Tteokbokki is a Korean street food snack made primarily of chewy rice cakes and fiery, funky gochujang chili paste. In Lonely Planet's The World's Best Spicy Food, the cakes are tossed with slices of fried eomuk fish cake, cabbage, scallions, and garlic. Salty anchovy stock bolsters the gochujang and gochugaru chili flakes add even more heat. The final assemblage is unabashedly spicy, but impossible to put down. Eat it between sips of cold, cheap beer for the perfect Friday night meal.
Why I picked this recipe: I always find myself ordering a version of this dish every time I visit my favorite Korean fried chicken restaurant (in addition to the fried chicken, of course). It was about time I made it at home.
What worked: This recipe really is as simple as throwing a few ingredients in a pot and letting it simmer. Whatever effort required to find the ingredients is definitely worth it.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: It'd be hard to make this dish without the listed ingredients. If you don't have access to a Korean grocery store, you should be able to order the ingredients online. Gochujang will keep for a long time in the fridge, and the remaining hard-to-find ingredients can be frozen. So order in bulk, and you can make tteokbokki whenever you've got the craving!
Reprinted with permission from The World's Best Spicy Food: Where to Find It and How to Make It by Lonely Planet. Copyright 2014. RRP: 19.19 Published by Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 3 cups (750 mL) anchovy stock (from stock powder) or water
- 3 tablespoons gochujang (red chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon gochugaru (red chili pepper flakes) or regular chili pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus additional to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar, plus additional to taste
- 500g (1 lb) tteokbokki tteok (rice cakes)
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) eomuk (fish cake), sliced
- 150g (5 oz) cabbage, chopped
- 2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
For the sauce: Pour the anchovy stock or water into a medium-sized pan. Add the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Make sure the paste is dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium.
For the rice cakes: Add the rice cakes and boil them until soft (roughly 7 to 10 minutes). Reduce to a simmer to thicken the sauce. Keep stirring to prevent the rice cakes from burning at the bottom of the pan.
Add the fish cakes, cabbage, spring onions, and garlic. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Season to taste with additional sugar and soy sauce, bearing in mind that the gochujang itself is spicy. Add the sesame oil, stir through and dish out into bowls. Top with sesame seeds if desired.