Budget Tteokbokki

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Tteokbokki (Hot and Spicy Rice Cake) is a pleasure I always welcome most especially during the rainy season in the Philippines. I love O Ga Ne’s tteokbokki which I have whenever I come home from law school.

But there are times when I want to have it at home without the need to drive myself all the way to Tomas Morato for my O Ga Ne fix. I’ve come up with a cheap alternative to Korean ingredients (which are already reasonable compared to other Asian ingredients) for what I call “budget tteokbokki”.

What you will need:

Rice Cake

Glutinous Rice Flour or Malagkit Powder (if you are in the Philippines)
Water
2 tsps. sugar (I used brown sugar)
Sesame Oil

* I can’t give you an accurate measurement of the flour since I make the rice cake based on my own estimation. I add flour, sesame oil, and water when I feel it needs more*

Tteokbokki Paste

3 tbsp. Fermented Hot Pepper Paste or Gochujang
1 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar/White Wine Vinegar/Plain Datu Puti Vinegar (whichever you prefer. Apple Cider can also be used)
1 tbsp. Sugar (I used muscovado sugar)
1 tbsp. Sesame Oil

Tteokbokki Broth Base

Dried Kelp
8 pcs. Fish Ball thinly sliced
5 pcs. Kikiam thinly sliced

Other Tteokbokki ingredients

Carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium onion (white or red), thinly sliced
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Potato thinly sliced
Bean sprouts, cleaned
8 Chinese Cabbage leaves/pechay, thinly sliced
Sesame Oil
Salt
Pepper
Sesame seeds (optional)
Hot pepper powder (optional)

Let’s make our Budget Tteokbokki!

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, water, and sesame oil in a bowl. Knead the ingredients together.
    • Try using 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water first. If the mixture is too dry, add water and oil. If the mixture is too sticky, add flour. The goal is to have your hand free of flour at some point in your kneading.
    • When there is no more flour left on your hand or the side of the bowl, cut your dough in half.
    • Roll each half into long strips with a thickness of about half an inch.
    • Cover your strips with foil or plastic and place it in the fridge until you need it.
  2. In a frying pan or work, heat the sesame oil.
    • Saute the potatoes first. Season it will salt and pepper. Remove and set aside.
    • Saute the carrots next. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    • Saute the beansprouts next. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    • For the cucumber, you can leave it as it is or pickle it with vinegar and sugar.
    • TIP: You can make these in excess and store them in the fridge. It makes great bibimpap toppings!
  3. Make the broth.
    • Boil 2-3 cups of water in another wok or sauce pan in medium heat. Place your CUT dried kelp when the water is boiling.
    • When the kelp is soft, you can remove the kelp or leave it in. In my case, I left the kelp in because I love kelp anyway. At this point, switch to low heat.
    • Add the fishballs and kikiam.
    • Let it simmer while you move on to making the other tteokbokki components.
  4. Prepare the paste.
    • Mix the hot pepper paste/gochujang, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.
  5. As soon as you finish the paste, switch over to your broth. Stir your kelp/fishball broth.
  6. Add the paste you just made. Stir until all of the paste is proplery dissolved and evenly distributed. Let it simmer for three to five minutes.
  7. While waiting for the paste and broth to simmer, take out the rice cake from the fridge. Slice the strips to about half an inch. This will give you around 20 portions for each strip. Roll each portion into a ball or your desire shape.
  8. Add the rolled rice cake into the broth/paste mixture. Stir. Let it simmer again.
  9. When a few of the balls have floated, add the sauteed ingredients.
  10. Make sure to taste what you are cooking. If you need it to be spicier, add hot pepper powder. If you want more salt, just add salt. Don’t forget to stir!
  11. When satisfied, add the Chinese cabbage and the cucumber. Stir until the tteokbokki sauce is thick.
  12. Transfer to a bowl or large plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

I usually spend around Php 500 for the large jar of hot pepper paste and dried korean kelp. The paste lasts around 2 to 3 months with me while the kelp can last up to 6 months. The rice flour is around Php 80 and can generally give me around 8 large servings of tteokbokki.

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