Tteokbokki (Hot And Spicy Style)

Tteokbokki, prounounced like tawk-boh-kee in English, is a delicious and addicting Korean dish. Commonly eaten as a street food, you can easily make tteokbokki at home with just a few ingredients. It is such a popular snack that they even have instant versions for people who just can’t wait to chomp down on this toothsome treat.

spicy tteokbokki with sesame seeds and green onion in a blue plate

Making tteokbokki is actually very easy, especially since the rice cakes themselves are most often store-bought. That being said you still can make them yourself if you want, but most people just buy them in vacuum sealed packages. If you are in Korea or live near a Korean market, you can also buy instant versions of the sauce so the entire dish takes just a few minutes to make.

My recipe uses store-bought rice cakes but a homemade spicy sauce. Interestingly enough, the spicy ttekobokki is not the original. Up until about 20 years ago the most popular and traditional version was made with Korean fermented black bean paste. But that’s a recipe for another time. There is also the new and trendy carbonara tteokbokki which has quickly risen in popularity.

Related: Korean Corn Cheese

What Rice Cakes To Use For Tteokbokki

Most often the rice cakes will be in a sealed pack with a desiccant for preservation. If you cannot find them at a local store, you can order them online here. The rice cakes used for tteokbokki usually come in a stick shape and have a long shelf-life. That makes this one of my favorite ‘lazy meals’ as I often have all ingredients on hand and can whip this up in less than 30 minutes.

How To Make Korean Spicy Tteokbokki

While many families have their own ‘secret tteokbokki recipe’ this version is quite standard. Many things are actually store-bought with a long shelf life, like the dry seaweed for stock or the gochujang chili paste.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams Korean Rice Cakes – This is about 4 servings if you go by the 100 grams per person rule for starches. However with the amount of liquid used you can use more dry tteokbokki if you feel like since there is quite a lot of sauce.
  • 500 grams Water
  • 3 sheets Dry Kelp – The easiest kelp to find will be kombu which is also the base of the Japanese dashi stock. If you have access to a Korean brand you can use that as well.
  • 1 tbsp Dry Baby Anchovies – You can use bonito flakes as a substitute if you have them on hand for the aforementioned dashi, or you can use dry shrimps, shrimp paste, or just add a teaspoon of fish sauce at the end. Like I said, many families have their own special way of doing this.
  • 2 Shallots – finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Gochujang Paste – Feel free to add more if you like it really spicy
  • 1 tsp Gochugaru Chili Flakes
  • 2 tbsp Sugar – You can use white, brown, turbinado etc sugars. I simply used white as it was what I had on hand.
  • 4 cloves Garlic – Finely minced
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil – Optional
  • Green Onion – Chopped, to taste
  • Sesame Seeds – For garnish, to taste

Instructions

The first thing you need to do is place the water, seaweed, and dry anchovies in a pot. Bring to a boil and then immediately turn off the heat. Strain out the particles so you are left with only liquid.

Add the soy sauce, sugar, shallot, garlic, chili flakes, and chili paste to the pot and bring back to a boil. Stir all of the ingredients and let the liquid reduce and thicken.

After about 10 minutes the tteokbokki sauce should be thickened and glossy. If it seems very thin still you can let it cook more, but do note that the natural starches in the rice cakes will add a bit of thickening to the sauce.

Add in the rice cakes and let boil for 4-6 more minutes.

Move to a large bowl and mix in the sesame oil if you are using it. Otherwise you can go straight to plating.

Garnish your homemade spicy tteokbokki with the green onions and sesame seeds and enjoy! This dish is commonly eaten as a street food but also makes a great side dish if you are doing some Korean main dishes like bulgogi or Barbeque Pork Belly.

How Do You Eat Tteokbokki?

Tteokbokki, or in this case spicy tteokbokki, is usually eaten as a street food. Usually it is served in a little paper cup with a toothpick or wooden skewer so you can eat it on the go. If you are making this recipe at home you can use chopsticks or even a fork.

Because it is made of rice it is not commonly served atop rice like many other Asian dishes, however in home cooking it is popular to eat chicken-mu with tteokbokki as the acid helps cut the spice.

More Korean Recipes You Might Enjoy

spicy tteokbokki with sesame seeds and green onion in a blue plate

Tteokbokki (Spicy Version)

Tteokbokki, prounounced like tawk-boh-kee in English, is a delicious and addicting Korean dish. Commonly eaten as a street food, you can easily make tteokbokki at home with just a few ingredients. It is such a popular snack that they even have instant versions for people who just can’t wait to chomp down on this toothsome treat.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4 people
Calories 781 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 400 grams Korean Rice Cakes This is about 4 servings if you go by the 100 grams per person rule for starches. However with the amount of liquid used you can use more dry tteokbokki if you feel like since there is quite a lot of sauce.
  • 500 grams Water
  • 3 sheets Dry Kelp The easiest kelp to find will be kombu which is also the base of the Japanese dashi stock. If you have access to a Korean brand you can use that as well.
  • 1 tbsp Dry Baby Anchovies You can use bonito flakes as a substitute if you have them on hand for the aforementioned dashi or you can use dry shrimps, shrimp paste, or just add a teaspoon of fish sauce at the end. Like I said, many families have their own special way of doing this.
  • 2 Shallots finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Gochujang Paste Feel free to add more if you like it really spicy
  • 1 tsp Gochugaru Chili Flakes
  • 2 tbsp Sugar You can use white brown, turbinado etc sugars. I simply used white as it was what I had on hand.
  • 4 cloves Garlic Finely minced
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil Optional
  • Green Onion Chopped, to taste
  • Sesame Seeds For garnish, to taste

Instructions
 

  • If your tteokbokki are hard soak them in warm water for 10 minutes, otherwise skip this step.
  • Place the water, kelp, and dry anchovies in a pot. Bring to a boil and when boiling immediately turn off the heat. Strain out the kelp and anchovies.
  • Add the soy sauce, sugar, shallot, garlic, chili flakes, and chili paste to the pot and bring back to a boil. Stir all of the ingredients and let the liquid reduce and thicken.
  • After about 10 minutes the tteokbokki sauce should be thickened and glossy. If it seems very thin still you can let it cook more, but do note that the natural starches in the rice cakes will add a bit of thickening to the sauce.
    Add in the rice cakes and let boil for 4-6 more minutes.
  • Move to a large bowl and mix in the sesame oil if you are using it.
  • Plate the tteokbokki and sprinkle over sliced green onion and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Keyword Asian, Korean Street Food, Rice Cakes, Street Food
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