Loaded with fiery gochujang, this tteokbokki recipe (spicy Korean rice cakes) is chewy, sweet and spicy, and ready in just 35 minutes from start to finish.
What is Tteokbokki?
Tteokbokki, also spelled dukbokki, topokki, or ddeokbokki, are Korean hot and spicy rice cakes. Cylindrical, chewy white rice cake noodles called tteok are stir fried in a delicious spicy gochujang based sauce. Savory elements are added to the sauce by way of anchovy stock, dried kelp and a splash of sesame oil.
Korean street food
Just like Japan and Thailand, Korea is known for its amazing selection of street food. Sold in pojangmacha tents (street stall on wheels), dishes such as twigim (Korean-style tempura), gimbap (Korean sushi), mandu (dumplings), yangnyeom tongdak (fried chicken), pajeon (pancakes), myeon (noodle soup), and odeng (fish cakes), occupy the busy streets of South Korea.
One of the most famous Korean street-foods, tteokbokki is fiery, savory and slightly sweet food perfection!
Grabbing a plate of tteokbokki after a few glasses of soju (Korean spirit) with friends is the ultimate late night indulgence in Korea. You can find tteokbokki sold in food stalls across Seoul and the rest of the country, where groups of people gather to enjoy great food with friendly conversations.
As for how-to-pronounce this tongue-twister of a word, I’ve found saying, “dukbokki” usually raises the fewest eyebrows when ordering at a restaurant in New York’s Koreatown. But, I’m probably still butchering the language without meaning to, ha 🙂
However, no matter how hard it is for me to say correctly, this tteokbokki recipe is super easy to whip up at home in just over 30 minutes!
Where to Buy Tteokbokki
You can find instant tteokbokki (Korean rice cakes) in the frozen section of Asian grocery stores and specialized Korean supermarkets. For those living in New York City, H Mart in Koreatown sells them, and I’ve also seen them in Hong Kong supermarket in Chinatown.
And while you are there, look for these other ingredients since you will need them for this dukbokki recipe. Another option is to purchase them on Amazon:
- Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- Gochugaru (powdered Korean chili pepper flakes)
- Anchovy soup stock
- Dried kelp
- Sesame oil
Known for its bright red color and fiery taste, tteookbokki sauce is usually made with a mix of gochujang, gochugaru, anchovy stock, soy sauce sauce, and sugar. You can control the amount of heat that goes into your sauce by adding more or less gochugaru, which a smoky Korean chili pepper flakes.
Ingredients for Tteokbokki
- Tteokbokki (떡볶이떡): The main ingredient for this recipe. Once cooked, Korean rice cakes are chewy and slightly sweet in flavor.
- Tteokbokki sauce: A mix of anchovy stock, dried kelp, gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, and sugar.
- Korean fish cakes: Authentic Korean food can be very pungent and these fish cakes definitely pack a punch in that department!
- Sesame oil: Add it once the cooking process is finished to preserve the delicate nutty flavor. A little goes a long way with sesame oil.
- Scallions: The chopped scallions add a really nice and refreshing crunch to the dish.
- Sesame seeds: Optional but recommended if you like lots of nuttiness!
My recipe for tteokbokki is very simple and traditional so I’m only using the basic ingredients. However, you can have fun and add your own favorite ingredients to it, or try these other very popular additions:
- Ramen noodles
- Shredded cabbage
- Hot dogs
How to Make Tteokbokki (Dukbokki)
- Making the stock: Pour the anchovy stock in a medium size pot along with a 6×6-inch piece of dried kelp, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, simmer for 10 minutes and remove the kelp.
- Adding the seasonings: Turn the heat back up and stir in the gochujang (Korean red chili paste), gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), soy sauce and sugar.
- Cooking the rice cakes: When the stock in boiling, add the rice cakes and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are soft. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent the rices cakes from sticking together or to the bottom of the bottom.
- Cooking the fish cakes: Chop the fish cakes into bite size pieces and add them to the pot. Cook for 4 minutes.
- Serving tteokbokki: Turn the heat off and add the sesame oil and scallions. Stir and serve tteokbokki in a bowl with sesame seeds on top (optional).
If your rice cakes come out of the package on the hard side, it’s a good idea to soak them in water for 10-15 minutes. If they’re already soft, you should be good to go. Spicy, nutty, savory, sweet and super filling – I promise it’s going to be a hit!
You may be able to freeze tteokbokki but I don’t recommend you do so. That’s because the texture of the fish cakes and rice cakes will not be very pleasant once they are reheated. It’s best to keep your leftovers in the fridge and eat them within 2-3 days.
Making Vegan Tteokbokki
Traditional tteokbokki is not vegan (this recipe isn’t either).
That said, if you’d like to make a vegan version it can totally be done with minimal hassle!
Simply use plain water in place of the anchovy stock – and omit the Korean fish cakes altogether – to make your own tteokbokki recipe entirely plant based.
While I find that the anchovy broth really fills out the flavor profile, I tried making a vegan version (with just water) at home – and it was wonderfully delicious!
It’s so cool when recipes can be easily tweaked so everyone can enjoy them!
