Tteokbokki is the latest Korean culinary import to start trending in the states. In the last week alone I saw Bon Appetit feature a Tteobokki recipe, and even Trader Joe’s rolled out a frozen version. One of the most popular street foods in Korea, Tteokbokki is a cylindrical rice cake cut into little logs and eaten like noodles. They sort of look like rigatoni, but they are solid. And they have this amazingly fun chewy, bouncy texture. They are naturally gluten free, and they are as versatile as wheat pasta. You can find them at Asian grocers that have a lot of Korean items, either fresh or frozen. While they can be served with really any kind of pasta sauce, (Bon Appetit used them to replace the noodles in a lasagna!) I make mine in a more traditional Korean style. A little sweet, a little spicy, a little funky, and so much fun to eat!
Tteokobokki don’t have much flavor on their own, so I like to really make a very punchy sauce for them. I tried TJ’s and found it to be a little one note, mostly just cloyingly sweet, and I wanted to avoid that in mine. So I used some dried anchovies, gochujang paste, kocharu flakes, soy sauce, kombu, and a little sugar combine to create a super flavorful and balanced sauce. I start by prepping the anchovies.
Scoop out the anchovies and kombu and you’ll have about two cups of broth. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the broth and whisk to combine.
Finishing the Tteokbokki
As the tteokbokki cooks, the sauce will thicken. It’s important to keep stirring it so that the noodles don’t stick to the bottom.
The sauce should be thick, almost like ketchup. Depending on the size of your noodles, it can take anywhere from 8-15 minutes to finish cooking.
Try these Tteokbokki and see why this Korean favorite is becoming such an international favorite. Take a moment and let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below, and tagging us in our pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
Love Korean food? Try these favorites:
- 1 pound tube shaped fresh Korean rice noodles
- 6 ounces fish cakes
- 3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces, thick pieces cut in half
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cups water
- 8 large dried anchovies (or 10 medium)
- 4”x6” piece of dried kombu kelp, about the size of your hand
- ¼ cup gochujang hot pepper paste
- ¼ teaspoon Korean chili flakes (kocharu)
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
Make the sauce:
- Remove the head and then intestines of the anchovies by gripping the lower neck. The guts will come out in one hard black piece. Discard the heads and guts.
- Combine the water, anchovies, and kelp in a deep skillet or pan (mine was a heavy bottom 3 quart pan). Set the pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat.
- Strain out the anchovies and the kelp. Either save them for another use or discard them. You will yield about 2 cups of broth. Add some cold water to make up the difference if you are short.
- Add the gochujang, the soy sauce, and sugar to the broth and use a whisk to combine.
For the Noodles:
- Cut the fish cakes into small pieces approximately the same size as the noodles you are using. Set aside.
- Next add the fish cakes and noodles to the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Cook the noodles for 7 minutes, stirring regularly. As the noodles cook, the sauce will thicken so it is important to stir it regularly to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the scallions and continue to cook for a couple minutes until the noodles are soft and chewy. Taste one to check and adjust seasoning with salt and ground pepper if needed. Add the sesame oil and stir.
- Depending on the thickness of the noodles, the total cooking time may take anywhere from 8-15 minutes. If you see the sauce getting too thick, add a little water. The sauce should be thick, like ketchup when the dish is done.
- Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the noodles to a plate and serve immediately.
Keywords: topokki, tteokbokki, korean rice cakes, noodles, gochujang, fish cakes,