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Ddukbokki - Korean Spicy Rice Cakes 떡볶이

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Labels: , , |

I am so excited today to present apparently the Korean street food from my humble kitchen - ddukbokki (떡볶이) or Korean spicy rice cakes.  An extremely comforting yet easy to make snack, ddukbokki are usually cooked with cylindrical rice cakes or dduk (made of glutinous rice flour usually and then steamed) stir-fried in a spicy gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) based sauce. These rice cakes are very dense and produce an extremely filling dish. When I saw these snacks in many a popular Korean dramas I was guiltily addicted to a few years ago, I got curious - the red gooey rice cakes looked intriguing and so appetizing to me.  It was only recently though that I got curious enough to make these for myself (armed with some tips from my Korean friend), I now totally understand why ddukbokki is so popular - warm, chewy rice cakes coated in a yummy spicy and sweet sauce - totally addictive!


According to my Korean friend, there are a million ways to make ddukbokki and every Korean household probably has different ways of making it. (There also seems to be a million ways of romanizing this snack i.e. tteokbokki, dduk bok kie, tuck boy key and the list goes on).  I prefer mine spicy and sweet so I used gochujang, sugar and a bit of ketchup for an additional punch.  These cute rice cakes are usually sold at the street stalls in Korea stir-fried with a variety of ingredients including fish cakes, a myriad of vegetables, bulgogi and even cheese or with ramen.  One can also add eggs to the dish - usually hard boiled.  I just went the bare route today, my ddukbokki consist of only rice cakes, green onions, garlic and of course a healthy sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds as the finishing touch. 


Next time, I shall try pan-frying the rice cakes in soy rather like how us Chinese like to cook radish cakes with beansprouts and chives.


200 grams of cylindrical rice cakes (I bought refrigerated ones) - I soaked mine in cold water for 10 minutes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks green onions, sliced (save some for garnish)
Handful of toasted sesame seeds

For the stock:
A handful of dried anchovies (rinsed)
4 cm of kelp (konbu)

2 tbsps of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 tbsp sugar
Dash of mirin
1 tbsp of ketchup



Firstly, prepare the stock by boiling 4 cups of water with the rinsed anchovies and kelp.  After bringing to a boil, boil on medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Remove the anchovies and kelp to discard. 


Turn heat to low.  Add the gochujang to the stock and mix well.  Add in sugar and a dash of mirin.  Mix well.  Add in the rice cakes with the minced garlic and chopped green onions.  Add ketchup. 


Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sauce starts to thicken.  The starch from the rice cakes will help to naturally thicken the sauce.  Keep stirring until the sauce reaches the level of consistency you like.  Spoon onto serving plate.  Garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.  Serve hot.

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Yue Edwards said...

this korean rice cake dish looks so good and authentic!! thank you for sharing!

beyondkimchee said...

Your Ddukbokki looks just like mine. Adding a little bit of ketchup at the end makes the flavor more interesting, isn't it?
For the anchovies to make stock, look for bigger in sizes. They will produce more flavor, and no need to remove head either because they will be discarded anyway. They are the flavor booster.
Great job. Now I am hungry...

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

thanks yue - i'm not sure how authentic it is but it was good! lol

beyond - haha're right on the anchovies, I couldn't find bigger ones at the time and so I added some konbu for more flavour hehe..thanks for the tip on not removing the heads..I'm usually too lazy to do that hehe

tigerfish said...

Did you buy your korean rice cakes? Sure! Spicy is good in this cold weather. :)

Little Inbox said...

I have a packet of dried rice cake keep for quite some time. I want to get it cooked.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

TF - yes I bought the rice cakes or dduk to be cooked!

Little Inbox - dried ones? I've only seen the frozen or refrigerated ones (Korean version),the dried ones tend to be from China? not sure if they are the same :P This is my first time cooking rice cakes of any kind!

LimeCake said...

Oh yum that looks fabulous! Love the red! Rice cakes are one of my favourites.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I adore Korean food, and this looks fantastic. Makes me want to go to H-mart (the grocery) right now to get all I need to make it.

Juliana said...

Oh! I love this rice cake, but haven't had it made this way...would love to try it...looks so tasty :-)

Food For Tots said...

Wow! You're so good in whipping up Korean dishes! These rice cakes look so tempting with the spicy sauce.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Limecake - thanks!

Xiaolu - thanks! I should have added some fish cakes too :D

Juliana - hope you'll like this, this is like the national street food of Korea!

LK - thanks! you're too kind!

TasteHongKong said...

Thanks for this beautiful reminder. I have one same pack of rice cakes in my freezer too : ).

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

^ hehe great time to pull it out

Gali said...

You've made me miss Korea so badly! I wish I had access to some Korean ingredients around here... but no such luck.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Gali - how about I think they sell some korean foodstuff. hope that helps :D

dining tables said...

Wow! This is something that I really want to try! Korean dishes always look so delicious.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

^ yes, do hope you will give this a try! :D

renee said...

The ddukbokki looks great!:D I was wondering what can I use to substitute the mirin? As in, is mirin essential for this dish?

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

Hi renee! thanks for your kind words. No, the mirin is not essential for the dish but it just lends a nice fragrance but then I am a big fan of using mirin :D You could add a dash of sake to subsitute if you want. Hope that helps!

Fardowsaahmed10 said...

it looks good :D 

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