Spicy Korean Rice Cakes! Looking to switch up your dinner game? Look no further than this easy, wholesome, and comforting dish!
Bursting with umami flavor, this vegan nod to Spicy Korean Rice Cakes dish is oil-free, packed with plant-based ingredients, and oh-so-nutritious. Tender rice cakes are coated in a deliciously spicy sauce that is sure to have those taste buds tingling. Grab a bowl and great ready for a fun and fast weeknight meal.
Whole Food Plant Based, Vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, no highly processed ingredients and gluten free.
Hi there, Ameera here!
Oh my goodness, we totally gobbled this dish down like no other. It’s so tasty and very easy to make. You are literally throwing all the ingredients into a pot/skillet and simmering.
The only exception is making the rice cakes, but honestly, they are super easy to make. It only takes a tiny bit of elbow muscle to mash the cooked rice, then form them into rice cakes.
The rice cakes add a wonderful texture that lends perfectly with chickpeas, veggies, and saucy goodness. We loved them!
We tested both brown and white rice when making this dish. While most loved the brown rice cakes, the white rice cakes got rave reviews. It simply had an amazing flavor. You can use either rice type; they both work perfectly.
You gotta give this one a try!
Tips for Success:
- Flavor Profile: This dish is a nod to the Spicy Korean Rice Cakes dish. There are certain essential (non-WFPB) ingredients that are traditional to this dish, so we want to be clear that this dish is not authentic by any means. This dish was inspired by the Korean dish transformed into a WFPB dish. This dish is spicy with a kick of heat from the chili garlic sauce and red pepper flakes.
- Tamari/Maple Syrup/Chili Garlic Sauce: Feel free to increase or decrease these ingredients to suit your own personal preferences.
- Rice Selection: You can pretty much use any type of rice in this dish. We tested with short-grain brown rice, brown rice, and white rice. All these worked well. We served this to family and friends, hands down most everyone preferred the white rice cakes. It tastes great using brown rice, but there was just something a little extra using white rice. Please use whatever rice you enjoy or is within your dietary restrictions.
- Using Left-Over Rice: You can use left-over refrigerated rice as well. Just sprinkle some water over the rice and heat until hot and sticky.
- Mashing the Rice: We placed the hot rice into a medium bowl, then used the back of a one-cup measuring cup and mashed the rice up against the side of the bowl. We did this repeatedly for about 3 to 5 minutes to create a cohesive sticky rice “dough.” You do not want to see any rice grains in the dough. It should all be a sticky cohesive mash. We use the term “dough” loosely as the rice does not become a dough, it just comes together into a ball as dough would.
- Form the Rice Cakes: After mashing the rice to create a rice “dough,” then use dampened hands to scoop up about ¼ cup (slightly less) of dough and press it tightly together, then form a ball in your hands. Once a tightly formed ball is created, then press the dough in between the palms of your hands to create a thick disk. Shore up the sides, if needed.
- Rice Cake Hardiness: If properly smashed, the rice cakes are very durable and do not fall apart in the sauce when cooked.
- Grated Cabbage/Carrots: The grated cabbage and carrots pretty much melts into the sauce. If you want to bite into cabbage (or carrots), then we suggest slicing the cabbage into long thin strips and cutting into the desired length. You may need to cook the sauce longer to reach the desired tenderness. Using grated cabbage and carrots significantly cuts back on the cooking time.
- Chickpeas: You can pretty much use your favorite bean in this dish or you can leave them out altogether.
- Optional Veggie Add-Ins: Feel free to add in a few Asian-Style veggies into this dish if you like.
- Optional Mushrooms: You can add mushrooms to this dish if you wish as well. Simply sauté the mushrooms in the skillet with a splash of tamari or water to reduce the mushrooms, then go to Step 1.
- Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
Leftovers and Freezing:
Leftovers will generally keep for 4 days in the refrigerator. Store in a covered container. Reheating can be done on the stovetop, or in the microwave.
This dish can be frozen; however, it is best if served immediately after making or after refrigerating leftovers. Completely thaw in the refrigerator for best results.
Pantry Products Used:
- Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
- Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
- Chili Garlic Sauce: We used Huy Fong Foods Chili Garlic Sauce. This brand does have a small amount of sugar. However, this brand is generally accepted by the WFPB community.
