Tteokbokki (떡볶이) Korean Hot & Spicy Rice Cake

by - Friday, March 15, 2013

Today, I come across with a popular and beloved Korean street food, Tteokbokki (떡볶이). This dish is very easy and simple to make. I know this dish also from Korean drama. In a number of scenes, some Korean students are having good times snacking a dish that looks so hot, spicy and yummy from the street carts (pojangmacha) as an after-school snack. At first, I always wonder what the dish is. Seeing the drama talents are having a really good time enjoying the mouthwatering dish, I always imagine to involve myself in the scene “helping” them eating up that spicy Tteokbokki :D
As I had read from a number of sources, Tteokbokki is a modern variant of Tteok jjim – a part of Korean royal court cuisine. Tteokbokki is literally translated as “stir-fried rice cake”, but I like to call it as stew rather than stir fry :D. The new version of spicy tteokbokki was developed by Ma Bok-rim, a woman from Sindang-dong neighborhood in Seoul, in 1953 when the Korean War ended. Sindang-dong is now known as the center of Tteokbokki in South Korea.

The main tteokbokki ingredient is garaetteok (a chewy cylinder-shaped white rice cake) cooked in spicy gochujang sauce; gochujang is Korean fermented red chili pepper paste. Other ingredients may include fishcake, egg, dumpling, ramen, seafood, and veggies. Nowadays, some kinds of Tteokbokki are quite well-known such as tteokbokki with ramen/ramyeon (which then becomes rabokki/labokki 라볶이), seafood tteokbokki (해물 떡볶이), and rice tteokbokki (쌀떡볶이).

typically uses anchovy broth (from dried anchovy) for a depth of flavor. However, we can simply use water (but, it will make a HUGE difference to the taste). For me personally, using chicken/beef/seafood broth when we don’t have anchovy one is better for the taste than merely using water :D. For the spiciness level, it varies depending on the brands (and levels) of the gochujang (red chili pepper paste). Gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes) is often added for the “kick” to the spicy gochujang sauce without altering the saltiness and sweetness of the sauce. But yes, it’s all back to our personal taste, we can make it spicier or sweeter :D. For me, I like my tteokbokki spicy and slightly sweet. And I like to have the gochujang sauce thick and saucy ^^

Tteokbokki /Ddeokbokki
(Korean Hot & Spicy Rice Cake)

25 garaetteok pieces (white cylindrical rice cakes)
1 cup sliced fish cake
1 cup (or more) cut napa cabbage (or cabbage)
1 - 2 green onions or small leeks, cut into 3-inch long pieces
toasted sesame seeds and angled-sliced leek to garnish

Gochujang Sauce:
3 cups anchovy broth (chicken/beef/seafood broth or water)
3-4 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
1-2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes), optional
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons crushed/minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1.    Boil anchovy broth in a pan and add in the sauce ingredients. Stir to dissolve the red chili pepper paste (gochujang). Let it boil for additional 2-3 minutes.
2.    Add in the rice cakes and boil for about 6-8 minutes until become soft and the sauce is thickened. Don’t forget to frequently stir the rice cakes so that they won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
3.    Bring in napa cabbage, green onion, and fish cake. Stir constantly, add the sesame oil, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Serve immediately and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced leek.

Let me make a confession, this dish is BEST enjoyed when it’s still slightly hot or warm by using chopsticks directly from the pan LOL :D. This chewy and spicy dish is simply addictive! Once I tried it, I craved for more and more. So, it’s no wonder that the Korean government has invested a big deal of money to introduce and globalize this dish. Even, there are Tteokbokki Festivals in South Korea :D. Below is another version of enjoying tteokbokki. To reduce the spiciness or to make it milder, you can add some mayo over the dish. This simple version with mayo is just AWESOME! :D

Conclusion: I love Tteokbokki and now I’m an addict of it! :D

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  1. This looks really spicy :P but yummy at the same time! amazing how you always try the different cuisines

  2. @Shirley: I love spicy food; spicier tastes better heheheheh :D. Surely we can modify the level of spiciness by adjusting the amount or the heat level of gochujang that we use as our personal taste. Or we can omit the gochugaru ^^. It's a lot of fun to learn new cuisines an get introduced to new flavors, thank you so much dear :D

  3. mouth watering just by looking at the pictures, tata.. ;)

  4. @Bobo: Thank you dear Florence :D. This rice cake snack in spicy red chili pepper sauce with a hint of sweetness is just addictive ^^

  5. Tabong, ini nyontek dari koreanbabpsang yanh? soale kmrn aku juga nyontek koreanbaksang percis sama. Btw Aku pk honey soalnya corn syrup itu terlalu high fructose jenis gulanya.

  6. @Mbak Pepy: Semua resep tteokbokki tak jelajahi hihihihhi, dan setelah baca sana sini dan bandingin kayaknya resep ahjuma dari korean bapsang nyang wokeh :D. Ouuu begono, dulu keranjingan sih gegara bisa nemu Korean corn syrup heheh. Tp setelah itu beberapa kali aku bikin Yangnyeom Tongdak aku jg pake madu, menurutku rasanya jg jd lbh enak :D

  7. Surely, honey is a healthier sweeten ingredient compare to corn syrup. :)

  8. Hi Ta, your dish looks delicious. Right now I am in Korean supermarket and thanks to your post, I can't wait to cook it.

  9. @Mommy Yenny: Yeayyy for Tteokbokki! Jgn lupa bagi2 sm sy yah mam tteokbokkinya :D


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