Hot and spicy rice cake

Tteokbokki 떡볶이

When I lived in Korea I learned the secret to making good tteokbokki from a famous place in a market. It was run by an old lady who could always be found stirring her tteokbokki. People were lined up to buy it.

I saw she used dried anchovies in her stock, and that ingredient made a huge difference in the flavor.


I once ran out of dried anchovies and made tteokbokki without it. It didn’t taste at all like what I was expecting. So don’t forget to always make a good stock with dried anchovies when you make this!




  1. Add the water, dried anchovies, and dried kelp to a shallow pot or pan.
  2. Boil for 15 minutes over medium high heat without the lid.anchovy stockanchovy stock
  3. Combine hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, and sugar in a small bowl. Remove the anchovies and kelp from the pot and add the rice cake, the mixture in the bowl, the green onion, and the optional fish cakes and hard boiled eggs. The stock will be about 2 ½ cups. ddeokbokkiddeokbokkiddeokbokkie
  4. Stir gently with a wooden spoon when it starts to boil. Keep stirring until the rice cake turns soft and the sauce thickens and looks shiny, which should take about 10 -15 minutes. If the rice cake is not soft enough, add more water and continue stirring until soften. When you use freshly made rice cake, it takes shorter time. If you use frozen rice cake, thaw it out and soak in cold water to soften it before cooking.ddeokbokki
  5. Remove from the heat and serve hot.




  1. Vicencio21 United States joined 11/13
    Posted January 12th, 2016 at 11:49 am | # |

    Hi! I really want to make this, but I am having troubles finding the dried anchovies. I saw that you said in a previous comment to use chicken broth, but I cannot eat chicken. Is it okay if I use anchovy sauce? If so, how would I use it?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 12th, 2016 at 12:58 pm | # |

      I don’t think anchovy sauce works well because it’s salty. How about using beef broth or vegetarian stock?

  2. katperng Davis joined 2/16
    Posted February 7th, 2016 at 6:55 pm | # |

    Just tried this recipe out and it was sooo good! I didn’t have any dried anchovies but I substituted it with some chicken bullion and fish sauce and personally I think it turned out wonderful!
    I paired it with two types of kimchi: Radish kimchi that I made myself and some store bought kimchi!

    See full size image

  3. Dsydgh Indonesia joined 2/16
    Posted February 6th, 2016 at 8:55 am | # |

    Hi maangchi! I just want to ask what kind of your dried anchovies that you use to making this? In my place, i have two kind of dried anchovies, first is salted dried anchovies and second is unsalted dried anchovies. What should i use? Thank you so much!

  4. rian.nguyen joined 1/16
    Posted January 14th, 2016 at 9:59 pm | # |

    How long does it take to cook spicy rice cakes?

  5. Jeyvoi Germany joined 1/16
    Posted January 7th, 2016 at 6:23 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi!
    I cant find a Shop with dried kelp, can i use something like roasted Seaweed?

    Thank you for your great work!
    I Made many delicious food with your help.
    You have a lot of Fans from Germany. Greetings !! :) ㅋㅋㅋ

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 7th, 2016 at 9:26 am | # |

      I’m very happy to hear that your Korean cooking is going well! : )
      You can skip dried kelp and use only dried anchovies. It will make the broth tasty.

  6. Sam413 joined 12/15
    Posted December 16th, 2015 at 12:22 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I made this tteokbokki using store-bought rice cakes. I soak them in water to thaw, then add it to the pan once the broth was done. After the sauce thickened, I put them on a plate to eat and was shocked! Some of the tteokbokki is chewy, and some were mushy and soggy. Do you think it is because I boiled it too long, or is it the rice cakes?

    • Shotoshi canada joined 1/16
      Posted January 29th, 2016 at 9:59 am | # |

      Sam413 Store bought rice cakes can be hard, most especially if you leave them in the fridge or on the counter too long. But dont bother soaking them, this actually prevents you from achieving greater flavor. The rice cakes should absorb some of the broth and seasoning when in the pan, when you soak them you create a moisture barrier. Having soaked them this may add to the effect of them being mushy or soggy. You might have also overcooked it as well. After the rice cakes are put in dont take more than 15-20 minutes with it on the stove. Next time even if they are hard just put them in. theyll soften in the pan.

  7. Jen0520 joined 11/15
    Posted November 28th, 2015 at 7:53 pm | # |

    I was living with a Korea girl that she taught me how to make rice cake sauce. It was delicious besides the ingredients you need is a lot more than what Maangchi asked for. But I have to say, Maangchi’s recipe is much more delicious and authentic and effortless to follow!! It is amazing. I will certainly using this recipe forever!!!

