It’s one of those days when it’s a weekend and the husband is away. The only solace is X-Files and a lonely dinner for one…of my liking albeit. I decided to make tteokbokki or Korean rice cakes simmered in red chilli sauce. I learnt this recipe, especially for my fellow gourmand friend Nida who shares a love for cooking and eating as I do. She usually proposes and I dispose. This recipe is my adaptation and is not an authentic recipe. However, it’s delicious comfort food that can be dressed up or down as per your mood.
What is tteokbokki?
Tteokbokki (pronunciation tok-bok-ki) are cylindrical, chewy rice cakes sold as popular street food in Korea. It’s remarkably guilt-free by fast-food standards and is completely vegan for anyone who is asking. (Unless, of course, you don’t want it to be.)
These rice cakes are often prepared in advance and tossed in a spicy gravy made of red chilli paste of gochujang. An added layer of cheese on top is always welcome.
You can also flavour them with black bean, soy or any other sauce of your liking. That being said, if you want to avoid angry Italian nonas pounding at your front door, avoid tossing them in marinara, alfredo or puttanesca.
However, it can pair beautifully with Kerala fish curry or chicken curry. We Mallus are far more forgiving. Tteokbokki can also be added to any spicy Indian curry base if you are open to experimenting.
The ingredients for tteokbokki
You can’t make tteokbokki without rice flour or gochujang. Rice flour can be easily managed. For gochujang, there’s Amazon. If you are too loath to buy, make them at home with Kashmiri red chillies, soy sauce and some onions.
Non-traditional ingredients include fish sauce, oyster sauce and garlic powder. You can easily omit these ingredients. I personally love all the umami-ness they add.
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- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup potato flour optional
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic chopped
- 1 tsp fish sauce optional
- 1 tsp oyster sauce optional
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp furikake optional
- 2 tsp chopped spring onion greens
- Mix all the flours together with salt. Pour hot water and knead into a tight dough. Make sure the water is quite hot.
- Knead the dough till it becomes springy. To make it springy, you can microwave the dough for 2 minutes and knead till it reaches the right texture.
- Roll out batons into 4 cm pieces. Divide into two halves. Store half for later.
- Boil or steam the batons in hot water. Cook till the rice cakes float on top. Reserve half a cup of the starchy water.
- Pour two teaspoonfuls of sesame oil. You can use any neutral-tasting oil of your choice.
- Add chopped garlic and fry for a full minute on medium flame.
- Add gochujang paste. You can replace this with Kashmiri chilli paste ground with onions. Loosen the sauce with the reserved starchy water. Add tteokbokki batons and cook.
- Add fish sauce, soy sauce and a splash of oyster sauce. Taste to check if it needs salt as all the ingredients are quite salty. Add sugar to balance out the flavour. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Serve the tteokbokki on a plate. Top with furikakke, a teaspoon of sesame oil and chopped spring onions. Serve hot.