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 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're usually sealed in a vacuum packed bag and sold in the refrigerated or frozen section of any Korean or Asian grocery store.
- Anchovy stock packet - Boil with water 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 an 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. If you don't have the anchovy stock packet, just bring water or any stock to a boil.
- Once the tteokbokki sauce comes to a boil, add in the rice cakes, fish cakes, and any vegetables. Boil for about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft and tender.
- The sauce should thicken and reduce as the rice cakes soften and become chewy.
- Next, add optional ingredients such as hard boiled eggs, ramen noodles, pre-cooked dumplings (mandu), or shredded cheese.
- Finally, add toasted sesame oil, scallions, sesame seeds.
Add the following optional ingredients last:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Pre-cooked Mandu (Korean dumplings)
- Shredded cheese
- Pre-cooked ramen noodles - Add more stock/water if needed.
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.
Tteokbokki sauce is made of Korean red pepper paste (gochujang), Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru), sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. It's traditionally combined with anchovy stock to create a flavorful base for rice cakes, but water or other stock can be used.
Easy Tteokbokki - Spicy Korean Rice Cakes
- 1 lb rice cakes - about 2 ½ cups
- 1 cup fish cakes - cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 stalks scallions - chopped
- 2 large hard boiled eggs
- 1 cup vegetables (cabbage, carrots, onions) - cut into bite sized pieces
- ½ cup shredded cheese
- Pre-cooked ramen noodles
- Make tteokbokki sauce: Mix the gochujang, Korean red pepper flakes, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic in a small bowl. Set it aside.3 Tablespoons gochujang, 1 Tablespoon Korean red pepper flakes, 1 ½ Tablespoons sugar, 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce, 2 cloves garlic
- Add rice cakes and fish cakes: Add the water or anchovy stock to a large pan and bring to a boil. Add the tteokbokki sauce, rice cakes, fish cakes, and optional vegetables. See Note 1 for how to make anchovy stock.1 lb rice cakes, 3 cups water or anchovy stock, 1 cup fish cakes
- Cook: Cook over medium heat until the rice cakes are soft and the sauce thickens to your liking. About 5 to 7 minutes. Add more stock/water if desired.
- Season and serve: Taste and adjust to your liking. Add more sugar or soy sauce if desired. Top with sesame oil, scallions, and sesame seeds. If using, add the pre-cooked noodles, boiled eggs, or top with shredded cheese at this time. Enjoy!2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, 2 stalks scallions
✎ Recipe Notes
- Anchovy stock - To make the anchovy stock, add 3 cups of water and one anchovy flavoring packet to a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, remove the anchovy packet. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days until ready to use.
- Spice level - Korean red pepper paste (gochujang) and Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) come in varying spice levels - mild, medium, hot. Look on the label or ask for help in your local Asian or Korean grocery store to identify the correct spice level.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.