Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

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How to Make Cheesy Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

Tteokbokki is one of the most popular Korean street foods– a spicy preparation of chewy rice cakes. You can grab some tteokbokki from a street cart if you’re in Korea, but today we’re going to be making this delicious snack at home!

Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

This spicy dish has actually only been around since the 1950’s, when a woman named Ma Bok-rim created her own rendition of the classic gungjung tteokbokki (Royal Court Rice Cake) by adding gochujang. Since then, it has become a staple! What’s great is you can also customize your tteokbokki to your liking– add ramen, fish balls, cabbage, or any veggies of your choice!

One of the main ingredients of tteokbokki is Korean soup stock! Korean soup stock is the most commonly used soup base for Korean cooking and it is made with dried anchovies and dried kelp.

This type of stock adds a light savory element to your dish, so you don’t have to use as much seasoning in the main dish. Today we’re going to be making this stock ourselves– you can use this stock recipe not only in tteokbokki, but also in soondubu jjigae (soft tofu stew), kimchi stew, and countless other Korean dishes!

Here’s what you’ll need for the Tteokbokki: 

  • Make anchovy broth with the following ingredients (or alternatively use 2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth):
    • 4-5 cups of water
    • 8 anchovies, intestines & head removed
    • A sheet of dried kelp (4”x6”)
    • 1 bunch of green onion
  • 3-5 tablespoon gochujang (adjust spice level to your liking)
  • 1-3 teaspoon chili flakes (adjust spice level to your liking)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove freshly minced garlic
  • 2 sheets of fishcakes
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • ~2 ½ cups of rice cake
  • 2 more bunches of green onion 
  • Optional: 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

Let’s start cooking!

Start by making the broth:

*Note* This broth takes about 35 minutes to make, so using ready made vegetable or chicken broth will cut out 35 min of cook time!

1. Prep the anchovies by taking off the head, slightly peeling it open and taking out the gut (the black stuff)

Cleaning the anchovies

2. Put the anchovies in a pot and lightly toast without oil for 30 seconds

Lightly toasting anchovies until golden brown

3. Add water, then kelp, and bring to a boil (Make sure to boil/simmer without a lid throughout this whole process to get rid of the fishy smell of the anchovy)

4. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down and simmer on low for 15 minutes

5. Remove the kelp and simmer for another 15 minutes (the broth will be ready after the first 15 minutes, but leaving it longer adds a more savory flavor). After simmering, it will reduce to about 2 ½ cups of actual broth.

6. At the end, remove the anchovies and scallions with a strainer so that only broth is left.

Prepare the sauce:

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl to make the sauce: 

  • 3-5 tablespoon Gochujang (I used 4 tablespoon for this recipe to achieve a medium spice level)
  • 1-3 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (I used 3 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove freshly minced garlic

Making the tteokbooki:

1. If your rice cakes are not soft yet, soak them in water for about 10 minutes

2. Put the anchovy broth into a pan on medium heat

Pouring stock into pan

3. Add in the soft rice cakes, then the sauce

Adding rice cakes and sauce into stock

4. Gently mix the sauce in. If there’s still sauce stuck on the bowl, put some broth in the bowl to clean it all out

5. Once it starts gently boiling, add 1 bunch of chopped green onion

Adding scallions to tteokbokki

6. Wait until it’s boiling a little more and add in fish cakes and boiled eggs. You can also add in extra toppings like ramen, cabbage, or fish balls! I chose to stick with fish cakes and boiled eggs today!

7. Let simmer until the sauce reduces into a thick and slimy consistency

8. Sprinkle on mozzarella. I used ~2 cups for the thick cheesy effect, but you can use more or less. Put the lid on the pan and let it sit so the cheese melts over the tteokbooki

Adding cheese to tteokbokki

9. Once the cheese is melted, sprinkle green onions and enjoy!

Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)
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Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)


  • Author: TJ Lee
  • Prep Time: 15 min + 35 min (if you are making the broth from scratch)
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour or 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Tteokbokki is one of the most popular Korean street foods– a spicy preparation of chewy rice cakes. You can grab some tteokbokki from a street cart if you’re in Korea, but today we’re going to be making this delicious snack at home!


Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups of chicken/vegetable broth OR make anchovy broth with the following ingredients:
    • 4-5 cups of water

    • 8 anchovies, intestines & head removed

    • A sheet of dried kelp (4”x6”)

    • 1 bunch of green onion

  • 3-5 tablespoon gochujang (adjust spice level to your liking)

  • 1-3 teaspoon chili flakes (adjust spice level to your liking)

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 clove freshly minced garlic

  • 2 sheets of fishcakes

  • 3 hard boiled eggs

  • ~2 ½ cups of rice cake

  • 2 more bunches of green onion 

  • Optional: 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese


Instructions

Start by making the broth:

*Note* If you don’t have anchovies, use 2 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth/stock (this will cut out 35 min of cook time)

1. Prep the anchovies by taking off the head, slightly peeling it open and taking out the gut (the black stuff)

2.Put the anchovies in a pot and lightly toast without oil for 30 seconds

3. Add water, then kelp, and bring to a boil (Make sure to boil/simmer without a lid throughout the whole time to get rid of the fishy smell of the anchovy)

4. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down and simmer on low for 15 minutes

5. Remove the kelp and simmer for another 15 minutes (the broth will be ready after the first 15 minutes, but leaving it longer adds a more savory flavor) After simmering, it will reduce to about 2 ½ cups of actual broth

Prepare the sauce:

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl to make the sauce: 

  • 3-5 tablespoon Gochujang (I used 4 tablespoon for this recipe to achieve a medium spice level)
  • 1-3 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (I used 3 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove freshly minced garlic

Sauce mixture with gochujang

Making the Tteokbooki:

1. If your rice cakes are not soft yet, soak them in water for about 10 minutes

Soaking rice cakes

2. Put the anchovy broth into a pan on medium heat

3. Add in the soft rice cakes, then the sauce

4. Gently mix the sauce in. If there’s still sauce stuck on the bowl, put some broth in the bowl to clean it all out

5. Once it starts gently boiling, add 1 bunch of chopped green onion

6. Wait until it’s boiling a little more and add in fish cakes and boiled eggs. You can also add in extra toppings like ramen, cabbage, or fish balls! I chose to stick with fish cakes and boiled eggs today!

Toppings for Tteokbokki

7. Let simmer until the sauce reduces into a thick and slimy consistency

8. Sprinkle on mozzarella. I used ~2 cups for the thick cheesy effect, but you can use more or less. Put the lid on the pan and let it sit so the cheese melts over the tteokbooki

9. Once the cheese is melted, sprinkle green onions and enjoy!

Notes

Make sure to adjust the spice level to your liking by using more or less gochujang and chili flakes! Using 3 tablespoon of gochujang and 1 teaspoon of chili flakes will make a less spicy dish.

  • Category: Snack
  • Cuisine: Korean

Keywords: Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

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