Indulge in the irresistible flavors and textures of our ultra-chewy rice cakes (tteok), smothered in a creamy and spicy Korean chili sauce. This one-pot dish features rice cakes that are generously coated in a rich, flavorful sauce, made with Korean chili paste and chili flakes. The dish is garnished with triangular fish cake, bouncy hardboiled eggs, and scallions, adding a delightful mix of textures and flavors to every bite. This satisfying and delicious meal is perfect for any occasion.
Why This Works
Korean cuisine has always held a prominent place in my neighborhood, and growing up, I enjoyed many classic Korean dishes. However, it wasn’t until I visited Korea with my mom in that we discovered the true depth of authentic Korean food. What we ate during our trip which exceeded our expectations. We indulged in a variety of dishes including mandoo, bibimbap, barbecue, bingsu, and rabokki (Tteokbokki with ramen noodles), among others. This recipe is inspired by my cherished memories of my trip with my mom. With my Spicy Tteokbokki recipe, you can allow your tastebuds to travel to Korea in less than one hour from the comfort of home.
What is spicy Tteokbokki?
Spicy Korean stir-fried rice cakes (Tteokbokki) is a popular Korean street food dish that features chewy rice cakes smothered in a spicy and flavorful sauce. The dish is made with cylindrical-shaped rice cakes that are stir-fried with a savory sauce made from a kombu broth, Korean chili flakes, and Korean chili paste.
What are Korean rice cakes?
Korean rice cakes (Tteok) are a popular staple in Korean cuisine. They are made from glutinous rice flour and water, and shaped them into various forms such as cylinders and discs. The resulting rice cakes have a chewy and slightly sticky texture that makes them distinct. Korean cooks use rice cakes as a main ingredient in various dishes like Tteokbokki (stir fried spicy rice cakes), Tteokguk (rice cake soup), and Songpyeon (sweet rice cake).
On the other hand, Shanghainese rice cakes (nian gao) are a type of rice cake popular in Shanghai and other regions of China. Unlike Korean rice cakes, Shanghainese rice cakes are made from sticky rice flour and sugar, resulting in a chewy and sweet cake. They are often used in sweet and savory dishes, such as stir-fries, soups, and desserts. In comparison, Korean rice cakes have a more neutral flavor, and their texture is more glutinous and less sweet than Shanghainese rice cakes.
What is glutinous rice?
Unlike yellow or white rice, glutinous rice is a harder grain. Glutinous rice has a higher starch / maltose composition and a chewier texture. Milling this grain derives glutinous rice flour which is used to make mochi, rice balls, rice noodles, and a variety of other products. It has a more muted flavor than white rice when milled.
What are Korean fish cakes?
Fish cakes are a type of processed seafood that is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine, especially in Korean, Japanese, and Southeast Asian cooking. These cakes are made from ground fish, combined with starch, such as tapioca, and seasonings like salt, sugar, and spices. The mixture is then molded into various shapes, such as ovals or triangles, and either steamed, boiled or fried.
In this recipe, we are using Busan-style Korean fish cakes (eomuk). These fish cakes are square-shaped and have a unique texture that sets them apart from other fish cakes. They are made by combining fish paste, flour, and vegetables into a rectangular block, which is then sliced into individual pieces. What makes Busan-style fish cakes distinctive is the addition of surimi, a fish paste that has a firmer texture and a milder flavor. The surimi gives the fish cakes a unique chewiness that makes them particularly satisfying to eat.
What is gochugaru?
Gochugaru is a type of dried chili pepper flakes that are a key ingredient in Korean cuisine. These flakes are made from a specific type of chili pepper that is grown in Korea and are used in many Korean dishes to add heat, color, and flavor. Unlike regular chili flakes, gochugaru has a medium to high level of spiciness. It also has a very distinct vibrant red color that is not found in other types of chili flakes. It is used in a wide variety of dishes, including stews, soups, marinades, and kimchi.
What is gochujang?
Gochujang is a thick, spicy, and slightly sweet chili paste that is made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice powder, fermented soybeans, and salt. It is a fundamental ingredient in many Korean dishes, including stews, marinades, and dipping sauces. Most containers of gochujang are sold in one pound containers. I’m using the one from Trader Joes which is less than half of the size and is perfectly portioned for this recipe making this easy to store and use without the need to measure!
Spicy Tteokbokki – Korean Rice Cakes
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 sheet kombu rinsed
- 1/2 cup and 1 tbsp gochujang
- 2 tbsp gochugaru
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 lbs rice cake for Tteokbokki
- 1/2 cup scallions sliced into 1.5” pieces
- 1/2 lb square Busan fish cakes sliced into triangles
- 4 hard boiled eggs shelled
- 1/2 cup scallions julienned, for garnish
- Hard-Boiled Eggs | Place the eggs in a small pot and add enough water to submerge them by about an inch. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and gently add in the eggs. Simmer for 9-13 minutes depending on how you like the donees of your egg yolk. Drain then transfer the eggs to an ice bath to cool.
- Broth | Set a deep skillet over high heat and add in 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add a sheet of rinsed kombu and cook for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the kombu.
- Sauce | In a bowl, mix together gochujang, gochugaru, and sugar to make the sauce.
- Tteokbokki | Add tteokbokki, scallions, and fish cake to the broth. Set the heat to medium-high and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Once the sauce has reduced, add the peeled, hard-boiled eggs. Stir and serve hot.If you've tried this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments below! Your feedback is greatly appreciated and it helps me improve my recipes for future cooking adventures. And if you enjoyed it, don't forget to give it a thumbs up or share it with your friends! You can help my channel by tagging @vocabularyoffood in your cooks. <3