Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

Yesterday Mike and I celebrated FOUR YEARS of marriage!

We were hoping to celebrate this year with a new baby, but this girl is STUBBORN. So we made the most of the evening by trying a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in the Inner Sunset (Shangri-La, on Irving). They make a bunch of different fake meats, including meatless sweet and sour pork, which came in half a pineapple.

We also got mu shu vegetable pancakes and some fried tofu balls with brocooli. The best part of the night was the fortune Mike got, though:

We are definitely prepared!

Last night we were thinking about how we spent all our anniversaries so far. For our first, we were still living in San Luis Obispo, but couldn’t remember what we did (but probably nothing too thrilling). For our second, we were living in Seoul, South Korea.

I don’t think I could pick a single favorite food from Korea because I loved so many different things, but this would definitely be in the top 3. We made it at home, had it from street carts while we were shopping, and went to a street full of restaurants solely dedicated to it (which I wrote about here).

I’ve probably made this at least a dozen times since we got back from Korea, but never bothered blogging it because some of the ingredients are hard to find. If you have a Korean grocery store nearby (which, luckily, we do!) it shouldn’t be hard to get these three things:

Tteok (or ddeok) are rice cakes. They can be cylinders or disks, and may be either fresh (which cook much faster), or dried in the refrigerator case.
Gojuchang is a sweet and spicy chile paste. It’s highly addictive.
Gochugaru is red pepper flakes (but they’re not the same as the ones that you put on pizza)

I love this dish for a couple reasons. First of all, it’s SUPER easy – you just combine everything in a frying pan and simmer until it’s done. Second, it’s total comfort food, with just enough spice (and it’s surprisingly filling). Third, it’s customizable. I’ve included ramen (Mike’s favorite), mushrooms, and different vegetables. The possibilities are almost endless (but I kept it pretty simple here).

Recipe:

about 1 1/2 lbs tteok (rice cake)
2 cups water (plus extra, if needed)
4 tbsp gojuchang
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp gochugaru (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
3 green onions, sliced in 1″ pieces (plus extra for garnish)
1/4 head cabbage, roughly chopped
3 hard boiled eggs, halved

Combine all ingredients (except eggs) in a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and the rice cakes are tender (adding additional water if necessary. Taste and adjust for spiciness/sweetness. Stir in the eggs and serve with some green onions on top for garnish.

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11 comments to Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

  • wow, that’s such a fitting fortune! can’t wait to see your little one!

  • Just so you know, I’m thinking my best “come on baby girl” thoughts for tonight and tomorrow. Just so you can have non-pitocin induced contractions! (I hear they’re pretty intense)

  • What a great fortune to have gotten!

  • That has to be the best fortune cookie message ever. Hope you get your something special very soon… if you haven’t already :)

  • What a neat fortune! Best of luck this week with the baby.

  • What a beautiful bride ;-) And I really hope that fortune comes true! I am ready to see some baby pictures!!

  • Uncle Tim

    Four years – Wow & many happy returns of the day!

    Here’s hoping that Abigail Jane arrives soon – you’ve probably heard enough about late babies, so I’ll spare you about how late Janus arrived ;)

    And here’s a late comment on your cobbler post:

    When your Mom was baking cookies (it seemed like most Saturday afternoon over rainy Eugene winters), she’d finish up by saying “I baked the cookies, so you guys need to do the dishes” more or less.

  • Ah! That fortune – so special! Frame it!!

  • Aw! What an awesome fortune! Congrats & wishing you luck!

  • Thinking about you! My daughter Anna was born last April and was a week late and I had to get induced! I know what it’s like to count down! HAng in there!!!
    :) Happy Anniversary too!

  • Alicia

    I hope your sweet baby has arrived! I just wanted to say that I made this dish for dinner last night and my husband and I loved it! Which is good because we now own tons of the chile paste and ground up red pepper flakes. We are planning on making it again next week! Thank you for the recipe.

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