Gungjung Tteokbokki (Korean Royal Court Rice Cakes)

Ingredients

  • ¼

    cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 2

    tablespoons turbinado sugar

  • 1

    tablespoon minced garlic

  • ½

    teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼

    cup finely chopped scallions

  • ½

    teaspoon roasted sesame oil

  • 4

    ounces beef rib-eye or sirloin steak

  • 1

    pound 2-inch-long cylindrical rice cakes

  • 2

    tablespoons safflower or canola oil

  • ½

    small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 4

    ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4-inch-thick

  • 1

    red bell pepper, seeded and sliced 1/4-inch-thick

  • 1

    cup mung bean sprouts

  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, black pepper, 2 tablespoons of the scallions and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer half of the sauce to another small bowl.
  2. Thinly slice beef crosswise about 1/8-inch-thick, then cut into 2-inch strips. Add beef to one bowl and toss to evenly coat, massaging sauce into beef. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine rice cakes and enough lukewarm water to cover by 1 inch. Soak for 10 minutes. Drain, then return the rice cakes to the bowl. Add the remaining sauce and toss to evenly coat.
  4. In a large skillet, heat safflower oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes.
  5. Add beef with its marinade and cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
  6. Add the rice cakes, their sauce and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and rice cakes are tender and nicely glazed, about 8 minutes. Stir in mung bean sprouts and remaining scallions and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide tteokbokki among bowls and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve warm.