  8. ashleyn joined 11/15
    Posted November 17th, 2015 at 11:28 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thanks for putting this up! My fiancé is Korean and he insists on putting myeolchi dashida, lots of garlic, and mozzarella. He skips the anchovies (because of the dashida) and green onions. What is your opinion on this variation on the recipe? How can I tell him to improve it?

    Thanks!!!! Love you!

  9. Jordan O joined 8/15
    Posted August 28th, 2015 at 4:39 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I’m going to try making this dish and I was wondering if it would be a problem if I used a deeper pot to make this? I don’t have any flat pans like the one you used in the video.

  10. itzmizzy joined 7/15
    Posted August 17th, 2015 at 12:25 pm | # |

    Hello! i love watching your videos and cooking them. I have a slight problem though. Where i live, there is absolutely no dried anchovy sold. What should i substitute the stock with? – besides vegetable stock.

    Thank you! much love.

  11. that1girlie WA joined 4/14
    Posted July 19th, 2015 at 2:53 am | # |

    Just want to say thank you for your recipes. I am half Korean grew up with foods all homemade. This is my favorite food. Now I can make it thanks to you. My mom doesn’t use measurements, so she would just make it by request. Taste like my moms. I am going to surprise her and make it for her.

  12. ElizabethXO joined 7/15
    Posted July 18th, 2015 at 5:07 pm | # |

    I tried making this for the first time, and instead of using the fish I used chicken broth.
    It turned out like a soup because the sauce didn’t thicken, should I have reduced the amount of water I used? Or convert the other ingredients?
    I’m not sure how this is suppose to taste since I’ve never had it before.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 19th, 2015 at 10:33 am | # |

      If you keep cooking and stirring the rice cake, the broth will thicken. Or use less chicken stock.

  13. jujuJane joined 7/15
    Posted July 5th, 2015 at 12:02 am | # |

    Thank you so much for this recipe and video! :)
    I made this yesterday and it was sooooo good! I don’t usually like spicy food, but I’d thought I’d take a chance because it looked really tasty.
    My parents really liked it too and there is none left. I’ll be making this again! :p yum!

  14. K0okieM0nsta joined 7/15
    Posted July 4th, 2015 at 7:00 pm | # |

    Hi! Sorry for reacting on such an old post, but I’m in a bit of a struggle. I absolutely love Korean food but I’m a vegetarian so my choices are a bit more limited. Even though you’ve mentioned the importance of the anchovis multiple times already, is there any way I could make good vegetarian rice cakes?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 4th, 2015 at 7:06 pm | # |

      You could use vegetarian stock or make your own delicious stock. I can suggest boiling some dried shiitake mushrooms, radish, onion, and dried kelp with water over low heat until the stock turns a little brownish. To make delicious tteokbokki, the stock should be delicious.

  15. Adryyal1106 joined 6/15
    Posted June 13th, 2015 at 11:21 am | # |

    Hi maangchi, good night.. I really like your recipes.. And I always watch you in your video really inspiration. .. I wanna make this toekbokki but in my house doesn’t have oven to make garaeddeok, and in my village is really hard to find gachugaru and gachujang, what is your tip to solve this problem. . Thanks maangchi.. Always success.. .사랑합니다

  16. xxiuhann joined 5/15
    Posted May 5th, 2015 at 12:11 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi.
    I really want to try out this recipe but i’m having trouble gathering ingredients.
    Can I use something else to replace the kelp?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 5th, 2015 at 12:14 pm | # |

      Yes, you can skip dried kelp but don’t skip dried anchovies. To make delicious tteokbokki, the broth should be delicious. Good luck!

  17. AmanAmarth joined 5/15
    Posted May 3rd, 2015 at 7:32 pm | # |

    I bought rice cakes from my local Asian Market. The instructions said to soak them in water for 12 hours. after 12 hours they were still hard as rocks. I kept them in for 2 days. still hard. Please help.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 3rd, 2015 at 8:57 pm | # |

      Wow it sounds like the rice cakes dried as hard as rocks!
      Boil them until softer, then.

  18. likemycookie The Netherlands joined 3/15
    Posted March 25th, 2015 at 9:26 am | # |

    I’m going to make this for dinner tonight! I hope it will turns out yummy :) I have to improvise tho because I don’t have dried kelp and dried anchovies at the moment :(

  19. aora25 joined 3/15
    Posted March 20th, 2015 at 1:27 pm | # |

    I tried this recipe and it was delicious. Since anchovy that size is so hard to find, I replaced it with anchovy cube.
    Thank you for sharing delicious Korean recipes to us. I have tried a few and I will try more of your recipes.

  20. jenniturtle Texas joined 3/15
    Posted March 16th, 2015 at 11:29 pm | # |

    So I bought rice cakes from the store but unfortunately I put them in the refrigerator overnight and now they are hard. Can they be recovered??? TIA :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 17th, 2015 at 9:17 am | # |

      Soak the rice cake in cold water until it get soft and cook. Good luck!

  21. Sav_sss Canada (near Montreal) joined 3/15
    Posted March 15th, 2015 at 8:58 pm | # |

    Hi Maangi,
    I’ve FINALLY tried korean recipes!!! I just finished making Tteokbokki and i have to say i’m really disappointed :(. I think it’s really not my taste. I’m a really good cook that i know. So i know my recipe was exactly like it was supposed to be. I did and put everything exept the fish cake (i replaced it with ramyun) but other than that everything was there and my ingredient are from a really good korean grocery store. BUT i have a few rice cake left so i will try making one to my taste even do it will not be the authentic recipe. It was WAYYYY to spicy and fishy for me lol.

    P.s. I made tonbaechu kimchi and Kkakdugi kimchi today. That i think i like lol :P. i’m waiting 1 day for the fermentation i hope i will still like it.

    Keep up the good work :)

    • jules94 joined 5/15
      Posted May 30th, 2015 at 10:21 am | # |

      I also don’t like a fishy taste so i just used 3 dried anchovies instead of 7 and didn’t include the fishcakes and it was really tasty. It didn’t taste of fish in any way, so maybe you should try it that way ;)

  22. sridevijuttuga india joined 2/15
    Posted February 27th, 2015 at 12:47 pm | # |

    thank u maangchi…ur recepies are so good and nice….thank u so much….

  23. kmom Los Angeles joined 1/15
    Posted January 28th, 2015 at 11:41 pm | # |

    I made this today for my son and I. My son loves eating ramen so I added that in with the dduck and he loved it. I also used chicken broth instead which turned out great. Thanks Maangchi!

  24. bapjo United States joined 1/15
    Posted January 2nd, 2015 at 3:15 pm | # |

    I made this for my non Korean friends. And they said the texture was a little weird for them and that something crunchy added to it would be good. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

  25. samjjones Canada joined 12/14
    Posted December 26th, 2014 at 4:12 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi! I wanted to make tteokbokki for me and my boyfriend, but I wanted it to be done by the time I go to his home! Is it ok to cook it, then reheat it? Or should I cook it right before and keep it in a thermos until we eat it?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 27th, 2014 at 10:13 pm | # |

      I’m sorry to say that you need to make tteokbokki right before serving. Otherwise, the rice cake will turn soggy and not tasty.

  26. bewithtao Malaysia joined 12/14
    Posted December 25th, 2014 at 6:04 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi! I just wanted to ask if we can replace the dried kelp with dried seaweed? the one we use to make kimbap instead

    • bewithtao Malaysia joined 12/14
      Posted December 25th, 2014 at 6:06 pm | # |

      also, if i liked it to be a bit spicy, can i add more gochugaru or gochujang?

      • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
        Posted December 26th, 2014 at 1:07 pm | # |

        You can skip dried kelp if it’s not available but be sure to use dried anchovies to make good stock. And add more gochujang (hot pepper paste) or gochugaru (hot pepper flakes) depending on your taste. Good luck!

  27. leolove mississauga joined 12/14
    Posted December 20th, 2014 at 8:58 pm | # |

    Hey please help me I forgot to buy the hot pepper paste…will it be OK without it or can I put something else?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 26th, 2014 at 1:09 pm | # |

      Hot pepper paste is an essential ingredient in this recipe. I would wait until I get the ingredient. Happy cooking!

  28. leolove mississauga joined 12/14
    Posted December 20th, 2014 at 6:14 pm | # |

    Hi…I already made the rice cakes yesterday and froze it…is it ok to just take it out and fry it or do I have to keep it for a while outside? Thank you

  29. hzitao324 Philippines joined 12/14
    Posted December 20th, 2014 at 2:12 am | # |

    Hi! I am still 13 years old and I love cooking so here I am learning Korean Dishes but the problem is I am the one who pays for my own ingredients where in I don’t save that much to buy some ingredients that are also hard to find in my place so I am asking some questions..

    Can I not use Red pepper paste, Flakes and Kelp?

    • qistina_ joined 3/15
      Posted March 20th, 2015 at 7:14 am | # |

      red pepper paste is imp for this dish and u can leave the kelp but not the anchovy

    • pdaniellejan joined 7/15
      Posted July 5th, 2015 at 5:21 am | # |

      OMG! I’m also 13 years old. But my only problem is I have no time to sneak into our kitchen. My parents won’t allow me to cook.

      I know that’s horrible. TT_TT

  30. Simplybella United States joined 12/14
    Posted December 6th, 2014 at 8:59 am | # |

    can i add meat to this? if so what type would you see fit

  31. ashleyramk florida joined 12/14
    Posted December 4th, 2014 at 7:15 pm | # |

    can you substitute the kelp for anything else?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 4th, 2014 at 7:19 pm | # |

      You can skip dried kelp and use only dried anchovies to make good stock.

