Tteokbokki Au Gratin

My take on the super popular Korean street food. This spicy cheesy rice cake dish will have you sniffling and reaching for the glass of milk (or beer!) while wanting more. Full video recipe after the break.


Thoughts:
I love this dish to death. It is incredibly simple, but tastes amazing. The chewy soft rice cakes with the spicy salty sauce and the gooey cheese is such a great combo. I can eat a whole giant bowl of tteokbokki (pronounced like “toe bok key”) to myself for lunch.

First off, I would like to say that I take very little credit from this recipe. The idea came from by older brother who’s very into Korean food. The idea came to him when he saw this crazy dish, on a Korean show, where they have a bunch of cooked chicken on a dish in the center, and then have a mote of melted cheese around the dish for people to dip. He thought it was amazing and wanted to somehow incorporate that into other Korean dishes. Thus we came to the discovery that cheese and spicy food is freaking amazing.

Similar to the Gamjatang recipe, you’re going to need some specific ingredients that might be hard to find. Vancouver has a very large Asian population, so it was easy for me to find them at the local Korean market. The most important ingredient (beside the rice cakes) is the spicy Korean paste called “gochujang.” Without this paste, you can’t make the dish as the flavour it provides is very specific and hard to reproduce. The others you can substitute with Japanese or Chinese ingredients but you really want to have the paste.

There are two types of rice cakes, the one you see in this video is a little harder to find. The more common one is flat oval disks that looks like it was cut at an angle. Both are good, but the thick tube like ones are definitely the better one as they have a more satisfying mouth feel to them.

Finally if you’re not that much into spicy food but still want to try it, I would recommend halving the the amount of spicy paste and flakes. Then start adding more paste until you’re satisfied. Try to add more of the paste as that’s where the sauce gets most of it’s flavour. The flakes are mostly just there to give spiciness.

I hope you try this dish and please tell me what you think in the comments below or on the YouTube video.

Cheers.


Ingredients:
1lb rice cakes
1 tbsp Korean red chili flakes
1/2 cup Korean red chili paste
2 tbsp honey
4 slices of fish cakes
3 green onions
4 cups water
7 dried anchovies
1/3 cup (6×8″) dried kelp
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup fresh mozzarella

Directions:
Grab the anchovies and remove the heads. Pour the water in a pot along with the dried kelp and anchovies, then get it to a rolling boil. Turn the heat to med-high and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the stock is simmering, lets move onto the rest of the ingredients. If you bought fresh rice cakes you’ll want to separate them by place them into a bowl of water and use your hands to peel them piece by piece. Cut the fish cakes into small triangles. They usually come in large rectangles so cut them in half and then cut the squares in half again but from corner to corner giving you a triangle. Cut those triangles in half and you’ll get a good size for the tteokbokki. Finally cut the green onions into 2-3 inch pieces and mix the pepper flakes with the paste.

Once the stock is ready, fish out the anchovies and kelp. Add the paste mixture and mix it until it’s completely dissolved. Next throw in the rice cakes, green onions, fish cakes and the honey and place it on low heat to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and has a shine to them.

Pour the tteokbokki into a oven safe container. Evenly place small pieces of mozzarella on top followed by a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Place under a broiler for 8 minutes or until it’s golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.

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