This recipe was... challenging... to find the ingredients. Mostly the rice cakes. There are 3 Japanese grocery stores in San Diego. I visited two of them, and even then, I wasn't sure I had the right thing after I left Mitsuwa. They're described in the book as:
"Rice cakes are sold frozen and they keep in the freezer for months. You can buy them at any Korean (or Japanese) grocery store."
Well, the frozen rice cakes that the manager in Mitsuwa sent me to were pink and labeled as a dessert. The other rice cakes they had that even looked remotely correct were in the dried, package section. And they were individually wrapped, and rather looked like bricks. Heavy. Dense. Pasty White. Bricks.
Well, I bought them and brought them home. And hoped they'd be delicious (spoiler alert! They were delicious! Though even now, I'm not sure if they were what the author intended. Ah well, deliciousness happened, who can complain?).
Alright, the rest of the dish:
¼ cup mirin
¼ cup ramen broth
½ cup korean red dragon sauce
¼ cup roasted onions
2 tbsp canola oil
6 rice cake sticks
1 tbsp sesame seeds
½ cup green onion
Mix the mirin and ramen in a saucepan. Boil over medium heat until reduced, a few minutes. Add red dragon sauce and continue to reduce, a few minutes. Add roasted onions, and reserve sauce.
Heat the oil in a pan, once the oil is hot add the little
bricks rice cakes to the pan. Watch them puff up. Rapidly.
Neat. Sear 3 minutes to a side, until nicely browned.
Remove from the heat, chop into small chunks, and toss them into the sauce. Throw in the green onions.
Toss well to coat the sauce all over the cakes. Place into a serving dish, then sprinkle on the sesame seeds.
Serve as a side or an appetizer. These little crispy, chewy rice cakes are delicious. They have a sweet, sticky interior, and a rich, spicy, hot exterior. The bean paste flavour in the dragon sauce is delicious. And the sesame flavour on top is really, really nice. And as side dishes go, this is an easy one to assemble. Most of the work is in making the ramen, onions and dragon sauce, and that can all be done in advance.