Part of my pandemic kitchen adventures was becoming more familiar with Korean cooking. Most of this came in the form of non-grilled items, so there isn't much evidence of these efforts on this site, but I spent a lot of time on sites like My Korean Kitchen and just looking at photos and YouTube videos. At one point I came across sotteok sotteok, which are like the rice cake skewers I made a few years back, but with the awesomeness level dialed up by the introduction of little sausages sandwiched between the tteok. I knew I had to make these, but really wanted an audience for them, so I picked a couple packages of the required sausages during an H Mart run and stored them in the freezer, where they laid in wait until The Meatwave was able to get going again. That happened in mid-summer, allowing me to finally experience this brilliant incarnation of food on a stick.
In its essence, these skewers are really only two ingredient, neither of which I made. First you need tubed shaped rice cakes, and second, the Korean Viennna sausages. I wasn't sure if I was going to find those exact sausages, so was planning on using the cocktail franks I could easily procure. While those little hot dogs would have tasted just fine, they also would have been a tad too small and they definitely were in a different realm of encased meat compared the coarsely ground pork in the Korean sausages.
This is where the disclaimer comes in that I never have had sotteok sotteok outside of my home before, so the rest of the recipe is my own, minimally informed interpretation. It seemed like sotteok sotteok often just comes plain with a choice of sauces to dress them up with. The two most common I was seeing were a ketchup and gochujang mixture and a sweet mustard. So I made both of those and chose to use the spicy gochujang sauce—which I rounded out with brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil—as a baste and the mustard sauce as a drizzle.
For the mustard sauce, I started with standard prepared yellow mustard that I took the edge off of by adding in some mayonnaise. I then used Korean rice syrup to add in sweetness. If you're already picking up the Vienna sausages from a Korean market, you should be able to get the rice syrup as well, but if not, you can sub in honey, agave syrup, or corn syrup instead.
Prior to grilling, the rice cakes do need to be boiled to soften them up. This is a quick proposition as it only takes a few minutes in boiling water for them to go from their harden state out of the bag to soft and chewy. Once they were done, I drained and rinsed them under cold water until they were cool enough to handle.
I then alternatively threaded the rice cakes and sausages onto skewers, doing four and three of each, respectively. These didn't fill up the entire skewer, but I don't recommend doing more because these were already quite filling and any more on one stick might push them over a single serving.
On the grill, I cooked these over direct high heat. Since the rice cakes are naturally sticky, they did adhere to the grates at first, but with a little time, they seared and released with no problem. Once they did, I flipped the skewers every now and then to keep things cooking evenly and to get good coloring on each side.
Once some charring began to develop, I brushed the skewers all over with the ketchup and gochujang mixture. I then let them continue to cook, still flipping, until the sauce baked down and developed some color itself. With that sugary ketchup base, this only took about a minute to happen.
Next the skewers went onto a serving tray where I squeezed on the sweet mustard and sprinkled with scallions. When I first saw sotteok sotteok, I was imagining it as a fun and light snack, but these were actually really hearty. Those sausages had heft to them I wasn't quite expecting, and pair that with filling rice cakes and the flavorful baste, and they were almost a meal unto themselves. The last time I made the grilled rice cakes, I only used a very spicy basting sauce, which I enjoyed, but this sotteok sotteok recipe has more balance to its flavor with the fermented kick of gochujang getting tempered first by the ketchup, then even further by the sweet mustard that may look minimal in application, but whose presence was tasted in each bite. There's been so much good that has come out of my pandemic-related cooking adventures, and sotteok sotteok as just another example of that.
- Yield 3-5 servings
- Prep 10 Minutes
- Cook 6 Minutes
- Total 16 Minutes
- For the Gochujang Sauce
- 1/4 cup gochujang
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- For the Sweet Mustard
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon Korean sweet rice syrup
- For the Skewers
- 15 small Korean Vienna sausages
- 20 tube-shaped Korean rice cakes
- 5 bamboo or metal skewers
- 1 scallion, dark green parts thinly sliced
- To make the gochujang sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together gochujang, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
- To make the sweet mustard: In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, mayonnaise, and rice syrup. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or set aside.
- To make the skewers: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add in rice cakes and boil until softened and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain rice cakes in a colander and wash with cold water until cool enough to handle. Alternating each, thread 4 rice cakes and 3 sausages onto each skewer.
- Light a chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place skewers on grill and cook, flipping occasionally, until rice cakes and sausages begin to brown, about 5 minutes total. Brush skewers on both sides with the gochujang sauce and continue to grill until sauce chars in spots, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer skewers to a platter, squeeze or drizzle on mustard sauce, and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.