Tteokbokki: Korean rice cake in spicy sauce

 Jeehyoung Shim-Chin   |  
Photo: Grant Laceta

(Photo: Grant Leceta)

Tteokbokki is a popular Korean snack food, especially among students. It is served in many small eateries and restaurants located near schools and universities. Basically, it is made of garaetteok, a chewy, cylinder-shaped white rice cake, and is cooked in spicy gochujang sauce, a Korean fermented red chili pepper paste. It is available in several variations such as tteokbokki with noodles, tteokbokki with fish cakes, and tteokbokki with seafood, among others

Its other ingredients, which include eggs and vegetables, make it a healthier option than regular meals and other snack foods. This dish can be served with sliced boiled eggs or fried dumplings.

Ingredients for the gochujang sauce
90 g gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
60 g Korean red chili pepper powder
50 g sugar
20 g minced garlic
50 mL rice syrup
20 mL soy sauce

Ingredients for the broth
800 mL water
2 slices radish
1 piece white or light green part of a leek, sliced
7–8 pieces dried anchovies
3 pieces fish cakes
1 piece dried kelp

Other ingredients
400 g sliced garaetteok (5 cm in length)
70 g sliced cabbage
50 g sliced leek (green part)
A pinch of toasted sesame seeds
Sliced boiled eggs or fried dumpling (optional)


  1. Mix all ingredients for the gochujang sauce in a container. Set aside.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the broth, except the fish cakes, into a sauce pan and allow the mixture to boil.
  3. When the broth starts boiling, add the fish cakes and boil the broth until it thickens and its color becomes opaque white.
  4. Remove the fish cakes and the rest of the ingredients to make a clear broth. Slice the fish cakes into 5-cm squares. Set aside.
  5. Stir in the previously prepared gochujang sauce in the broth.
  6. Add the sliced garaetteok and simmer until the garaetteok becomes soft, and the sauce becomes thick. (Stir constantly so that the rice cakes won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.)
  7. Add the sliced fish cakes, leeks, and cabbage and gently mix them with the sauce.
  8. Remove from heat. Serve immediately and garnish by sprinkling toasted sesame seeds on top.


Jeehyoung left her job as a preschool teacher in Korea and moved to the Philippines in 2006 to join her husband, Joong Hyoun Chin, who works as a molecular breeder at IRRI. Aside from cooking for her family and friends, she spends some of her time painting and playing string instruments with her children.

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