How to Make Tteokbokki at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Tteokbokki is a popular Korean street food dish that has been gaining popularity all over the world in recent years. It is a spicy and savory dish made with chewy rice cakes, gochujang sauce, fish cakes, and vegetables. While it may seem intimidating to make at first, it is actually quite simple with the right ingredients and techniques. In this guide, we will walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to make tteokbokki at home. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, this recipe is sure to impress your family and friends with its delicious flavors and unique texture. So let’s get started!

What is Tteokbokki?

Origin of Tteokbokki

Origin of Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki, a spicy and chewy Korean dish made with rice cakes and gochujang sauce, has become a popular street food in Korea and around the world. But what is the history behind this dish?

Tteokbokki’s origins can be traced back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897), where it was a dish served in royal court cuisine. At the time, tteok (rice cake) was considered a luxury food because it required a lot of labor to make. This led to tteok dishes being associated with special occasions and celebrations.

During the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945), tteokbokki evolved into a more affordable and accessible snack food. Street vendors began selling the dish using cheaper rice cakes and adding spice to the sauce using gochujang (red pepper paste).

In the 1950s, tteokbokki became an even more ubiquitous street food. It was cheap and filling, making it a popular choice for students and workers on-the-go. Today, you can find tteokbokki sold in street stalls and restaurants all over Korea.

Tteokbokki’s popularity has also spread beyond Korea, with many people enjoying the dish in countries like China, Japan, and the United States. In fact, tteokbokki has become so well-known that there are now many variations of the dish available, including seafood tteokbokki and cheese tteokbokki.

Overall, tteokbokki has come a long way from its royal court origins. Its evolution into a beloved street food reflects the changing tastes and preferences of the Korean people throughout history. Today, it remains a staple in Korean cuisine and a must-try dish for anyone visiting Korea.

Ingredients for Tteokbokki

Ingredients for Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki is a dish that traditionally consists of rice cakes and gochujang sauce, but it can be easily customized with a variety of other ingredients. Here are some of the most common ingredients used in tteokbokki:

Rice Cakes

Rice cakes, known as tteok in Korean, are the star of this dish. They are made from glutinous rice flour and have a chewy texture that pairs perfectly with the spicy gochujang sauce. When buying rice cakes, look for ones that are fresh and soft, as stale rice cakes can ruin the texture of the dish.


Gochujang is a fermented chili paste that adds heat and depth of flavor to tteokbokki. It’s made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, and fermented soybeans, and can be found at most Asian grocery stores or online. The amount of gochujang used can be adjusted according to personal preference, but be warned that it can be quite spicy!

Fish Cakes

Fish cakes, or oden in Korean, are a staple ingredient in tteokbokki. They are made from ground fish that is mixed with starch and formed into a cake shape, then boiled or steamed. Fish cakes have a mild flavor that complements the spice of the gochujang sauce.


Eggs are often added to tteokbokki for extra protein and flavor. They can be scrambled and mixed into the sauce, or boiled and served on top of the finished dish. Soft-boiled eggs are a popular choice, as the runny yolk adds richness to the dish.


Vegetables such as carrots, onions, and green onions are often added to tteokbokki for extra texture and flavor. They can be sautéed before adding the rice cakes and sauce, or added raw and cooked in the sauce. Other vegetables such as mushrooms or bell peppers can also be used depending on personal preference.

Overall, tteokbokki is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit different tastes and preferences. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients to find your perfect version of this classic Korean dish!

Prepping the Ingredients

Preparing Rice Cakes

Preparing Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are the star of tteokbokki, and they require some preparation before cooking to ensure their texture is just right. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare rice cakes for your tteokbokki:

Soaking Rice Cakes

The first step in preparing rice cakes is to soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Soaking the rice cakes helps to soften them and remove any excess starch. This process will also prevent the rice cakes from clumping together during cooking.

To soak rice cakes, fill a large bowl with cold water and add the rice cakes. Make sure the rice cakes are fully submerged in the water. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes, or until they are soft and pliable.

