This easy Tteokbokki recipe brings together fresh rice cakes, fish cakes, boiled egg, and ramen in a delicious sweet and spicy sauce, giving an intense burst of umami flavor to treat your tastebuds. Make this incredibly flavorful dish today in the comfort of your home!
What is Tteokbokki?
Tteokbokki (떡볶이), also known as dukbokki, topokki, or ddeokbokki, is a beloved street food snack in Korea with many variations and rich history. Literally translating to “stir-fried rice cake”, Tteokbokki is made with garaetteok, cylindrical white rice cakes that have an addictively chewy texture.
These rice cakes are stir-fried with popular additions such as fish cake, ramen noodles, and/or eggs which are wrapped together in a blanket of umami-rich sauce made with a base of gochujang (Korean red chili paste).
There are many variations of this dish, but the version I am sharing with you today is the closest of its kind to those at street food vendors in South Korea.
What do I need to make Tteokbokki?
Having grown up in Korea, there are fond memories of the food I grew up on, most notably the Tteokbokki that was served in the food carts in the streets of Seoul. I’ve made countless variations to my Tteokbokki recipe to trace back to that nostalgic taste, which is the recipe I will be sharing with you today.
The sauce has an intensely rich umami flavor made with a base of a flavorful broth made with dried anchovies and kelp, which is the base of most Korean soup-based dishes. Here are what you will need for this recipe:
- Dried anchovies and kelp to make the soup stock
- These two ingredients are referenced in most of my Korean soup recipes and are the foundation of Korean cooking.
- You can also purchase pre-packaged anchovy broth packets, which is my preferred method as it makes the process so easy and seamless.
- These little packets are sold in tea bag form and are simply added to your boiling water to create fresh Korean stock.
- Other options for the broth are chicken or vegetable stock!
- If you have none of these on hand, you can also use water to make the soup, but I recommend using a broth if you want more flavor.
- Korean rice cakes (Tteok). I highly recommend using fresh garaetteok for this recipe, which can be found in Korean markets. For convenience, you can also use the frozen kind, but it will be slightly different in texture.
- When using the frozen kind, be sure to soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes to prepare for stir-frying.
- Korean fish cakes, which are often sold frozen, in sheet form. Preparation is easy – simply run under warm water for a few seconds to defrost to be prepared for stir-frying.
- Hard-boiled eggs and ramen noodles. These are optional toppings that you can add, which are my personal favorites! The ramen noodles should be boiled for about 2 minutes prior to stir-frying, to be added near the end of the cooking process.
- Green onions and sesame seeds for garnish.
- For the sauce: Gochugaru (Korean red chili powder), sugar, Korean curry powder (optional), soy sauce, Gochujang (Korean red chili paste), and Oligodang/corn syrup.
As long as you have these ingredients on hand, preparing Tteokbokki will be delightfully simple, made fresh in just a few minutes in one pan!
Tteokbokki is definitely one of the most simple Korean dishes to make, but one that is incredibly delicious and addictive. It is satisfying enough to be served as an entire meal but makes for a perfect snack as well.
Tips to make the best Tteokbokki
In the few first attempts of making this dish, it’s been a challenge of mine to replicate the taste of those served at Korean street food stands. It took a couple of tries for me to perfect this recipe, so I am sharing with you a few essential tips that will bring your Tteokbokki to the next level!
- Take the extra step of making the anchovy-kelp broth if you can. This is essential in bringing out the rich umami flavors of the dish, and will make a great difference in taste!
- To ease up the process, you can always make this broth in advance up to 7 days prior to use, or purchase pre-packaged anchovy broth packets, which is my preferred method as it makes the process so easy and seamless.
- Another key component of this recipe is to start with a generous amount of broth and sauce and simmer it down slowly to ensure all ingredients are packed with flavor, as well as the beautiful red colors that are significant of this dish. By speeding up this process, you will prevent the flavors from developing into each ingredient.
- Ensure all ingredients such as fish cake and ramen noodles are prepared according to instructions, prior to stir-frying. Using ramen noodles from scratch will soak up too much of the sauce into the noodles, and result in a dry Tteokbokki while leaving the noodles uncooked.
- Be creative with the optional toppings! Although rice cakes and fish cakes are the two core components to this recipe, you can add toppings like noodles (ramen noodles or glass noodles are popular additions), hard-boiled egg, tempura, or dumplings to bring the dish to the next level.
Other Korean recipes you may like:
- Mayak Eggs (Korean Marinated Eggs)
- Korean Egg Drop Sandwich
- Kimchi Udon Noodle Stir Fry
- Korean Glass Noodle Stir-Fry (Japchae)
- Korean Seafood Pancake (Haemul Pajeon)
- Hamburg Steak with Melted Cheese
- Kimchi Fried Rice with Tuna
Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)
- 3 cups anchovy broth chicken or vegetable broth, or water
- 250 g rice cake thawed if frozen
- 2 Korean fish cake sheets defrosted and cut in bite-sized pieces
- 2 hard-boiled eggs optional
- 1/2 package ramen noodles optional, boiled for 2 minutes and rinsed
- 1 green onion chopped
- 2 tbsp Gochugaru (Korean red chili powder)
- 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp Gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
- 2 tbsp honey sugar, or Oligo syrup
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp Korean curry powder optional
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Bring the anchovy broth or water to a boil on medium heat. Add rice cakes and sauce. Stir around the skillet to combine, then add fish cakes and hard-boiled eggs. Continue to boil, stirring often to prevent sticking, for about 5-10 minutes.
- Once the sauce has nearly thickened to your preference, add ramen noodles and green onion. Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy!