Tteokbokki I guess is one of the most popular Korean dish after Kimchi and Bulgogi, it’s a traditional street food made out of soft rice cake, sliced fish cakes and sometimes boiled eggs served on a sweet red chili sauce called gochujang.
Like some of the popular dishes in Korea this dates back to the Joseon rule (1392–1897) and like many popular dishes out there the exact origins are yet unproven but several theories exists. One of the most possible ones was from a bibliographic data stating that tteokbokki first appeared in a cook book called “Siui Jeongseo” written during the late Joseon dynasty but it was also believed that the main ingredient “tteok” or rice cake was created during Three Kingdoms period (220–280) meaning it predates this period which was at least 10 centuries earlier.
There were also some accounts of this dish on a book called “Shik Nyo Chanyo”, a medical record book written by Jeon Sunui during the Joseon dynasty, in this book it states that tteokbokki was to be used on certain ailments and it can help cure them. Another important information about this dish is that Tteokbokki was a part of the Korean royal court cuisine in the Joseon period. If you notice most of the accounts was from the Joseon rule although most of the ingredient predates it, the case might be they just started documenting things during this period but the actual dish already existed before.
Today this dish is not just for the Royals but it is almost available everywhere, it also underwent a lot of changes compared to the original one which was brown and plain, now with the use of gochujang and fish cakes it more vibrant and flavourful. Other ingredients can also be added to the dish and the popular ones are hard boiled eggs, pan-fried mandu (Korean dumplings), sausages, vegetables and even cheese.
Today we will be making the most common version and here is how I made them.
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add rice cake and soak it for 15-20 minutes or until soft.
- In a large pan combine anchovy stock, gochujang, soy sauce and brown sugar, bring it to a boil.
- Drain rice cakes then add into the boiling sauce, reduce heat to low then cook for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Add the rice cakes and cook for 5 more minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat, stir in the spring onions, garnish with sesame seeds, and then serve with hard boiled eggs