Kitchen Products Used:
- Enamel lined or ceramic lined skillet or similar nonstick skillet
We certainly hope you give this deliciousness a try.
If you try this flavorful dish, we would love to know if you enjoy it as much as we do! Please leave us a review! Post a picture on Facebook or Instagram and tag us! We would love to hear from you.Print
Oil Free Spicy Korean Rice Cakes
- Prep Time: 20 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 40 Minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Korean Inspired
- Diet: Vegan
Bursting with umami flavor, this vegan nod to Spicy Korean Rice Cakes dish is oil-free, packed with plant-based ingredients, and oh-so-nutritious.
- 2 ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth *
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup grated cabbage
- ½ cup grated carrots
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 3 Tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari (+/-) *
- 1 Tablespoon miso *
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- 1 Tablespoon ketchup
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (+/-) *
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (+/-) *
- 1 – [ 15 oz. can ] chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (+/-)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
Cornstarch Slurry Ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 3 ½ cups cooked rice *
- Sliced green onions
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Place all the Sauce Ingredients and the Spice/Herb Ingredients into a large, deep skillet, stir over medium-high heat until boiling, then immediately lower to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat the rice (if left-over refrigerated) until it becomes hot, then place in a medium-sized bowl. Mash the rice until all the grains are gone and the rice becomes a sticky almost dough-like consistency.
- Before placing the rice cakes into the sauce, create a cornstarch slurry, add it to the sauce and stir until thickened.
- Scoop up a golf-ball sized (slightly less than ¼ cup) amount of sticky rice dough and with dampened hands roll it into a ball (in your hands), then flatten it into a thick disk, then gently place the rice cake into the skillet mixture.
- Continue until all the smashed rice has been rolled, flattened, and placed into the skillet mixture. Gently turn the rice cakes over in the sauce several times to thoroughly coat. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit for several minutes. Then serve with a sprinkle of green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
*Please reference the blog post for Tips for Success, Pantry Items Used, Storage and Freezing, and Kitchen Products Used.
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My friend and I made this tonight. We had a fun time chopping the veggies and shaping the rice balls. All six people at the dinner table really liked the result. A debate ensued about whether it tasted like Korean food. My friend, who is Japanese and loves to travel to Korea, thought it tasted more like Mexican food. Others at the table agreed, but my husband thought it definitely tasted Korean. I made two substitutions – lentils for the chickpeas (which I missed on my first read through the ingredients) and gochujang for the chili garlic sauce. Certainly the… Read more »
Hi there Liz 🙂
Yaaaayyy! We are so happy that you and your friends enjoyed this recipe. Interesting that your friend thought it had Mexican flavors. There aren’t any key Mexican spices that are used in this dish, but whatever they tasted, we are so glad it was enjoyed by all. Thank you so much for sharing your delicious adjustments and wonderful review. We appreciate you taking the time to write.
-Ameera and Robin 🙂
This was amazing! I really enjoyed this dish. I have one question: has anyone put the cooked rice in a food processor? Would that make it too mushy?
Hi there Naomi 🙂
Woo hoo! We are SO excited you enjoyed this recipe. We have not tried using a food process for the rice cakes, and we’re not sure that the blended rice would create the same type of texture. If you try it, let us know how it turns out. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.
-Ameera and Robin 🙂
I’m curious why you wouldn’t use Korean rice cakes. They’re not really processed and just made of rice and salt. Some may have one or two preservatives but it’s easy to buy fresh ones. They’re no more processed than pasta or noodles and wfpb in my book.
I also usually love your recipes, but I’m sorry. There is nothing Korean about this recipe. None of the traditional ingredients are in it, like the gochujang or Korean chili flakes. It should be bright red.
Hi there Anna, Thank you for your thoughts about this recipe. We first want to mention, as stated in our post, that this dish is a nod to the Spicy Korean Rice Cakes dish. We are very aware that this is not a traditional dish. The whole food plant based lifestyle often cannot reproduce authentic recipes. We made this recipe with the inspiration of Spicy Korean Rice Cakes, so we named it that so our readers know when deciding to try a recipe. This is the same concept when we create a vegan burger. We are aware that the recipe will never be… Read more »