Crispy Rice Cakes With Halloumi Cheese and Gochujang Brown Butter

This crispy-salty-spicy rice cake dish frequently makes an appearance on the menu at chef Susan Kim’s Korean food pop-up, Doshi. She blisters Korean rice cakes, or tteok, until they’re toasty and crisp with chewy insides, then pairs them with seared, melty Halloumi cheese. The combination of nutty brown butter and spicy-sweet gochujang will have you dragging your rice cakes across the plate to mop up every last bit of sauce. You can find prepackaged Korean rice cakes in the refrigerated section at any Korean market or well-stocked Asian grocer. You might find they come in all shapes and sizes, from long cylinders to thin ovals. Any shape will work in this recipe, but it’s especially delicious prepared with rice cakes that come in 2″–3″-long cylinders, which excel at achieving a crispy exterior while staying chewy and soft on the inside. If you have any brown-butter-gochujang sauce left over, spoon it over fried eggs and yogurt the next morning—one of Kim’s favorite breakfasts.

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Ingredients

4 servings

12

oz. Korean rice cakes, preferably cylindrical (about 50)

2

large eggs

4

Tbsp. unsalted butter

1

large garlic clove, finely grated

2

Tbsp. gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)

1

Tbsp. gochugaru (coarse Korean red pepper powder) or other mild red pepper flakes

1

Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar

½

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt

4

cups mature arugula, leaves torn if large, divided

3

Tbsp. vegetable oil

4

oz. Halloumi cheese, cut into ½”-thick planks (about the same size as rice cakes)

Preparation

Step 1

Soak rice cakes in a medium bowl of cool water at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Drain and pat dry with a kitchen towel; set aside.

Step 2

Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower eggs one at a time into a small saucepan of boiling water. Cook, adjusting heat to maintain a gentle boil as needed, 6½ minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit until just slightly warm, about 2 minutes. Peel eggs, cut in half, and set aside.

Step 3

Cook butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, occasionally swirling pan, until butter foams then browns, 3–5 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in garlic, gochujang, gochugaru, vinegar, salt, and 2 Tbsp. water. Reduce heat to low and keep sauce warm.

Step 4

Arrange about 3 cups arugula on a platter or large plate.

Step 5

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook rice cakes in a single layer, undisturbed, pressing down occasionally with a spatula to ensure they are making good contact with pan, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 5 minutes. Transfer rice cakes to platter with arugula; reserve skillet.

Step 6

Reduce heat to medium and cook Halloumi cheese in reserved skillet until deep golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. (It’s okay if some pieces break apart.)

Step 7

Arrange cheese on platter with arugula and rice cakes. Top with remaining arugula and reserved jammy eggs. Spoon warm sauce over.

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