Topokki Sauce for Korean Dukboki, a Quick and Easy Way to Try Something New
Korean cuisine has its own dishes and flavors unique to other Asian cultural foods.
Over the years, marinated and grilled Bulgogi beef and Kim Chi, the spicy pickled cabbage are examples of two dishes that have furthered into the mainstream and lured some fans into further discovery from its broad variety of dishes to choose.
Many Korean dishes are prep and labor intensive in the broad variety of fresh vegetables along with spice and condiment components but even with Korea food one can learn and try some new foods that are quick and easy to prepare. A ‘Korean Fast Food’ for a classic spicy Korean Rice Cake dish called Dukboki is easily made using ready made Topokki sauce.
Both of my daughters being from Korea enabled the best of opportunities over the years to try many Korean foods from restaurants to people’s homes.
There was also the local Korean church where for years, my eldest, Sooky the Stylist, was part of the Korean Dance Troupe while simultaneously playing the Korean drum called the Changul. The Korean Church was also a place where a group of women regularly gathered to prepare and serve large buffet spreads providing lots of flavorful Korean food flavors and specialty dishes.
Korean Markets have also always been a place to sample a variety of Korean dishes and learn about their preparation. Frequently there are women in any area of the store preparing foods at makeshift tables surrounded by all the ingredients you need to prepare the featured dish. While English is not always the main language spoken you can still learn a lot even by observing and perhaps making a couple of notes before purchasing the ingredients and recreating it in your own kitchen.
A couple of weeks back I was drawn in by one of the tables featuring Topokki sauce alongside packaged bags of Rice Sticks combined together to make the Korean dish called, Dukboki.
This dish created with approximately two inch firm white tubular rice sticks is coated with a thickened red pepper paste sauce which was Sooky’s favorite growing up where her Korean girlfriend’s mother frequently invited Sooky to join them when she was preparing it.
Dukboki also serves a fond memory for me gathering with a group of Korean friends in a kitchen preparing it all together. The main difference in today’s Dukboki Dish is that in their kitchen years ago the rice sticks were fresh, not packaged and we prepared the sauce from scratch layering ingredients, stirring, slowly, slowly, as the red pepper paste based mixture gradually thickened coating the white outer rice sticks with the spicy sauce.
You might wonder why I am showing you the ‘Fast Food’ version of Dukboki today rather than the recipe from scratch as I would typically do.
The reason is that I want to share with you some of the pre-made easy Korean food products to experience as well as to provide you specific photos of products so you will know how to choose when you go to the Korean or Asian Market.
Besides, if I had a nickel for every time friends, colleagues, neighbors or acquaintances have told me they do not know what to do with any range of Asian ingredients or inquired on how to choose products at the Asian Markets, I’d have filled a large size treasure box. Today I can share these little tips with you and perhaps give you the opportunity to try something new.
When you add the Topokki sauce to the pan of approximately one- cup of boiling water along with the rice sticks and sliced scallions it looks rather thin, but then as you continue stirring, the liquid consistency reduces while getting thicker and thicker to its desired finish, completely coating the rice sticks while still providing an ample amount of sauce for using your chopsticks and mopping up the seasoned rice sticks about the plate.
The rice sticks for the Dukboki are rather firm when you take them out of the package and you will need to rinse them well with cool water before the preparation begins.
Once cooked, the tubular rice sticks possess a unique texture, soft with an ever so slight chewiness. The sauce is spicy but not too much so, but this of course depends on your level of spice tolerance and mine is admittedly high.
As far as vegetables, to me Dukboki is like an evening of eating spaghetti with just the sauce, it tastes good just plain as it is. I add just some fresh scallions sliced lengthwise. Onions, carrots, or fishcake tend to be popular additions to this dish if preferred.
If you are looking to try out something unique and learn something new this might be the perfect dish to try.
You can almost master this dish with ease simply by following the English Directions on the back of the Topokki Rice Stick Package or just follow the provided recipe below. Either way, hope you enjoy the experience in the ‘Fast Food’ version of Korean Dukboki.