It may be chilly outside, but I have a delicious and spicy recipe that will warm you up! My Spicy Korean Rice Cakes (aka Tteokbokki) is a vegetarian Korean dish that is full of chewy rice cakes and vegetables. This recipe comes together in just 20 minutes and uses just a few ingredients.
Read on down below to see how I make them or watch me make them on YouTube!
All About Korean Rice Cakes
Korean rice cakes (tteok) are made with a combination of flours, including wheat and rice flour. The rice cakes are traditionally steamed and sold fresh for use in stir-frys, soups and stews. In North America, I can be difficult to find fresh rice cakes. But we can still find rice cakes in packages in the refrigerated section of Korean or Asian grocery stores. Even though they aren’t fresh, they still taste delicious in any recipe!
Rice cakes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the most common shapes are the long cylinders (called garae-tteok) and the sliced (tteok) rice cakes. The cylinders are typically best for stir-frys since they hold up well to cooking and tend to stick together less than the sliced version. However, I prefer using the sliced version as they cook a lot quicker, which means that you can eat your meal sooner!
A good tip when cooking rice cakes (especially the sliced variety) is to pre-soak them in water. The packaged rice cakes often come vacuum-sealed and the rice cakes can sometimes stick together. Soaking the rice cakes allows them to separate and rehydrate for faster cooking.
Also, when cooking rice cakes in a stir-fry like this, it is always good to stir them every 2 minutes or so. They tend to stick together and to the bottom of the frying pan– even if you use non-stick!
An Easy Vegetarian Recipe in Just 20 Minutes!
Whenever I am tight on time and need a quick and easy meal, these Spicy Korean Rice Cakes are one of the recipes that I turn to. The most time consuming part of cooking this recipe is actually chopping up the vegetables! Once that is all done, you simply add all the ingredients to the pan and let it simmer!
To add layers of flavour to this recipe, I like to add garlic and scallions. I feel like so many Asian recipes start off with these two ingredients, and they always turn out great. After frying the garlic and scallions, I add in Korean gochugaru (chili flakes) for extra spice, along with fresh kimchi and Korean gochujang paste. Gochujang adds a great thickness and sweetness to the recipe and really helps to make the sauce nice and red! However, since gochujang is so thick, it needs to be thinned out with a bit of water to turn it into a sauce that can coat the rice cakes.
A note for vegetarians: some gochujang pastes have anchovies in it, so try to find one that doesn’t have any added in. The gochujang paste that I used in my YouTube video does not have any anchovies, so my recipe is completely vegetarian!
Despite the bit of sweetness that comes from the gochujang, I like to add a bit of granulated white sugar to this recipe to balance out the spice and sourness of the kimchi. The amount of sugar that you may have to add will vary depending on the variety of kimchi that you use. So start off with 1 teaspoon and work your way up from there. Just try to not make it too sweet!
I like to finish off these Spicy Korean Rice Cakes with some fresh bok choi (for veggies) and a final sprinkle of the green ends of the scallions.
You can serve the Spicy Korean Rice cakes just like this, but if you’re feeling extra, top it off with a poached or fried egg for extra protein!
Watch the Video!
Check out my YouTube video to see how I make my Spicy Korean Rice Cakes. Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to my channel for more food videos!
Get the Recipe!
Spicy Korean Rice Cakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 3 scallions cut into 1 inch pieces, whites and dark greens divided
- 2 teaspoons gochugaru
- 1 cup kimchi
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 3 tablespoons gochujang paste *(see note)
- 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
- 4 cups sliced Korean rice cakes pre-soaked
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups bok choy ends removed
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Begin by soaking the rice cakes. Add the rice cakes to a bowl and fill it up with cool water. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to soak. Drain the rice cakes from the water after 15 minutes, right before cooking.
- Add the olive oil to a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the garlic and the white/light green parts of the scallions for 30 seconds, then add the gochujaru. Mix everything together and fry for another 30 seconds.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the kimchi to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the gochujang paste and sugar and mix to combine. Then add the drained rice cakes and water and mix to combine once more.
- Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 2 minutes over medium heat. After 2 minutes, add the bok choy, mix it through, then cover and simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the pan and mix everything together to combine. Simmer the rice cakes for another 3-4 minutes uncovered, stirring often so that the rice cakes don't stick.
- Toss in the green ends of the scallions and mix everything together once more. Serve immediately on it's own or topped with a poached egg!