Anushka Gupta, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Everyone who’s been admiring and loving Korean culture, is a huge fan of TTEOKBOKKI for sure! Let’s be honest, we all have craved this dish while binge watching our favourite Korean dramas! This is that one Korean dish which has made us drool over everytime we saw our K-Celebrities eating it and enjoying its warmth and spicyness, yet delicious flavor.
History of tteokbokki dates back to the late Joseon Dynasty, where it was the part of Korean royal court cuisine, which was loved by the whole of the royal family. It was after the introduction of gochujang (spicy chili paste made of Koran red chilies) which then became highly popular. Modern tteokbokki was made by “Mabokrim” who has sold tteokbokki with gochujang since 1963.
The recipe of this dish might look very simple, and it basically includes, adding water in a pot, some onions, gochujang paste, salt, sugar, and other vegetables of your choice if preferred, bring it all to a boil and then add your rice cakes and cook it until the gravy is smooth and thick. Adding meat or other non–vegetarian products is totally optional, you can skip this part if you are vegetarian. Adding chilli paste is also totally up to you, if you do not eat spicy food, add a little bit of gochujang paste, and if you are a huge fan of spicy food and can bear with it, you may go ahead and add more paste. Trust me, it is a really delicious dish especially for those cold chilly winters, where something hot and spicy like tteokbokki is perfect. It is highly popular for a reason, and once you try it, you’ll love it forever.
Presently, it is the most popular Korean street food (along with kimbap and yang yeum) which can be purchased from street vendors across any street in Korea. Tteokbokkis are of different sizes as well, at some places you will find thin long tteokbokki, whereas at some places you will find them a little short and a bit thick, but the taste and the feel of having it will always be similar, that is pure bliss. One can also buy ready to cook tteokbokki, which comes in a container with packets of tteokbokki spices. You have to simply add the spices and hot water in the container containing tteokbokki, cover the lid for a few minutes and your hot and spicy tteokbokki is ready to eat!
Nowadays tteokbokki with cheese has become highly popular and people are enjoying the cheesy spicy tteokbokki. The cheese helps to cut down the spiciness for people who can’t bear to eat very spicy food. Over the years, tteokbokki has evolved into a more fancy dish served in a huge pot full of various dishes like ramyeon, dumplings, sausages, noodles, etc., all topped with egg and cheese. Tteokbokki in pot makes it a perfect dish to enjoy with your friends and families and have a gala time over the meal.
Everyone has their own style of eating tteokbokki. Some people love to eat it with loads of cheese, while some prefer eating it with ramyun, while the others love to eat it with a gravy dish served in a hotpot or with some kind of meat and also there are some who love to eat it in a classic manner, i.e. simply the spicy tteokbokki with soju or any kind of beverage one likes. Tteokbokki has evolved and changed with the passing time, but the popularity and the unbeatable taste of tteokbokki is still number one. It is this unbeatable taste of tteokbokki which is not only loved by the Koreans, but also by all the people across the world.
The spiciness level of tteokbokki can range from level 1, that is, the least spicy to level 5, that is, the most spicy. Not everyone can bear to finish the level 5 tteokbokki, but if you are successful in finishing it, then you are a pro in spicy food! Have fun trying Tteokbokki and tell us all about your experiences in the comment section below!