      • ashleyramk florida joined 12/14
        Posted December 4th, 2014 at 8:15 pm | # |

        i read i previous comment concerning the dried anchovy. will it taste similar it i just only use chicken broth?

        • ashleyramk florida joined 12/14
          Posted December 4th, 2014 at 8:17 pm | # |

          i mean, you said the the dried kelp can be substituted with chicken broth. can i use anything else for the anchovies. sorry for the confusion

  32. aha_cupcake Australia joined 12/14
    Posted November 30th, 2014 at 11:29 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Are the measurements you use for your recipes, such as cup and tablespoon, American measurements? I am asking because such measurements differ around the world. For example, an Australian cup is 250mL and I believe the American cup is 240mL. If so, where do I find the conversions of these measurements into millilitres/grams?

    Thank you!!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 4th, 2014 at 7:23 pm | # |

      Yes, my 1 cup is 240 ML. I bought it at IKEA in USA.

  33. Simplygee Philippines joined 11/14
    Posted November 24th, 2014 at 5:16 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi!

    I really would like to thank you for all the recipes on your website! I am a Filipina and married to a korean guy. My husband thought that I bought a ddukbokkie last night~ but the truth is I just followed your recipe~~ it was so yummy!!!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 25th, 2014 at 4:35 pm | # |

      “My husband thought that I bought a ddukbokkie last night~ ” haha, I’m so happy to hear that. Now you can make yummy yummy tteokbokki very easily.

  34. alric India joined 11/14
    Posted November 3rd, 2014 at 11:50 pm | # |

    hi,maangchi mam i want to make Tteokbokki but i cant make rice balls as the rice flour is not available here so is there any other ingredeant that i can use insted of it. and i also cant get kelp so what shoud i do

  35. missassling Malaysia joined 10/14
    Posted October 29th, 2014 at 7:45 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I couldn’t find hot pepper flakes in the supermarket and I’ll be making tteokbokki without the hot pepper flakes tomorrow, will it be alright? :) I hope you’ll reply to this because it’s urgent! Thanks~

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 29th, 2014 at 9:53 am | # |

      Yes, you can make good tteokbokki without hot pepper flakes. Yum!

      • missassling Malaysia joined 10/14
        Posted October 29th, 2014 at 7:47 pm | # |

        Hey maangchi, thanks for replying! I made these this morning and they turned out to be TOOOOO salty. I didn’t add any salt at all, what do you think may be the problem?

  36. hnal09 New Zealand joined 10/14
    Posted October 28th, 2014 at 6:09 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, Do you think it will be a good idea if I substitute Dried Anchovies with Dried Shrimps? Will it make any significant difference?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 28th, 2014 at 10:30 am | # |

      Yeah, I wouldn’t use dried shrimp. How about chicken or beef broth?

      • hnal09 New Zealand joined 10/14
        Posted October 29th, 2014 at 4:40 am | # |

        oh, I might try chicken broth then. Thanks Maangchi <3

  37. gop chang USA joined 10/14
    Posted October 25th, 2014 at 11:24 pm | # |

    Maangchi, what a great recipe once again!! I looked through the comment thread and didn’t see a mention of Sindang-dong Tteokbokki Town which is located in Seoul. This cool little street has some great little restaurants that serve Tteokbokki on steroids!! My wife and I have had Tteokbokki all over the city but this version is our favorite. If you ever go to Seoul, you must visit Sindang Tteokbokki Town! Here is a link to the Seoul City Tourist site that gives the reader a good overview of this area:

    We are going to make your version of tteokbokki with the addition of all the ingredients used in the Sindang-style tteokbokki: ramen, mandu, eomuk, jjolmyeon and of course, boiled egg and lots of tteok. We will let you know how it turns out!

  38. Estar Singapore joined 7/14
    Posted October 1st, 2014 at 10:55 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I made this for the first time and it’s awesome! I made too much so I refrigerated and heated them up the next day, and the rice cakes were still chewy and tasty – I think it’s because I used store-bought ones which are firmer. I did tweak your recipe a bit. It was a bit sweet so I added a touch of rice vinegar:

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 2nd, 2014 at 5:26 pm | # |

      Hi Estar, I make tteokbokki right before serving, but it sounds like it’s ok for you. As long as you like it, I’m happy to hear that.

  39. Justin Pennsylvania, USA joined 9/14
    Posted September 8th, 2014 at 12:49 am | # |

    I’ve made this once already and preparing to make it again! I substituted some fish sauce for the anchovies, though. Thank you so much, you’ve helped me to impress my Korean friends! :D

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