This easy tteokbokki is made of Korean rice cakes stir fried in a sweet and spicy gochujang sauce! Add ramen noodles, cheese, fish cakes, or eggs to level up your tteokbokki!
Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is a popular Korean street food made of soft, chewy rice cakes cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce made of Korean red pepper paste, also called gochujang.
Tteokbokki, also spelled ddukbokki or ddeokbokki, literally translates to 'stir fried rice cakes' in Korean. It's made with a specific kind of rice cake called garae-tteok, which is a long cylinder shaped rice cake that's cut into 2 inch long pieces.
There's many variations to tteokbokki including the sauce and various additions. The sauce can range from soupy to dry and additions can include fish cakes (eomuk), hard boiled eggs, ramen noodles, dumplings (mandu), vegetables, and even cheese.
- Korean rice cakes - Use long cylinder shaped rice cakes called garae-tteok. They usually come in a sealed vacuum packed bag and are sold in the refrigerated or frozen section of any Korean or Asian grocery store.
- Anchovy stock packet - This is added to water and boiled to make anchovy stock, which is the base of this tteokbokki sauce. Substitute with just water or any other stock if you can't find this.
- Gochujang - Also called Korean red pepper paste. It's a fermented red chili paste full of umami, spice, and a bit of sweetness.
- Korean red pepper powder - Also called gochugaru. This has a earthy, slightly sweet, and fruit flavor. I don't recommend substituting this with any other chili flakes as gochugaru has a specific flavor that's unique to Korean food.
You can make this a vegetarian or vegan tteokbokki by omiting the fish cakes, anchovy stock, and eggs. Substituting the stock with water or vegetable stock and add vegetables like cabbage and carrots.
- Start by making the tteokbokki sauce. Mix the gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder), soy sauce, garlic, and sugar in a small bowl and let the flavors combine.
- Meanwhile add the anchovy stock packet and water to a large, deep pan and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, remove the stock packet and add the red pepper paste.
- Once the tteokbokki sauce comes to a boil, add in the rice cakes and boil it for about 5 to 8 minutes or until soft and tender.
- After about 5 minutes, the sauce should slightly thicken and the rice cakes should be tender. If your rice cakes were hard or dry to begin with, you'll need to boil it for a few more minutes.
- Next, add in the rice cakes and any optional ingredients like hard boiled eggs, vegetables, or dumplings (mandu).
- Once the fish cakes and vegetables are cooked and tender, turn off the heat and add in any pre-cooked noodles and finish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
- Finally garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
Add the following optional ingredients in the last 5 minutes:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Mandu (Korean dumplings)
- Vegetables - cabbage, carrots, onions
Add the following after turning off the heat and right before serving:
- Cheese - After adding the cheese, cover with pan with a lid and wait for it to melt before serving.
- Ramen noodles - add ¼ cup more stock to the tteokbokki and toss to combine.
You can buy rice cakes to make tteokbokki in the refrigerated section or frozen section of Korean grocery stores or most Asian stores. They will come sealed in a vacuum packed container.
Look for garae-tteok, which are long cylinder shaped rice cakes usually 2 to 3 inches long.
Leftovers should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Rice cakes will get hard when refrigerated and cold. Microwave leftovers for 1 minute or until the rice cakes get soft and tender. Add 1 tablespoon of water if needed and stir to combine.
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Easy Tteokbokki - Spicy Korean Rice Cakes
- 1 lb rice cakes - about 2 ½ cups
- 1 cup fish cakes - cut into bite sized pieces if needed
- 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds - for garnish
- 2 stalks scallions - for garnish
Anchovy Stock (substitute with chicken stock or water)
- 3 ½ cups water
- 1 anchovy flavoring packet
- 2 large hard boiled eggs
- 1 cup vegetables (cabbage, carrots, onions) - chopped into medium pieces
- Pre-cooked ramen noodles - (leave out the flavor packet); add ¼ cup more anchovy stock
- ½ cup shredded cheese - add right before serving
- To make the tteokbokki sauce, mix together the gochujang, Korean red pepper flakes, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic in a small bowl and set it aside.
- To make the anchovy stock, add the water and the anchovy flavoring packet to a large deep pan and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, remove the anchovy packet and add the tteokbokki sauce. Lower heat to medium.
- Add the rice cakes to the pan and boil for about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft and tender. If your rice cakes are hard or dry, boil for a few minutes longer.
- Next, add the fish cakes and boil for another 5 minutes. If adding hard boiled eggs and vegetables, add them at this time. The sauce should thicken up slightly. Lastly add the ramen noodles (if using) and turn off the heat. Drizzle in the sesame oil and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. If using cheese, add it on top and let it melt before serving.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.