun of a recipe like this, with such unusual ingredients, is that it challenges you to expand your horizons and shop in stores you wouldn't normally go to. That being said, I now have an overabundance of red chiles, rice cakes, chinese fried shallots, etc. that were needed to make this. If you want to try the recipe, let me know and I'd be happy to share with you!

  4. I have just finished leftovers of this for my lunch and can confirm that it’s extremely yummy. I went to my local Chinese supermarket but even there struggled to find all the ingredients and ended up substituting chilli powder for the kochukaru and instead of rice cakes had it with plain boiled rice. Also I used just a couple of dried chillies instead of the half cup as, having made the cucumber and cabbage kimchis, these are a little more heat than I’m comfortable with.

  5. Just made this tonight, and it turned out really well! I was a bit worried the heat would be over the top, but it was quite hot without being overwhelming. Thanks for the shallots and chili paste. We got everything else from CAM market, although we had to do some guesswork on the kochukaru (although I think we guessed right).

  6. Yeah, the kochukaru is basically just chili powder that isn't quite powder, it looks a little flaky. I think in the end it's all pretty much the same. Nowhere on the package did the kochukaru the Korean lady showed me, said "kochukaru" on the package (in english at least).

    Did you take the chiles out or leave them in? If you left them in, you're a burly man.

  7. I'm going to make this, but I want to cut down on the fat a bit (I know it's pretty oily). I'm going to reduce the amount of pork and up the gai-lan. How little oil do you think I could get away with (out of the 5 T you add to start making the sauce)?


  8. I would maybe halve the sauce portion of the recipe and then add it until you're happy with the consistency of the final product. That particular step is where all the residual oil comes from. Don't skimp on the oil in the onions. They WILL burn. Good Luck!!!

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  10. I've made this several times. It's my wife's favorite meal. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.