Cheesy Ddukboki (spicy rice cakes)

Korean inspired cheesy spicy rice cakes
Personally, I find meeting new people and making new friends exhausting. Ever since I’ve been home with the kids, my social circles have been determined through my kids’ schools and various activities. You’d think motherhood itself was enough to become BFFs with a fellow mom, but it turns out that just having progeny is not enough. Sometimes we chat after we drop off the kids at school, or carry on a light banter during those weekly 30 minutes while our kids are rolling around in a gymnasium. Then sometime after 7 or 12 weeks, the person I loosely bonded with at the gymnasium or soccer camp is never to be seen again. But every now and then I click with someone and major bonus points if the kids become close buddies. Playdates and dinner dates ensue, and – BAM – friends for life! The spouses are surprisingly game and play along. It’s a strange ritual, but this is how it’s been ever since the kids came along.

Kinda, sorta, maybe like this dish…spicy, meaty ddukboki and ooey, gooey cheese. They were meant to be together. Friends for life.

I have been craving something casserole-y and cheesy and spicy ever since the cooler weather has decided to stay. This cheesy ddukboki was a homerun on my first try, or to follow through with the baseball analogy, at my first at bat.  Think of this as a very distant cousin of the baked ziti. Very. distant. It is meaty, spicy, chewy, tangy, and cheesy. Words you would describe a dish of comfort.


Cheesy Ddukboki |

Cheesy Ddukboki (spicy rice cakes)
Think of this as a very distant cousin of the baked ziti. Very. distant. It is meaty, spicy, chewy, tangy, and cheesy. Words you would describe a dish of comfort.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Korean
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 pound package of Korean rice cakes (the stick version, not the flat ovals)
  • 6x6 sheet of fish cake, cut into 2-inch long strips
  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • ¼ cup kochujang (feremented red pepper paste)
  • 5 stalks green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 6 ounces Colby cheese, shredded
  1. If rice cakes are frozen, soak them in water for about 20 minutes in a medium-sized bowl. This should thaw them out a bit.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add beef. With the back of a wooden spoon, break up the beef as it cooks. Once the beef starts to brown, add onions, garlic, ginger, salt, and green onions. Cook until the beef is brown and the onions start getting soft.
  3. Add kochujang and stir until the beef and onion mixture is coated. Take the skillet off the heat and set aside.
  4. Drain the rice cakes. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the rice cakes and add enough water to just cover the rice cakes. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 1 minute.
  5. With a large slotted spoon, scoop the rice cakes into the skillet with the beef mixture. Add the fish cakes. Toss gently until everything is coated.
  6. Pour the beef and rice cake mixture into a medium-sized casserole dish (2 quart size). Stir in ½ cup of mozzarella.
  7. Top the dish with the remaining mozzarella and Colby cheese.
  8. With the oven broiler on high, place the dish on the middle rack of the oven. Broil until the cheese is golden and bubbly or about 6-8 minutes.


Cheesy Ddukboki |


Print Friendly
  • Alice Choi

    Amy! OMG, I love this! rice cakes in a baked dish with loads of cheese and kochujang?!!! comfort food to the max! and I feel you sister. . I am in the exact same position re: my circles now that we have kids. . I did get very lucky last year here in WA with the moms that I met at P’s school .. hoping for the same kind of connections in Madison! We leave tomorrow!!!! Ahhhh!!!!

    • kimchi_mom

      We moved around a lot during the past 10 years. The most difficult move was the one coming BACK to the East Coast with the kids. Before then, my social life revolved around work and it was much easier to connect with people. We moved to NJ at the beginning of summer and my husband’s travel schedule was overwhelming right off the bat. It was also the first time I was at home full-time with the kids who were both under 3 at the time. It seems like a lifetime ago (only 3 years ago), but it was the most challenging summer EVER. I’m sure you’ll be fine since your kids are older.

      It took me a while to learn the whole “making friends with kids” dance, but getting the hang of it.

  • Nancy

    Girl, YUM! This is an amazing East meets West food mash-up. Anything smothered in baked cheese is welcome in my life. I know it’s not quite the same, but I feel this way about meeting other dog owners at the park. There was one group that I spent the entire summer with. We’d gather every evening at 7 pm, the dogs would play together and the owners would stand around chatting. Now that it’s getting colder and darker, the group has dispersed and there’s a new group at the park around 4 p.m. They’re definitely not as friendly and so I don’t bring Abby there. Ugh. The older I get, the less social I feel. I don’t want to put in all that effort without it being reciprocated. I can’t even imagine getting to know other moms. It must be like being in high school again – who’s the cool clique? Who are the beautiful, put together moms with perfect kids? Hopefully you don’t get that kind of cattiness in the circles you run with, Ames.

    • kimchi_mom

      Yes, I feel the same…the older I get the grouchier and less social I feel, but I gotta make the effort for the kids. I don’t want to be known as the “mean mom” at school!

      When my son started in his new school this year, I felt like I was going through the same thing. I felt like that 6 year old new girl in class again. For the most part, everyone is very nice and I feel very lucky we have a nice class! BUT the cattiness is ALWAYS there!

  • Lawyer Loves Lunch

    Heh, I love that our blog posts chat about the same thing but you’re much nicer about it (whereas I keep running into my house to avoid making new friends in suburbia) :) I recently stole some ddukboki from a friend’s lunch and it was delicious! I’m going to keep an eye out for it the next time I’m at a Korean market.

    • kimchi_mom

      I was a little more anxious about meeting other parents this fall since we were venturing outside our pre-K Montessori bubble and into public school. All is well so far….

      And yes, I find it funny that our posts are about the same thing!

  • Liz

    Definitely comfort food! I wish I had a plate of that cheesy goodness right now!

  • Miss Kim

    I love cheesy ddukboki! I kind of like to add a touch of cream sometimes too. The ground beef looks really good in there…looks so delish, comforting, and hearty!

  • Two Red Bowls

    I LOVE this so so much!! Baked ziti is exactly what I thought of when I saw the first picture and my eyes lit up — Korean fusion baked “ziti” with dduk?! That’s absolute genius. So glad I found your blog just now! I’ve got a huge bag of dduk waiting in my freezer — I might just have to try this. And — I feel the same way about meeting new people! But I’m sure you’re doing much better than I would be :) Thanks for posting this!

  • Pingback: 40 Comfort Food Filled Dishes()