Hot Takes: Everything Revolves Around Tteokbokki!
The sound of packaging ripping open to sweet and salty deliciousness is music to our ears, but every now and then, we love to indulge in snacks that take a little more heat. While these Korean bites take a bit more effort, it only means the results are that much more delicious!
Normally with gochujang (고추장)-based sauce and served with fish cakes, tteokbokki (떡볶이) is the ultimate snack and comfort food. But who says that you always have to eat them this way? There’s a variety of ways to spice up your tteokbokki and try new things, so there’s definitely something for everyone!
- Curry Tteokbokki
Instead of eating curry with rice, you can combine your favourite curry with tteokbokki! The possibilities and combinations are endless but ultimately, always delicious and diverse. The way I like to make curry tteokbokki is by cooking or frying vegetables first, usually using onions, broccoli, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Then, you can add some water, let it boil, and add your curry. Tteokbokki is added last. This combination is vegan, but you could add beef or chicken if that’s what you like with your curry.
Another tip: Buy the mini tteokbokki to cook with your curry. They cook a lot faster and are easier to eat with all the chopped up vegetables and meat!
- Miso with Tteokbokki
If you love soup, this is going to be perfect for you: Miso soup grouped with tteokbokki! The soup is made by heating up broth and mixing it with miso paste; usually spring onions, tofu, and seaweed are then added. Here, tteokbokki would make a good addition as well! It’s a great way to add some texture and a satiable element to the soup. Also, it’s something that doesn’t require a lot of preparation or cooking time at all. So, this is a quick treat that you can make anytime!
You might have heard of jajangmyeon (짜장면)—noodles with a delicious black bean sauce and topped with various vegetables such as onions, cabbage or peas and meat. Noodles are great and all, but what about replacing them with tteokbokki instead?! The black bean paste that is used for this sauce is called chunjang (춘장). It has to be fried first, as the paste itself has a slightly bitter taste to it. Once fried, it gets less bitter, but if there is still too much bitterness for your taste, you can simply add some sugar to it. The fried paste is then set aside while you fry the rest of the ingredients and then worked into them later. Add some water (or broth for a more savoury taste!), stir well, and then add tteokbokki as the last step. Voilà, you’ve created a delicious and savoury dish!
- Deep-Fried Tteokbokki
Even fried, tteokbokki is super delicious! (Seriously, is there anything tteokbokki wouldn’t taste good with?)
Similar to curry tteokbokki, there’s a multitude of ways to make your fried tteokbokki. Before frying, you should cook the rice cakes, and then comes the fun part: What to coat them with? One way would be to coat them with panko to make them really crispy after frying. For the cheese lovers, add some parmesan to the panko, and then coat your tteokbokki! Love your gochujang sauce? Coat your tteokbokki in a gochujang-soy sauce mixture and then fry them to create some crispy and spicy goodness!
- Tteokbokki Skewers
Tteokbokki skewers are very popular as street food, and usually made with the same method as the aforementioned fried gochujang tteokbokki. The rice cakes are put on skewers, and after marinating, either fried or grilled until they are soft on the inside but crispy on the outside. This snack would make a great addition for barbecues as you can pair them with sausages, beef, chicken or vegetables on your skewers and simply grill alongside. Whatever marinade you’re using for your meat or vegetables, you can use for your tteokbokki to add some taste as well!
Gungjung-Tteokbokki (궁중떡볶이) is the traditional and original dish before the now-famous tteokbokki with gochujang sauce was popularized. It dates back to the Joseon Dynasty, when gochujang wasn’t a thing, yet. This dish is made with a soy sauce-based sauce instead, giving it a mild and savoury flavour. It’s perfect for people who dislike or can’t eat the spicy version! Back in the day, this dish was actually only served in the royal court (hence the name) and was considered a very fancy dish, though it doesn’t take a culinary mastermind nor is it difficult to make! Beef and vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms or mung bean sprouts are first fried; then, the sauce (consisting of soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar) and tteokbokki are added.
These are just a few examples, and there are most definitely more possibilities out there and maybe you’ll come up with an idea? Let us know what you like to combine your tteokbokki with!
Written by Tran Trieu