Guest Post: Tteokbokki 떡볶이


Hi, I’m Hyosun from eating and living, the Korean home cooking blog. It’s my pleasure to guest post here today. Bea and Kyle asked me if I could share a tteokbokki recipe with you all.

Tteokbokki is a beloved Korean dish with many variations and a rich history. Literally translated “stir-fried rice cake”, tteokbokki is made with garaetteok,a cylinder-shaped white rice cake. Gungjung tteokbokki is the traditional version which dates back to the JoseonDynasty (1392-1910).  Gungjung means “royal court” in Korean. As the name suggests, the dish was part of the royal cuisine. This traditional version is mildly flavored with soy sauce and typically made with beef and various colorful vegetables.

The recipe I have here today is the modern spicy kind you will find almost everywhere on the streets of Korea. The spicy one was developed in 1953, the year the Korean War ended, by a woman named Ma Bok-rim in the Sindang-dong neighborhood in Seoul. The chewy rice cakes in a spicy red chili pepper paste (gochujang) sauce instantly became popular as an affordable comfort snack. Over time, the dish has continued to evolve, and its popularity has steadily grown. Other ingredients such as ramen, dumplings, boiled eggs, and even seafood are often added to this dish. Here, I kept the recipe simple. Anchovy broth is typically used for a depth of flavor, but you can simply use water as well. Be aware that the spicy level varies widely among different brands of Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang) and red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru). It was spicy enough for me without any optional red pepper flakes added. If you like it very spicy, adding red pepper flakes is the way to increase the heat level without altering the saltiness and sweetness. These spicy, slightly sweet and chewy rice cakes are simply addictive!

2 – 3 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 pound tteokbokki tteok* (about 24 3-inch long rice cake pieces)

1 sheet of eomuk (fish cake – aka oden)

4 ounces cabbage

1 – 2 scallions

*You can find these types of rice cakes either fresh, refrigerated or frozen, (in order of preference for this dish), at Korean markets.

 

3 cups anchovy broth (or water)

3 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)

1 – 3 teaspoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) – optional for extra heat

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup (or 1 more tablespoon sugar)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

 

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

 

Make anchovy broth by boiling 4 cups of water with 5 – 6 large anchovies and a 2-inch square dried kelp for about 10 minutes. Cut the fish cake, cabbage, and scallions into about 2-inch long pieces.

 

Add the anchovy broth (or water) to a large pan. Stir in the sauce ingredients, except the sesame oil and optional sesame seeds. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the red chili pepper paste (gochujang)

 

Add the rice cakes. Boil until the rice cakes become very soft and the sauce is thickened, about 8 – 10 minutes. Stir frequently so the rice cakes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

 

Add the vegetables and fish cakes. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for an additional 4 – 6 minutes. Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add the sesame oil and optional sesame seeds right before turning the heat off. Serve immediately.  

 

Tteokbokki doesn’t reheat well in the microwave. Reheat any leftovers, along with a little bit of broth or water, in a small pan over low heat.

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