Cutting Rice Cakes

Once the rice cakes have been soaked, it’s time to cut them into bite-sized pieces. This step is important because it will help the rice cakes cook evenly and absorb more flavor from the sauce.

To cut rice cakes, drain off the soaking water and use a sharp knife to slice them into bite-sized pieces. You can cut them into rounds or rectangles, depending on your preference.

It’s important to note that rice cakes can be quite sticky, so it’s best to use a sharp knife and keep it wet while cutting. This will make the cutting process easier and prevent the rice cakes from sticking to the knife.

By properly soaking and cutting your rice cakes, you’ll ensure that they have the perfect texture and shape for your tteokbokki. With this simple guide, you’ll be able to make delicious tteokbokki that will impress your friends and family!

Chopping Vegetables

Chopping Vegetables

When it comes to making tteokbokki, the vegetables you choose can make a big difference in the flavor and texture of the dish. Carrots, onions, and green onions are three common vegetables used in tteokbokki that can add a pop of color and sweetness to the dish.

To start, you’ll want to wash your vegetables thoroughly before chopping them. For carrots, you can either slice them thinly or cut them into small strips. Slicing the carrots will result in a softer texture, while cutting them into strips will give them a crunchier texture.

Onions are another essential component of tteokbokki. They add a savory element to the dish and help balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. To chop an onion, start by cutting off the top and bottom ends and then peeling away the outer layer. Slice the onion in half from top to bottom, and then slice each half into thin strips.

Green onions are often used as a garnish in tteokbokki, but they can also be added to the dish for a subtle onion flavor. To chop green onions, first cut off the root end and any wilted leaves. Then, slice the green onions into thin rounds, separating the white and green parts.

When chopping vegetables for tteokbokki, it’s important to keep the size and shape consistent to ensure even cooking. You can also experiment with different vegetable combinations to find the perfect balance of flavors for your taste.

Other Ingredient Preparations

Other Ingredient Preparations

Apart from soaking rice cakes and chopping vegetables, there are a few other ingredient preparations that you need to take care of before cooking tteokbokki. These include slicing fish cakes and beating eggs.

Slicing Fish Cakes

Fish cakes are an essential ingredient in tteokbokki. They add a subtle seafood flavor and a chewy texture to the dish. To slice fish cakes for tteokbokki, start by cutting them into thin, rectangular strips. This will ensure that they cook evenly and quickly. You can use any type of fish cake you prefer, but the most common variety used in tteokbokki is odeng, which is made from codfish.

Beating Eggs

Adding eggs to tteokbokki is optional, but it makes the dish even more delicious. Beating the eggs before adding them to the dish ensures that they cook evenly and don’t form large clumps. To beat eggs for tteokbokki, crack them into a bowl and whisk vigorously until the yolks and whites are thoroughly combined. You can season the eggs with salt and pepper for extra flavor.

By properly preparing these ingredients, you’re on your way to making a delicious and authentic tteokbokki dish at home. Now let’s move on to making the sauce!

Making the Sauce

Mixing the Gochujang Sauce

When it comes to tteokbokki, the gochujang sauce is what gives this dish its signature spicy and savory flavor. In this section, we’ll dive into how to mix the perfect gochujang sauce for your tteokbokki.

The key ingredient in the sauce is gochujang paste, a fermented Korean chili paste with a complex flavor profile that includes both sweetness and heat. To balance out the spice, we’ll also add sugar and soy sauce.

To start, you’ll need about 1/4 cup of gochujang paste. In a mixing bowl, combine the paste with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Whisk everything together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

If you prefer your tteokbokki to be spicier, you can add red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the mix. Alternatively, if you want a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of gochujang paste.

It’s important to note that the gochujang sauce should be added gradually to the tteokbokki as it cooks, stirring constantly to ensure that it evenly coats all of the ingredients. You can adjust the amount of sauce based on your personal taste preferences.

Overall, the key to a delicious tteokbokki lies in the perfect balance of flavors in the gochujang sauce. By using the right amount of gochujang paste, sugar, and soy sauce, you can create a flavor-packed sauce that will take your tteokbokki to the next level.

