If you’ve ever visited South Korea, chances are you’ve come across the iconic street food known as tteokbokki. This spicy and chewy dish has become a staple in Korean cuisine and can be found everywhere from street vendors to high-end restaurants. But what exactly is tteokbokki, and why is it so popular? Let’s dive in and find out!
What is Tteokbokki?
Tteokbokki, also spelled as ddukbokki, is a Korean dish made with chewy rice cakes, a spicy gochujang-based sauce, and various additional ingredients. Traditionally, tteokbokki was made with just rice cakes and a soy sauce-based broth, but over time, the recipe has evolved to include a range of ingredients such as fish cakes, boiled eggs, and vegetables.
The rice cakes used in tteokbokki are cylindrical in shape and made with glutinous rice flour. They are chewy and slightly sticky in texture, giving the dish a satisfying mouthfeel. The spicy sauce is made with gochujang (Korean chili paste), soy sauce, sugar, and garlic, among other ingredients, and provides a bold and flavorful kick.
Why is Tteokbokki So Popular?
Tteokbokki has become one of the most beloved Korean dishes, and for good reason. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also incredibly affordable and easy to find. In Korea, you can buy tteokbokki from street vendors or small restaurants for just a few dollars, making it a popular choice for students and budget-conscious diners.
Another reason for tteokbokki’s popularity is its versatility. While the traditional recipe calls for rice cakes and a spicy sauce, there are endless variations to the dish. Some recipes include cheese, seafood, or even instant noodles, giving tteokbokki a unique twist that can cater to different tastes.
How to Make Tteokbokki at Home
If you want to try your hand at making tteokbokki at home, it’s actually quite simple! Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:
- 1 pound of cylinder-shaped rice cakes
- 4 cups of water
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of sesame seed (optional)
- In a large skillet or wok, add the water, rice cakes, onion, and garlic. Bring to a boil and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a small bowl, mix together the gochujang, soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Add the mixture to the skillet and stir until the rice cakes are coated in the sauce.
- Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the rice cakes are tender.
- Add the hard-boiled eggs and green onions to the skillet and cook for an additional minute or two.
- Sprinkle the plated dish with sesame seed as garnish (if using), serve hot and enjoy!
Tteokbokki is a delicious and iconic Korean dish that has gained a following around the world. Whether you’re visiting South Korea or making it at home, tteokbokki is sure to delight your taste buds