It never occurred to me that 떡볶이 is such a funny-sounding name! only until I typed it in English above and tried to pronounce it as if I don’t know Korean at all. I felt like my jaw is dropping after each syllable, didn't you?
Despite this seemingly hard-to-pronounce name, tteokbokki (spicy ricecake casserole) is a widely popular street food in Korea especially loved by children and young adults. In fact, if you are in Seoul and are walking on streets, you would find it hard not to notice one tteokbokki vendor on your way and would be easily tempted to make a short detour. I think Anthony Bourdain, too, had tteokbokki as his first meal in Korea when he was on his way to hotel from the airport even as he was much jet legged.
For 2 servings
For soup base:
water (1 cup)
fishcake broth (1 cup, or water & little bit of soy sauce)
red pepper paste (2 tbl)
honey (2 tbl, or sugar & corn syrup)
garlic (1, minced)
rice cakes (20, of ttukbbokki shape)
fishcake (2, flat rectangular kind)
leek (1/2 stalk)
black sesame seeds (1/2 tbl, garnish)
1.Distangle each rice cake stick and soak them in water for 20 minutes.
2.On high heat add water (1c) and fishcake broth (1c).
3.Stir in red pepper paste (2T).
4.Stir in honey (2T), or instead you could use sugar (1T) and corn syrup (1T).
5.Cut fishcake and leek. You could also add few slices of jalepeno (optional) if you like it spicy.
6.When the broth is about to boil, add rice cakes and fishcakes and cook until the ricecakes become soft and chewy.
7.Add leek and garlic. Reduce to low to medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle black sesame seeds before serving.
Spicy Rice Cake Casserole