I’ve been going through a bit of a Korean food kick lately. As you know, my Kimchi Fried Rice recipe evokes fond memories of binge drinking in college, and is one of my favorite treats when I want something spicy and filling. But I’ve decided to venture deeper into the Korean food world, and this Vegan Tteokbokki (or Vegan Korean Spicy Rice Cake) just might be my new favorite thing! Seriously though, people should be eating more Korean food, amirite!?
I think one of the hurdles that people face when it comes to Korean food is understanding the ingredients and finding out where to get them. I am lucky to have one of the nation’s largest K-Towns (aka. Korea Town) here in Los Angeles, where I have access to some of the best Korean ingredients, such as Gochujang which is a fermented red pepper paste.
However, we’re living in a post-Amazon global world, where you can get all of these amazing ingredients sent straight to your door, most of the time in just 2 days (long live Amazon Prime 🙌🏽).
Of course, I implore you to explore the shelves of your local Asian grocery store to find all of the tasty gems for this recipe, including the Gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) and Tteok (Korean rice cakes). But if you don’t have an Asian grocery store nearby, rest assured that Amazon has all of the right ingredients to pull off this dish perfectly. Here are some helpful links if you decide to go the Amazon route:
Now the star of this Vegan Tteokbokki is definitely the Korean rice cake, Tteok (pronounced like ‘duck’). Shiny, chewy, and perfect for the sweet and spicy sauce we’ll create. This was my first time cooking with Tteok, and I have to say I’m a fan and can’t wait to try it in other soups and stir-fry recipes. You can find this in your Asian grocery store with the other fresh noodles or in the freezer.
Although Tteokbokki is actually a popular street food, many households love this dish as a complete meal. Try serving this spicy rice cake with ramen noodles and fried tofu, garnished with your favorite vegan kimchi or sliced cucumbers. In this instance, we are going to serve it it’s original street style topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions (optional).
One thing to keep in mind for this Vegan Tteokbokki is that the traditional version usually starts with an anchovy based broth. You can swap that out for a vegan dashi, or even a vegetable broth for more flavor, but I liked using just water to let the pungency of the Gochujang shine. Feel free to adjust seasonings and chili to your liking.
- Heat a large metal pot or a wok and bring 2 cups of water or vegan dashi to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, add in Tteok (rice cakes), Gochujang, Gochugaru, Sugar, and Soy Sauce.
- Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent the rice cake from sticking to the bottom of the pot or wok.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is reduced by more than half or until your desired consistency.
- Turn off the heat and garnish with sliced green onions and roasted sesame seeds.
Vegan Tteokbokki. 6 ingredients, 15 minutes, 1 pot. Now this is my kind of a dish!