4 cups of water
7 large size dried anchovies, with heads and intestines removed*
6 x 8 inch dried kelp
1/4 cup hot pepper paste (Gochujang)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound of cylinder shaped rice cakes (from the frozen or refrigerated section of the store)
2 hard boiled eggs, shelled
*If you keep anchovies in the freezer, move them to the refrigerator the night before making this recipe so that you will be able to slice them open the next day.
In a large pot, add the water, dried anchovies, and dried kelp. Boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes over medium high heat.
Combine the hot pepper paste and sugar in a small bowl.
Remove the anchovies and kelp from the pot and discard. To the pot, add the pepper paste/sugar mixture and mix well. Then add the rice cakes and hard boiled eggs (cooked, shelled whole. If the eggs were just cooked and are still warm, you can wait to add them until the end, but if they came from the refrigerator, add them at the same time as the rice cakes.)
Bring the mixture back to a boil and, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, continue to cook until the rice cakes turn soft and the sauce thickens and looks shiny, about 10 to 15 minutes. If the rice cakes are still not soft enough, add a little more water and continue stirring until softened. Serve immediately.
Note 1: For a vegetarian dish, substitute the anchovies & kelp broth with a vegetarian broth.
Note 2: The original recipe called for 1/3 cup hot pepper paste plus 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes and 3 green onions, cut into 3 inch long pieces. However, I reduced the hot pepper paste and eliminated the hot pepper flakes and onion. It is still quite spicy. It also called for a 1/4 pound of fish cakes to be added at the same time as the rice cakes. However, I don’t like fish cakes – they are made with “fish paste” and taste like it.