Adjusting the Spice Level

Adjusting the Spice Level

Adjusting the spice level in tteokbokki is essential to achieve the perfect balance of heat and flavor. While gochujang, a spicy Korean chili paste, is the main ingredient that gives tteokbokki its signature spiciness, there are other ways to adjust the heat level according to your taste preferences.

Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes are a common ingredient used in many cuisines, including Korean. They are made from dried and crushed red peppers and add a smoky, slightly sweet heat to dishes. You can add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes to the tteokbokki sauce to increase the heat level.

Hot Sauce

If you prefer a more intense heat, you can also add hot sauce to the tteokbokki sauce. Sriracha, Tabasco, or any other hot sauce will work well. Be sure to add the hot sauce gradually, tasting as you go, so that you don’t accidentally make the dish too spicy.

When adjusting the spice level, it’s important to keep in mind the other ingredients used in the recipe. Some vegetables, such as carrots, can help balance out the heat, while others, like onions, can amplify it. It’s all about finding the right balance for your taste buds.

In summary, adjusting the spice level in tteokbokki is easy and fun. By experimenting with different levels of red pepper flakes and hot sauce, you can customize the dish to your liking and impress your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills.

Cooking the Tteokbokki

Stir-Frying Vegetables

Stir-frying vegetables is an essential step in making tteokbokki, a Korean dish that has gained popularity worldwide. The process involves heating oil in a pan and quickly cooking the vegetables over high heat until they are just tender. This cooking method not only brings out the natural sweetness and flavor of the vegetables but also helps to retain their nutrients.

To start, you will need a pan or wok that is large enough to hold all the vegetables without overcrowding them. Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add sliced onions and chopped carrots and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until they are slightly softened. Keep stirring the vegetables to ensure even cooking and prevent them from sticking to the pan.

The onions will release their juices and start to caramelize, adding a sweet and savory flavor to the stir-fried vegetables. Carrots, on the other hand, will add a bright color and a subtle sweetness to the dish. You can also add other vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini depending on your preference.

Stir-frying vegetables requires high heat and continuous movement to prevent them from burning. You can use a spatula or tongs to toss the vegetables in the pan and cook them evenly. Once the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside.

Stir-frying vegetables is a quick and easy way to add flavor and nutrition to any dish. In the case of tteokbokki, the stir-fried onions and carrots work together with other ingredients to create a rich and complex flavor profile. By mastering the art of stir-frying vegetables, you can take your cooking to the next level and impress your friends and family with delicious and healthy meals.

Adding Rice Cakes and Sauce

Adding Rice Cakes and Sauce

Now that you have your sauce ready and the vegetables stir-fried, it’s time to add the star of the dish – the rice cakes!

First, drain the water from the soaked rice cakes and set them aside. In a large pan or wok, heat up the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Then, add the rice cakes to the pan and stir-fry for around 1-2 minutes until they start to soften and turn slightly translucent.

Next, pour in the gochujang sauce you mixed earlier, making sure all the rice cakes are coated evenly. If you like your tteokbokki on the spicier side, feel free to add more gochujang sauce or red pepper flakes at this stage.

Keep stirring the rice cakes and sauce mixture to prevent any clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer for around 5-7 minutes until it thickens and coats the rice cakes.

The final step is to add the fish cakes and beaten eggs to the pan and stir gently until they are fully cooked through.

And there you have it – your delicious tteokbokki is now ready to be enjoyed! But before serving, don’t forget to garnish with chopped green onions and any additional toppings of your choice, such as sesame seeds or grated cheese.

Experiment with different variations of the recipe by adding your favorite vegetables or protein sources, and adjust the spice level to your preference. Tteokbokki is a versatile and customizable dish that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Cooking Fish Cakes and Eggs

When it comes to making tteokbokki, fish cakes and eggs are two key ingredients that add both flavor and texture to the dish. Cooking these elements can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right techniques and a little bit of patience, you can easily achieve delicious results.

