Tteokbokki is a dish of simmered rice cakes. I had bought a bag of frozen rice cake noodles from a large grocery store some time ago, and only later did I discover its popularity in Korean cuisine. Luckily I did already have some gochujang (Korean chili paste) on hand, which is a very common ingredient in this dish. Though the gochujang is actually more sweet and less spicy than I expected it to be. Alas, we can always tweak our spice levels if we feel the need.

As of now I am not including a picture yet, because the one I took when I first made tteokbokki was terribly wintery (i.e., no daylight, ugly lamps). It's starting to turn to summer in Amsterdam again though, so when I prepare the dish anew I will be sure to snap a nice and light photograph.

Tteokbokki is quite simple to prepare. Two good sources are Wikipedia and Maangchi (who appears to be insanely popular in online cooking culture).

Simmer kombu in some water and remove it after ten minutes or so. Stir in the rice cakes, gochujang, and chili flakes. Gentrly simmer until the sauce starts to thicken and the rice cakes turn soft (they won't fall apart and will remain incredibly chewy). Around the end I put in some bok choy to fill out the dish a bit more.


Korean vegetable pancakes with wasabi mayonaise, in my apartment in Amsterdam, 2022.

Korean vegetable pancakes with wasabi mayonaise, in my apartment in Amsterdam, 2022.

Jeon are savory pancakes. Naturally, they come in many variations (of fillings). My kimchi was still fermenting, so we made a vegetable jeon instead. Of course Maangchi has a good write-up on this dish. Also read the Wikipedia article.

Finely julienne napa cabbage, carrot, and spring onion. Add a tin of sweet corn. Mix in flour and water (1:1 ratio) until it forms a thick, pourable batter.

Heat plenty of oil (really, it should be too much) in a pan. Pour in a few glucks of batter and spread it out. Fry on both sides.

Serve the jeon, garnished with a whisking of mayonaise and wasabi paste, and a few drops of soy sauce on top.