Introduction to Tteokbokki
Tteokbokki is a delicious Korean rice cake dish that’s made with a gochujang base. If you’ve never tried rice cakes, they have a wonderful chewy texture that is similar to noodles. And a great plus is that they cook super fast. I boil mine for about 3 minutes and they’re done!
Notably, there are many variations of this dish. The version I am making here takes only about 10 minutes from start to finish.
Breakdown of the Ingredients:
- Dark Soy Sauce: Regular soy sauce can also work in this dish, but I highly recommend using dark soy sauce. It has a much richer flavor and adds a beautiful color to this sauce.
- Sugar: I like to use plain white sugar for this sauce. The sweetness of the sugar perfectly balances the spiciness of this dish. Sweet and spicy is one of my favorite flavor combinations!
- Gochugaru: Gochugaru is a Korean chili powder. It comes in both a fine or coarse powder. For this dish I like to use a coarse powder.
- Gochujang Sauce: Gochujang is a Korean chili paste and it’s absolutely delicious. It has a slight sweetness to it that really can’t be substituted with a different chili paste. Some people have asked if they can use sriracha or chili garlic paste in place of gochujang but I would not recommend that. Authentic gochujang usually comes in a tub. However, the one I buy is from Ralphs. The brand is called Chung June One. It has more of a sauce consistency rather than a paste. It is also milder than regular gochujang and tastes similar to the sauce you get on the side of your bibimbap!
- Oil: I recommend using a neutral oil for this recipe like canola. Something like sesame would likely be too overpowering here and wouldn’t mesh well with the other flavors.
- Garlic: Garlic is pretty essential in this dish as well. Make sure to chop it finely or mince it because no one enjoys biting into large pieces of garlic in a dish! (At least, I don’t!)
- Rice Cakes: I bought my rice cakes from H-Mart. I highly recommend stocking up on your ingredients from this store or your local Asian grocery store.
- Water: Make sure to add water to this dish to dilute the sauce and ensure that it evenly coats all of your rice cakes.
Process + Keys to Success:
- The process for creating this dish is pretty simple. Start by boiling your water and cooking your rice cakes. Rice cakes boil in just about three minutes.
- While the rice cakes boil, you can cook the sauce.
- Start by sautéing your garlic in oil for 30 seconds.
- Then, add in your sauce ingredients: soy, sugar, gochujang, gochugaru, and water.
- Cook the sauce until the sugar is completely dissolved and the sauce has thickened.
- Once the rice cakes are cooked, add them into the sauce. Then you’re done!
Alternate Method of Cooking:
- Some people also like to cook their rice cakes directly in the sauce instead of boiling the rice cakes separately first. I just find that boiling the rice cakes separately cuts down on time. If you prefer the first method, you’ll need plenty of water. Add enough so that the rice cakes are evenly submerged in the water. You can also soak your rice cakes beforehand. This will also help them cook a bit faster if you use this method.
- You can also add veggies and protein to this recipe as well. After you sauté your garlic and before you add the sauce in, toss in some bok choy and tofu and stir fry for a minute or two. (Or use the veggies and protein of your choice).
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp gochugaru (coarse)
- 1 tbsp gochujang sauce (I use the chung jung one brand)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- rice cakes
- 1/3 c water
- Sauté your garlic in oil for 30 seconds and then add in your sauce ingredients: soy, sugar, gochujang, gochugaru, and water.
- Let the sauce thicken and the sugar dissolve.
- Cook rice cakes beforehand according to package instructions – I typically boil mine in hot water for about 3 minutes.
- Once the rice cakes are cooked, add them into the sauce. Then you're done!
- You can also add veggies to this recipe as well after the garlic and before you add the sauce in!