Is tteokbokki Korean?
Have you ever tasted tteokbokki before?
It has been a hype on social media for some time now.
But what it is exactly?
Let’s find out.
Tteokbokki Korean rice cakes, but what else is Korean cuisine all about?
What is Korean cuisine?
Korean cuisine is a culinary tradition that is native to Korea that is primarily based on rice, vegetables, and meats.
It is a unique style of cooking that is known for its bold flavors, intense spices, and complex cooking methods.
Common ingredients found in Korean cuisine include garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper paste, and fermented vegetables.
Popular dishes include kimchi (fermented cabbage), bibimbap (rice and vegetables), bulgogi (marinated beef), tteokbokki Korean rice cakes, and japchae (stir-fried glass noodles).
What is tteokbokki?
Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is a popular Korean snack food made from soft rice cakes, fish cakes, vegetables, and a spicy sauce.
It is usually served as a side dish or as a street food, and is a popular comfort food in Korea.
Have you ever tasted tteokbokki Korean rice cakes before?
How is tteokbokki also spelled?
Tteokbokki is also spelled as “ddeokbokki”, “topokki” or “ddukbokki.”
What is garae-tteok?
Garae-tteok are white cylindrical Korean sausage like rice cakes.
They are cut up into bite size bits to make tteokbokki.
Those rice cakes can also be chopped or sliced finely and added to vegetables, seafood and pork. It is usually served as a side dish or as an ingredient in other dishes.
Grilled garae-tteok rice cakes are also a popular Korean street food snack.
Rue Sainte Anne, Paris
Here in Belgium finding Korean ingredients is tough.
I really wouldn’t know where to get them.
However there is a large Japanese and Korean community in Paris.
For us Paris is just a 4 hour drive or 2 hour train ride away.
So whenever we find ourselves there, we just have to go the Opera neighbourhood.
That is where you find a street by the name of rue Sainte Anne, and it is lined with popular Japanese and Korean restaurants.
And also Japanese and Korean supermarkets!
That is where I first picked up tteokbokki Korean rice cakes!
Rice cakes vs fish cakes
Korean fish cakes is something that I would have loved to add to my tteokbokki Korean recipe.
But I couldn’t find those in Paris.
After a little research if turns out that people often make them at home instead.
Korean fish cakes are a type of fish based patty made with a combination of pureed fish, flour and seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic and scallions.
They are commonly used as an ingredient in many Korean dishes, such as our tteokbokki Korean recipe, or served as a side dish.
Are Korean rice cakes gluten free?
Yes, Korean rice cakes are usually gluten-free.
However, check the ingredients label on the package to make sure that there are no added gluten-containing ingredients.
Some varieties of tteokbokki may also contain wheat flour, so it is important to check the ingredients list before buying it.
What exactly goes into tteokbokki?
The main ingredients of tteokbokki are rice cakes, gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste), onion, garlic, and scallions.
Other ingredients that are commonly added are fish cakes, boiled eggs, cabbage, carrots and shiitake mushrooms.
Here is the recipe!
Spicy tteokbokki Korean rice cakes
Ingredients for 1 person
- 3,5 oz (100 g) tteokbokki Korean rice cakes
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ (60 ml) cup water
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Korean gochugaru red pepper flakes (or chili flakes)
- ¼ cup fish cakes, sliced (optional, if you can find them)
- 1 warm boiled egg
- sesame seeds for garnish
- If you are using dried or frozen rice cakes, let them soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes.
- Place a large wok or non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add the sesame oil.
- Sauté the chopped onion until lightly fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add the gochujang chilli paste and stir well.
- Add the soaked and drained rice cakes and toss well to coat them with the chili paste.
- Add the water and bring it to a good boil.
- Lower the heat again to a light simmer and add the scallion, soy sauce, fish cakes (if you are using them) and red pepper flakes.
- Cover the pan and cook the tteokbokki Korean rice cakes for about 8 minutes or until the rice cakes are soft and tender. Check regularly, add extra water if necessary.
- Check the seasoning in the end and add extra soy sauce or chili paste to taste if you like.
- Transfer the rice cakes with the sauce to a bowl. Add the sliced egg and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
- Serve the tteokbokki Korean rice cakes hot and enjoy!
So… how does tteokbokki taste like in the end?
The tteokbokki sauce is spicy, sweet and savory at the same time.
The sweetness comes from the gochujang or the Korean red pepper paste, and the savoriness comes from the combination of fish sauce, soy sauce. The spiciness comes from the gochujang as well and addition of the Korean gochugaru red pepper flakes.
The rice cakes have a chewy texture.
Often people will also add tomato paste or even tomato ketchup to add extra sweetness and color.
Is tteokbokki healthy?
Tteokbokki can be a healthy option depending on the ingredients that go into it and how it is prepared.
Generally, tteokbokki Korean rice cakes are high in carbohydrates and fat, but it can also contain a variety of vegetables and sources of protein such as eggs, fish cakes and seafood.
It can also be a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium and vitamin A.
Is tteokbokki vegetarian?
Tteokbokki can be made vegetarian-friendly by substituting some of the ingredients with vegetarian-friendly alternatives.
For example, instead of fish cakes and seafood you can use tofu, mushrooms and vegetables. Additionally, you can also substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce or tamari.