What to Serve with Tteokbokki
Looking to create a Korean inspired feast for dinner? Here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Korean Sticky Chicken
- Vegan Jajangmyeon (Korean Noodles With Black Bean Sauce)
- Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Stew)
- Cucumber Kimchi
- Kimchi Udon Stir Fry
- Korean Kimchi Soup
- 25 Asian Side Dishes
- 27 Japanese Recipes You Can Make at Home
- 29 Tofu Recipes That Will Make You Rethink Meat
Did you like this Tteokbokki Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Tteokbokki – Spicy Korean Rice Cakes
A delicious and incendiary Korean rice cakes recipe. Add this spicy tteokbokki to your steady rotation at home!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 24 mins
- Total Time: 34 minutes
- Yield: 4 small servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Korean
- 1 pound tteokbokki (Korean rice cakes)
- 3 1/2 cups anchovy stock (or water)
- 6 x 6 inch piece dried kelp
- 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili pepper flakes)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 ounces Korean fish cake, rinsed, patted dry and sliced into bite sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 scallions, chopped
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- Soak rice cakes in water for 10-15 minutes (This step is for rice cakes that are hard. Skip this step if they are already soft).
- In a medium size pot over high heat, add anchovy stock and dried kelp and bring to a boil. Remove the kelp, lower the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Stir in gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce and sugar – and bring back to a boil.
- Add rice cakes and cook for 8-10 minute, stirring frequently until they are soft.
- Add fish cake and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Turn off the heat and stir in sesame oil. Add scallions, stir and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top (optional) and serve.
Tteokbokki is best served immediately after cooking. While the spicy Korean rice cakes can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, they will naturally get hard when they cool down. Definitely better fresh!
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 365
- Sugar: 8.1 g
- Sodium: 794.2 mg
- Fat: 2.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 75.4 g
- Fiber: 1.5 g
- Protein: 6.8 g
- Cholesterol: 4.1 mg
Keywords: spicy, mochi, Asian
Do you think tempeh could work I stead of the fish cakes?
Thank you for sharing the recipe! It’s absolutely delicious, probably the best tteokbokki I’ve ever had.
Very good Tteokbokki! I made it exactly like the recipe. I will definitely make it again. Thank you.
Thank you so much Dayne! 🙂
Do the rice cakes have a texture more similar to tofu or pasta? or something else you think is similar texture wise?
Hi Amy! It’s very similar to mochi rice cakes 🙂
Made this and loved it! Defo making again and again and again!
Thank you so much Sylvia! 🙂
My came out like soup, it was too loose. Can I perhaps add some cornstarch to thicken it up?
Hi Chas! Yes, you can add cornstarch but make sure to mix it with cold water before adding it to the sauce. Start with 1 teaspoon cornstarch and mix with 2 teaspoons cold water and test the consistency. 🙂
Wow, this TTEOKBOKKI – SPICY KOREAN RICE CAKES is looked amazing!
I never have this recipe.
My family members are loving this recipe. Now I can make it at home.
Now I can share your blog with my friend circle.
I am so glad after seeing your recipe, Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Food is one of the biggest topics of conversation online and offline. Keep it up, I am waiting for your next recipe. Your blog is very useful and helpful for me.
This is yummy!!! I love adding mozzarella cheese on top and letting it melt down maybe not traditional but sooo good!
Adding mozzarella cheese sounds really good Leah! I might have to try it next time I make it 🙂
Delicious! I lived in Korea for a year and miss the food so bad.
I had to boil the rice cakes for a bit longer to thickened the sauce, but it turned out beautifully.
Thank you for the great recipe.
Thank you so much Angie! 🙂
Replaced sugar with corn syrup to taste – it was delicious! Thank you!
Thank you LT! 🙂
I often buy instant tteokbokki in Asian grocery stores or Korean supermarkets. I love this dish because of its taste. I can enjoy it in my breakfast, lunch or even dinner. I want to do this dish by myself but it seems to be hard to find the right recipe. I can’t speak Korea language so it’s not easy to hook a recipe in English. Luckily, I found this article and it’s amazing to follow the instructions. Thanks a lot!
Hello, I’m trying to make this recipe, maybe, I’m dumb or maybe blind, but how many tablespoons of the anchovy powder should I use? Boiled in how many cups of water?
Hi Jonina! I would use a little less a teaspoon per cut of water. You can always sprinkle a little more if you think it needs it after 🙂
This tteokbokki recipe (spicy Korean rice cakes) is chewy, sweet and spicy
OMG this was good!
Korean here. Try adding half a brick of ramen, too, like they do in some of the brick and mortar places in Seoul.
That sounds delicious Diya! Thank you for sharing 🙂
This tastes absolutely amazing! Every week during my Korean class the director serves traditional Korean snacks and my favorite is tteokboki This tteokboki tastes very similar to my directors! and now I am happy that I can make it whenever I am craving her tteokboki. Thank You!
So yummy! I try it a time in Korea. Thanks for sharing, I will try it by myself
Lovely recipe! I always love to read other people make ddukbokki because there is always something different to others especially yours. I hope you can have a look and comment mine too here: http://nyamwithny.com/nyam-recipes-ddukbokki/ I always find it good to add sesame oil and sesame seeds.
What would you say is the first thing your fork or spoon goes for when you go for ddukbokki? Mine is the fishcake!
Oh nice it’s my favorite it’s really yummy
Wow. this is looking so delicious and yummy
Wow! This looks so delicious, I’ll definitely try out this recipe and will share it with my friends & family.
Do you find the need to add a cornstarch slurry to get to the right coating consistency? My sauce was loose so I thickened it up nicely. I also did not have kombu so perhaps that affected the outcome.. Thoughts?
Hi Jodi! I didn’t have any problem with the consistency, the sauce is supposed to be loose for tteokbokki, thick-ish but not gooey 🙂
Oh nice it’s my favorite it’s really yummy. Wow! This looks so delicious, I’ll definitely try out this recipe and will share it with my friends & family.
OMG this was good! I didn’t have anchovy stock so I used dashi instead and it came out so yummy! Thank you for the recipe, I’ll be making this again and again!