|Alternative names||Stir-fried rice cakes|
|Place of origin||Korea|
|Associated national cuisine||Korean cuisine|
|Main ingredients||Tteok (rice cakes), eomuk (fish cakes), gochujang|
Tteok-bokki (떡볶이) or stir-fried rice cakes is a popular Korean food made from small-sized garae-tteok (long, white, cylinder-shaped rice cakes) called tteokmyeon (떡면; "rice cake noodles") or commonly tteok-bokki-tteok (떡볶이 떡; "tteok-bokki rice cakes"). Fish cakes, boiled eggs, and scallions are some of the most commonly added ingredients. It can be seasoned with either spicy gochujang (chili paste) or non-spicy ganjang (soy sauce)-based sauce; the former being the prototype, and the latter often called gungjung-tteok-bokki (royal court tteok-bokki). Today, variations also include curry-tteok-bokki, cream sauce-tteok-bokki, jajang-tteok-bokki, seafood-tteok-bokki, galbi-tteok-bokki and so on. Tteok-bokki is commonly purchased and eaten at bunsikjip (snack bars) as well as pojangmacha (street stalls).
The first record on tteok-bokki appears in Siuijeonseo, a 19th century cookbook, where the dish was listed using the archaic spelling steokbokgi (복기). According to the book, tteok-bokki was known by various names including tteokjjim (steamed rice cakes), tteok-japchae (stir-fried rice cakes), and tteok-jeongol (rice cakes hot pot). The royal court version was made from white tteok (rice cakes), sirloin, sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, rock tripe, pine nuts, and toasted and ground sesame seeds, while the savory, soy sauce-based tteok-bokki was made in the head house of the Papyeong Yun clan, where good-quality soy sauce was brewed. In this version, short ribs among others was a common ingredient. The name tteok-bokki also appears in the revised and enlarged edition of Joseon Yori Jebeop, where it is described as a soy sauce-based savory dish.
It is believed that red, spicy tteok-bokki with gochujang-based sauce first appeared in the 1950s. When Ma Bok Lim participated at the opening of a chinese restaurant, she dropped ttoek accidentally and ate it, and found that it was delicious. After that, she started to sell it at Sindang and it became tteok-bokki these days. Today, the typical tteok-bokki purchased and eaten at bunsikjip(snack bars) and pojangmacha (street stalls) are red and spicy, while the soy sauce-based, non-spicy version is referred to as gungjung-tteok-bokki (궁중떡볶이; "royal court tteok-bokki"). Rice tteok gained in as the South Korean economy developed, and various versions of the dish have proliferated there and around the world.As it was a folksy food for working class people, wheat tteok was often substituted for rice.
Like other types of popular food, tteok-bokki went through various fusions. Boiled eggs and pan-fried mandu(dumplings) were traditionally added to tteok-bokki.
Haemul-tteok-bokki, (해물떡볶이; "seafood tteok-bokki") uses seafood as a sub ingredient.
Galbi-tteok-bokki (갈비떡볶이; "short ribs tteok-bokki") is a tteok-bokki uses short ribs as an ingredient.
Ra-bokki (라볶이; "instant noodles tteok-bokki") and jjol-bokki (쫄볶이; "chewy noodles tteok-bokki"), are quite similar. They both add noodles to tteok-bokki. ra-bokki and jjol-bokki differs from the kind of noodles added to tteok-bokki. ra-bokki adds ramyeon noodle, and jjol-bokki adds chewy noodles which are used to make jjol-myeon.
Jeongol (hot pot)-type tteok-bokki is called jeukseok-tteok-bokki (즉석떡볶이; "on-the-spot tteok-bokki"), and is boiled on a table-top stove during the meal. A variety of add-ons, such as vegetables, mandu (dumplings), and ramyeon or udong noodles are available at jeukseok-tteok-bokki restaurants. As jeukseok-tteok-bokki is usually a meal rather than a snack; bokkeum-bap (fried rice) is also a common end-of-meal add-on.
Variation based on sauce
First it is curry-tteok-bokki. Curry tteok-bokki is roasted by yellow Korean style curry. It uses curry powder which includes a lot of turmeric component, which makes it healthier than other variations.
Another well known variation is jajang-tteok-bokki, which uses jajang sauce instead of red pepper paste.
Piquant, red gochujang-based tteok-bokki is one of Koreans' favorite snacks. Both soupy gungmul-tteok-bokki (국물떡볶이; "soup tteok-bokki") and dry gireum-tteok-bokki (기름떡볶이; "oil tteok-bokki") are commonly enjoyed, while the former is considered as the prototype. In gungmul-tteok-bokki, kelp-anchovy stock is often used to bring out the savory flavor. Gochutgaru (chili powder) is often added for additional heat and color, while mullyeot (rice syrup) helps with sweetness and consistency. Eomuk (fish cakes), boiled eggs, and diagonally sliced scallions are common additions to the dish. In gireum-tteok-bokki, the mixture of gochutgaru (chili powder), soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil often replaces gochujang (chili paste). Soft tteok sticks are seasoned with the sauce mixture, then stir-fried in cooking oil with a handful of chopped scallions and served. Tongin Market in Jongno, Seoul is famous for gireum-tteok-bokki.
There are also many variations in Gochujang tteok-bokki. For example there is perilla leaf tteok-bokki. original gochujang tteok-bokki and etc.
Sweet and savory, brown soy sauce-based tteok-bokki is often referred to as gungjung-tteok-bokki (궁중떡볶이; "royal court tteok-bokki"). Its history dates back to a royal court dish before the introduction of chili pepper, which happened in the Joseon era (17th & 18th Centuries). The earliest record of gungjung tteokbokki was that in the 1800s, a cookbook called "Siuijeonseo". Having a taste similar to japchae (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables), it was enjoyed by the royals as a banchan and as a snack. Although traditional tteok-bokki was made with soup soy sauce, which is the traditional (and was the only) type of soy sauce in the pre-modern Korea, sweeter regular soy sauce has taken its place in modern times. Other traditional ingredients such as sirloin or short ribs, sesame oil, scallions, rock tripe, pine nuts, and toasted and ground sesame seeds are still commonly used in modern gungjung-tteok-bokki. Other ingredients such as mung bean sprouts, carrots, onions, dried Korean zucchini, garlic, and pyogo mushrooms are also used frequently. The dish is usually served with egg garnish.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tteokbokki.|
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