Tteokbokki : Dreamy Sweet & Spicy Korean Rice Cakes

Tteokbokki is one of the most iconic street foods from Korea. These chewy rice cakes are simmered in a rich, spicy, and sweet sauce that is absolutely irresistible. The best part? Tteokbokki is incredibly easy to make and customizable to suit your taste. Ready to dive in? Tteokbokki is in your future!

What is Tteokbokki?

Tteokbokki, or spicy Korean rice cakes, is a popular dish both as street food and home comfort food. The name literally means stir-fried rice cakes: “tteok” means rice cake and “bokki” means fried. This dish consists of cylindrical rice cakes simmered in a thick, spicy sauce.

How to Make Tteokbokki

  • Soak the Rice Cakes: Start by soaking the rice cakes in warm water to loosen and soften them.
  • Make the Sauce: While the rice cakes are soaking, mix together the tteokbokki sauce in a small bowl. Combine gochujang (Korean chili paste), gochujang (Korean chili flakes), soy sauce, sugar, and garlic.
  • Simmer: Stir the sauce into some anchovy stock and bring it to a simmer. Add the rice cakes and cook until the sauce thickens and the rice cakes become chewy, soft, and heated through.
  • Enjoy: Finish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, and sliced scallions. Enjoy warm.

What Does Tteokbokki Taste Like?

Tteokbokki tastes like a delightful combination of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. The rice cakes are chewy and bouncy, absorbing the sauce like a sponge. Imagine a savory mochi or gnocchi in a spicy sauce. For extra flavor and protein, many variations include fish cakes and boiled eggs.

Ingredients

  • Garae-tteok/Tteokbokki Rice Cakes: Available fresh, packaged, or frozen in Korean grocery stores. Fresh is best but packaged and frozen work well too.
  • Anchovy Stock: Essential for deep umami flavor. Make it from small dried anchovies and dried kelp, or use convenient anchovy stock packets. Dashi can be a substitute.
  • Tteokbokki Sauce: Made from gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic. It’s garlicky, slightly sweet, spicy, and incredibly savory.
  • Korean Fish Cakes: Optional but recommended for their chewy texture and savory flavor. Available in various forms, with sheets being the most common for tteokbokki.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil: Adds a golden sheen and fragrant finish.
  • Scallions: Thinly sliced for freshness and a bit of bite.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds: Provide a nutty, crunchy contrast.
Tteokbokki

Gochujang vs gochugaru

  • Gochujang: A spicy, savory, sweet, and thick fermented paste made from chili powder and sticky rice. Adds depth and heat to dishes. Available in tubs or convenient squeeze bottles.
  • Gochugaru: Korean chili flakes that are fruity, sweet, smoky, and sun-dried. They come in coarse flakes resembling flaky sea salt and vary in spiciness from mild to hot.

Where to Buy Tteokbokki Rice Cakes

Find rice cakes at Korean markets. Freshly made by the store is best, but packaged and frozen are also good options. You can even find them online.

Do You Need to Soak Tteokbokki Rice Cakes?

Fresh rice cakes don’t need soaking. Packaged or frozen ones should be soaked in warm water to loosen and rehydrate them.

Anchovy Stock Substitute

You can find anchovy stock packets online or at Korean grocery stores. If you need a substitute, use Japanese dashi, chicken stock, or water. Using chicken stock or water won’t provide the same depth of flavor but will still result in a delicious dish.

Where to Buy Fish Cakes

You can find fresh fish cakes in the deli section and frozen ones in the freezer aisles of all Korean grocery stores. Asian grocery stores often carry fish cakes as well. If you can’t find Korean fish cakes, Japanese or Chinese fish cakes can be good substitutes.

Is Tteokbokki Spicy?

Tteokbokki tends to be on the spicier side, depending on your spice tolerance. For those who prefer a milder version, there’s a non-spicy adaptation provided below.

Non-Spicy Tteokbokki

For a milder use this sauce instead of the original recipe:

  • 2 tbsp mild gochujang
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
Tteokbokki

How to Store Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days if tightly covered.

How to Reheat Tteokbokki

To reheat, add the to a pot with 1/4 cup of water or dashi and simmer over low heat until heated through. Alternatively, warm it in the microwave with a bit of water added to the sauce.

What to Serve with Tteokbokki

  • Korean fried chicken
  • DIY at-home Korean BBQ
  • Korean corn dogs
  • Spicy tofu stew (sun dubu jjigae)

Trader Joe’s Tteokbokki

Trader Joe’s offers in the freezer section, complete with everything you need. This is a convenient alternative if you’re not near a Korean grocery store. These packs are generally less spicy and more sweet and sticky.

How to Make Tteokbokki with Cheese

To make tacky essentially include a cut of cheese on the best of the hot tteokbokki. Destroyed cheese can moreover be utilized. Mozzarella is regularly favored for its stretchiness and gentle flavor.

How to Make Rose Tteokbokki

Rose highlights a rich, fiery sauce. To make it, take after the standard formula, at that point mix in 1/2 glass of overwhelming cream time recently serving until the sauce turns pink. Best with a bounty of mozzarella cheese, let it soften, and enjoy.

Tteokbokki

Other Formulas with Korean Rice Cakes

  • Rabokki: A delightful blend of ramen and rice cakes.
  • Korean Corn Mutts: Utilize rice cakes instead of cheese.
  • Budae Jjigae: Include rice cakes in armed force stew for a delicate, chewy texture.
  • Kimchi Stew: Rice cakes are an extraordinary expansion to kimchi stew.

Enjoy your journey!

FAQs (Frequently Ask Questions)

Do I Need to Use Anchovy Stock?

No, you don’t need to use anchovy stock, especially if you’re vegetarian. However, anchovy stock adds significant flavor and depth to tteokbokki.

What Can I Use Instead of Fish Cakes?

For a vegetarian alternative that still provides protein, use tofu. Tofu puffs taste great in this sauce.

Why Do My Tteokbokki Split Apart and Crack?

If your tteokbokki are splitting and cracking, they are likely too dry and freezer burnt. They may have been frozen and defrosted multiple times. To prevent this, soak them in cold water and let them defrost slowly overnight in the fridge.

How to Pronounce Tteokbokki

It’s pronounced “duck boak key.” “Duck” like the bird, “boak” like an oat with a b in front, and “key” like a door key.

Why is Tteokbokki So Famous?

Tteokbokki is a staple of Korean street food and a popular casual food for friends to enjoy together. It’s often featured in Korean dramas, adding to its romanticized image. Picture a rainy night with a lone tteokbokki stall, steaming spicy rice cakes, and city lights glowing—K-drama vibes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb tteokbokki tteok (Korean rice cakes)
  • 3 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili flakes)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 glasses anchovy stock (substitute dashi or other stock if needed)

To Finish:

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp green onions, daintily sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Instructions:

  • Soak the Rice Cakes:
  • Soak the tteok in warm tap water while you plan the sauce.
  • Prepare the Sauce:
  • In a little bowl, blend together the gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, sugar, and minced garlic. (For a milder form, see notes below.)

Simmer the Sauce:

Add the anchovy stock to a pot and mix in the arranged sauce. Bring to a stew over medium-high heat.

Cook the Tteokbokki:

Drain the drenched tteokbokki and include them in the pot. Mix sometimes and bring to a stew for 3-4 minutes. Decrease the warm to moo and let the sauce bubble and diminish, blending every so often to avoid staying, for around 10-15 minutes, depending on your favored sauce thickness.

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Finish and Serve:

Before serving, sprinkle with toasted sesame oil and wrap up with toasted sesame seeds and cut scallions. Appreciate warm!

Tteokbokki

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