I personally don’t know anyone who tried tteokbokki for the first time and didn’t like it. Korean food and snacks are becoming more and more popular these days and one of the many things you see on social media is the mouth-watering image of chewy tteokbokki. The word ‘tteokbokki’ makes my mouth water as I’m writing this.
What is tteokbokki you ask? Let’s break it down. Tteok (떡) means rice cake. Rice cake is basically cooked rice pounded into a chewy, sticky dough shaped in various forms depending on the type of food it is used in. Bokki (볶이) in Korean meanings something that is stir fried. So ‘tteokbokki’ means rice cake stir fried in some form of sauce (usually in gochujang sauce or some spicy sauce).
Tteokbokki is a street food and is usually eaten as a snack. You can find tteokbokki 포장마차 (po.jang.ma.cha; snack carts) in almost every popular Korean streets or markets (image below). There are all kinds of snacks you can indulge on in one of these snack carts ranging from deep fried veggies, tteokbokki, to fish cakes and blood sausages. It is so popular that you probably have to wait in line before everyone else is done with their food until you can get your food.
Photo credits: https://educalingo.com/ms/dic-ko/pojangmacha
Making tteokbokki is quite easy but getting the exact same flavors as the ones at the snack carts is quite difficult. But homemade tteokbokki is just as yummy as snack cart tteokbokki’s! There are so many ways to eat tteokbokki and that’s the beauty of it. There is a variation of tteokbokki called ‘rabokki’ which just means that ramen has been added to the tteokbokki. If you love ramen and tteokbokki, the marriage between these two will really knock you off your feet. If you ever visit Korea, don’t miss out on the snack carts and definitely experience the Korean street foods the local way!
This tteokbokki recipe is mild and not spicy. It’s perfect for those who can’t eat tteokbokki because it is too spicy (you’re welcome). If you want a much milder recipe for tteokbokki, you need to check out my recipe for rosé tteokbokki. Enough talking, let’s get to cooking!
- 1 tbsp gochujang**
- 400ml water or stock of choice
- 1/2 onion (diced)
- 3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
- 150g Choi Kimchi
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 bag instant noodles of choice (I used Shin Ramen)
- 200g tteokbokki rice cakes
- 2 slices cheese
- 2 pre-boiled eggs
- 1 sprig green onion
- Unox sausage (optional)*
- Enoki mushroom
- Fry onion and garlic until aromatic. Then add the kimchi and fry for 30 seconds. Add 1 tbsp gochujang and stir for another 15 seconds. Add your pinch of sugar.
- Add about 1/2 of the water or stock and let it come to a boil. Add the condiments of the ramen noodles as well as the noodle itself. If you are using stock, make sure you don’t make your sauce too salty by adding the ramen condiments. Taste as you go.
- Let it cook for about 1 minute and then chuck in the rice cakes and sausage (if using). Add in a bit more of the water or stock if necessary. You will be able to tell if your noodles start sticking to the bottom of your pot or pan.
- Top up with the pre-boiled eggs and any other toppings you have. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the rice cakes are just about cooked and have a chewy texture. Add more of the water or stock if it was necessary. Add your chopped onion sprig, and enoki mushroom.
- Place the slices of your cheese on top and wait until it melts. Serve immediately.
*You can add as many toppings to this dish as you want. Some topping options are:
- Dumplings or mandu
- Shitake mushrooms
- Fish cakes or balls
- Udon noodles (instead of ramen noodles)