Having a dish full of spicy Korean rice cakes, or tteokbokki, recently in a busy Korean street market brought me a lot of nostalgia. The chewy rice cakes with mildly spicy gochujang sauce … mmm! It was like a taste of my childhood.
I recently went to Korea to visit my family. The two weeks of mandatory quarantine upon arrival was well worth the effort. After the quarantine was over, I was thrilled to go out and hit different places for meals. Enjoying Korean street food was no exception.
When it comes to street food in Korea, these street vendor-style spicy rice cakes have got to be the most popular and common snack you will find. They are so addictive!
Tteokbokki (for 4 servings)
• 0.5 kg rice cakes
• 1-2 sheets fish cake sliced
• 1 Asian leek sliced
• 2 heaping tbsp Korean chili paste (gochujang)
• 1 tbsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) *see note below
• 2-3 tbsp Korean corn syrup (mulyeot) or 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
For anchovy stock
• 5-6 large dried anchovies
• 1 piece dried sea kelp (dashima)
• 4 cups water
1. Soak slices of rice cakes in a bowl of water for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the anchovy stock. Combine dried anchovies, sea kelp, and water in a pot.
3. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Discard the anchovy and sea kelp and reserve 2 1/2 cups of stock. Save the rest of the stock for later use.
4. In a large skillet, combine anchovy stock, chili paste, chili flakes, corn syrup, and soy sauce; mix well.
5. Drain the soaked rice cakes and add to the stock mixture. Add the fish cake and leek slices. Bring them to boil over medium-high heat.
6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice cakes are tender and the sauce has thickened; about 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately.
*If you want your spicy rice cake sauce more smooth, try using the fine Korean chili powder instead of flakes. You can use a blender to process the Korean chili flakes into very smooth powder. In order to do so, use about 1/2 cup of Korean chili flakes to process in a blender. Use the desired amount for the recipe, and store the rest in the refrigerator for later use.
By Holly Ford (https://www.beyondkimchee.com)
Hye-gyoung Ford (aka Holly) is a well-known Korean food blogger and the author of “Korean Cooking Favorites.” Born and raised in Korea, she has lived in many countries. She shares her recipes and food memories in her blog, Beyond Kimchee. - Ed.