Tteokbokki, the famous Korean spicy rice cake is also often referred to as Ddeokbokki, ddukbokki or dukbokki by the Koreans. Often enough Asians will refer to those spicy rice cakes as Korean rice sticks or Topokki (which they think is easier to pronounce).
Tteokbokki is made of Korean fish cake (eomuk) and white rice cake together with sweet and spicy Korean chilli paste called Gochujang.
This is definitely one of my favorite Korean food, so in this post I’ll share with you the ways and recipe on how to make tteokbokki (Korean rice cake) that is irresistible!
Table of Contents
- 1 The History of Tteokbokki
- 2 The Secret of Korean Spicy Rice Cake
- 3 How to make Tteokbokki easily?
- 4 The 3 Best Tteokbokki Recipes
- 5 Where To Buy Spicy Korean Rice Cakes (Instant Tteokbokki)?
The History of Tteokbokki
Tteokbokki first originated from the late Josean Dynasty. During then, it actually turned up in a cookbook “Siui Jeongseo”, according to the Korean history data.
It is interesting to know that medical records (book named “Shik nyo chanyo”) do have ddeokbokki in it too! The medical book had information on how to cure people with illnesses and diseases with different sort of food. Surprising ddeokbokki was included in the medical book as well.
In the past, tteokbokki was originated plain and brown in color. It was also known as “gungjung ddukbokki” because it was from the Korean palace and was part of their cuisine.
When Korea became independent in the nineteen-fifties, tteokbokki transit from plain to become sweet and spicy after the chilli sauce gochujang was introduced. Also in the olden days, ddukbokki was made of flour.
And now of course, the modern topokki sold by many restaurants and food brands taste sweet and spicy red, and it’s made of rice instead of flour. The reason was to complement the global market which prefers rice to flour as a healthier choice.
Ddukbokki has made a name for itself since then until now, where many renowned international brands and restaurants tried to globalize the dish with a huge billion-dollar budget assistance from the government.
In the current modern days, there are some slight differences or rather constructive changes comparing the traditional tteokbokki to the current one.
Today’s version is spicier than the past savory one while the former has innovated more ingredients into the dish.
Some of those ingredients that are added to ddukbokki are fried vegetables, dumplings (mandu), ramyon (rabokki), sausages etc. Original ingredients are tteok (rice cake), garlic, onions, gochujang etc.
The Secret of Korean Spicy Rice Cake
During a trip to Korea, I was introduced to one of the stores in the streets that sell great tteokbokki. Man…the queue was so long that it took me around 25 minutes to get it.
That was the first time I tried the famed Korean spicy rice cakes.
To my astonishment, it was real good! The normal rice cakes was totally enhanced by the gochujang sauce and I nearly couldn’t stop eating.
Later during the same trip, I was brought to a class where they taught us how to make ddeokbokki. Since I really like the taste of it, I paid 101% attention to the teacher.
She even revealed her secret recipe on how to make such an outstanding Korean spicy rice cakes. So today I’m also going to let this secret out to my readers here and hope that all of you will be able to enjoy the best tteokbokki that you make yourself.
So here is the secret.
In this tteokbokki recipe, the 2 ingredients that you must not miss out is the dried kelp and dried anchovy.
Dried kelp is one of the most important broth base that is commonly used in many Korean recipes. It has an umami flavor and really brings out the taste of the broth.
Dried anchovies is also one of the main ingredients in Korean stews and dishes, raw ones are used to make fermented (pickled) fish. There are different sizes of anchovy, usually the smaller ones are used for side dishes while the larger ones are or stews and broths.
There are different ways to consume dried anchovies too. You can treat them as a snack (taste especially well with the gochujang sauce), or you can fry them with some shallots, garlic and salt to achieve something like a crunchy fish salad.
You may try to make topokki without the 2 ingredients mentioned above and I can almost guarantee that the fragrant and taste will be radically different.
And of course you can’t miss out the rice cake. If you are going to make the dough with rice flour yourself, use either a bread machine or a good quality food processor that is strong enough to knead the dough.
So let’s go and start cooking with my tteokbokki recipe!
How to make Tteokbokki easily?
- 1 tablespoon Korean red chili pepper paste (Gochujang)
- 3 teaspoons Korean red chili pepper flakes (Gochugaru)
- 3/4 tablespoon sugar
- 4 ounces fish cake
- 2 green onions, sliced into 2-inch long
- 1 hard-boiled egg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 pound tteok (cylinder shaped Korean rice cake), cut into 3-inch long
- 1/2 stalk carrot
- 5 pieces dried kelp
- 5 dried anchovies (with intestines removed) or 3 cups anchovy broth
- 3 cups water
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- First of all, boil some water. After water is boiled, pour it into a bowl.
- Add the rice cakes into the hot water. Soak it for around 15 minutes. This is an important first step you have to start off with if you want better texture and chewier Korean spicy rice cakes later on.
- On the other side, get a skillet. Add dried kelp, dried anchovies and 3 cups of water into it. Bring to boil for about 10 – 15 minutes over medium heat.
- Add in gochujang, gochugaru, sugar, garlic and carrots. Stir them well to make sure the chilli paste and chilli flakes are dissolved.
- Remove the anchovies and kelp from the stock.
- Add in the rice cakes, fish cake, hard-boiled egg and green onions. Bring to boil and keep stirring for about 10 minutes until the rice cakes turn soft and the sauce thickens.
- Boil longer if the rice cakes have not become soft, else the texture wouldn’t be as nice.
- Serve the dish while it’s hot. You may add some sesame seeds if you like to.
- One thing to take note is that if you wish to reheat tteokbokki, pour it into a pan and add some water. Stir it over low heat.
The 3 Best Tteokbokki Recipes
Where To Buy Spicy Korean Rice Cakes (Instant Tteokbokki)?
Cooking is always time consuming. So if you have a very busy schedule but suddenly crave for ddeokbokki, don’t fret because there’s a way!
After you bought the instant rice cakes, what you need to do is to open up the seal of the cup that contains the rice cakes. Add in the pre-made sauce, some hot water and put it inside the microwave for around 1 to 2 minutes.
With that, you have the instant tteokbokki and you are ready to eat! It’s that easy.
But of course if you are looking for highest quality and best dukbokki, then the only way is to cook it yourself with those tteokbokki recipes given above.
Please help to share this blog post with your family and friends if you enjoyed reading and cooking the rice cakes J Enjoy your Korean rice cakes and have a great day!