To start, you’ll want to slice your fish cakes into small, bite-sized pieces. Make sure these slices are uniform in size, so they cook evenly. Next, you’ll want to beat your eggs until they’re well mixed and slightly frothy.

When it comes time to cook your fish cakes and eggs, you’ll want to start by stir-frying the fish cakes in a bit of oil until they’re lightly browned on both sides. Once they’re cooked through, you can set them aside while you cook the eggs.

To cook the eggs, simply pour them into the same pan you used for the fish cakes, and scramble them until they’re fully cooked. You may want to add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Once your fish cakes and eggs are cooked, all that’s left is to add them to the tteokbokki. Simply stir them into the sauce and rice cake mixture, making sure everything is well coated. The result is a dish that’s bursting with savory flavor and satisfyingly chewy texture.

Remember, cooking fish cakes and eggs for tteokbokki doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few simple tricks and a little bit of practice, you can easily master this essential step and take your tteokbokki to the next level.

Serving and Enjoying Tteokbokki

Plating Tteokbokki

Plating Tteokbokki can be just as important as the cooking process itself. The presentation of the dish can elevate the dining experience, making it even more enjoyable. Here are some tips on how to plate Tteokbokki to impress your guests:

  • Choose the right bowl: Traditionally, Tteokbokki is served in a deep and wide bowl. This allows for easy mixing and scooping of the dish. A bright and colorful bowl can also add to the visual appeal of the dish.

  • Arrange the Tteokbokki: Arrange the rice cakes, fish cakes, and vegetables in an appetizing manner. Scatter them evenly throughout the bowl for a balanced look. You can also use a pair of tongs to create height and depth in the dish.

  • Garnish with green onions: Green onions not only add flavor but also a beautiful pop of color to the dish. Finely chop them and sprinkle generously over the top of the Tteokbokki. This will give the dish a fresh and vibrant finishing touch.

Overall, plating Tteokbokki doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few simple touches, you can turn a delicious dish into a work of art. So why not give it a try and impress your friends and family at your next dinner party?

Topping Options

Topping Options

One of the best things about tteokbokki is the variety of toppings you can add to it. While the traditional recipe includes fish cakes and green onions, there are many other ingredients that can be used to elevate the flavor and texture of this classic Korean dish.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a popular choice for topping tteokbokki. They add a nutty flavor and crunchy texture to the dish. Toasted sesame seeds in particular bring out a deeper flavor and aroma that complements the spiciness of the sauce. Simply sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the dish before serving, and enjoy the added depth of flavor and crunch.


If you’re a cheese lover, try adding some shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese to your tteokbokki. The cheese will melt and create a gooey, delicious layer on top of the spicy rice cakes. This is known as “cheese tteokbokki,” a popular variation of the classic recipe that originated in Korea’s street food scene. It adds a creamy and savory balance to the heat of the dish.

Ramen Noodles

Ramen noodles may seem like an unconventional topping for tteokbokki, but they make a great addition. Cook the instant ramen noodles separately and add them to the tteokbokki right before serving. They will soak up the delicious gochujang sauce and add a satisfying chewy texture to the dish. Plus, the combination of the two Korean classics is sure to impress!

Whether you prefer a simple sprinkle of sesame seeds or want to experiment with cheese or ramen noodles, don’t be afraid to get creative with your tteokbokki toppings. These additions can take this classic Korean dish to a whole new level of flavor and texture.
Tteokbokki is a delicious and spicy Korean dish that has gained immense popularity all over the world. Making this dish at home may seem daunting at first, but with the help of this guide, you can easily recreate it in your own kitchen. From prepping the ingredients to cooking the rice cakes and fish cakes in a rich gochujang sauce, this step-by-step guide provides all the information you need to make a mouth-watering plate of tteokbokki.

Remember to adjust the spice level according to your taste and feel free to experiment with different toppings like sesame seeds or cheese. Tteokbokki can be enjoyed as a snack or as a full meal, making it a versatile and comforting dish for any occasion. So why not gather some friends or family and give this recipe a try? You never know, it might become your new favorite comfort food!

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