Recipe from Seoultown Kitchen by Debbie Lee (Kyle Books, 2011)One day my staff was begging me to make a Korean-Latin dish, but no matter how much they beg, I will never make a taco or burrito! However, I had tasted a new version of tteokboki at one of my favorite Korean pubs that featured melted cheese on top of a spicy rice cake. I was not a fan but I decided to play around with the concept and, low and behold, I created the infamous "Korean Nacho." What started out as a staff meal has turned into the number 2 seller off my Korean food truck. The crispiness of the rice cakes melds with the sweetness of the pork and the smokiness of the cheese sauce. Add some Kimchee Salsa and fried Korean peppers ... and, well, you simply have a masterpiece!
Prep time: 30 Minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- 1 pound pork butt
- 2 cups Ginger-Soy Marinade (see page 24)
- 1 can (12 ounces) Coke or other cola
- For Chile -Cheese Queso (makes 3 cups ; need 2 cups ) :
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 8 ounces Cheddar, grated
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon finely ground chile powder (gochugaru)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- For Kimchee Salsa:
- 1/2 cup finely diced kimchee
- 1/4 cup finely diced hot-house cucumber
- 1/4 cup finely diced Korean daikon
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/2 package Korean rice cake cylinders, cut in half
- 8 Smoky Fried Peppers (page 135), skinned and sliced into diagonal rings, for garnish
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions, green parts only, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon roasted and salted sesame seeds, for garnish
2. In a deep casserole dish, combine the pork butt, Ginger-Soy Marinade, and cola. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for an hour and a half or until fork-tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. While still warm, pull apart with 2 forks and set meat aside in a bowl.
3. Meanwhile, make the Chile-Cheese Queso: Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt half the butter, being careful not to let it burn. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Cheddar and Monterey Jack, reduce the heat to low, and stir until the cheese starts to melt. Stir in the heavy cream then let the cheese melt completely.
4. Add the cream cheese to the saucepan, and when melted, add the whole milk and seasonings. Let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter over low heat. Once it starts to bubble, stir in the flour and whisk until well incorporated. Let the mixture thicken for a few minutes before adding it to the cheese sauce. Whisk and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Remove from the heat and set aside.
6. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the Kimchee Salsa, seasoning with salt and pepper before setting aside.
7. In a deep pan for frying, pour in 4 inches of vegetable oil and heat until it reaches 375°F when measured with a candy thermometer. Add the rice cakes and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and distribute among 4 pasta bowls. Dollop each serving with 1/4 cup Chile-Cheese Queso, add some pulled pork, and top with Kimchee Salsa. Place two Smoky Fried Peppers in each bowl, garnish with the scallions and both kinds of sesame seeds, and serve immediately.