I recently went to HMart and saw my favorite jo reng ee tteok (조랭이떡) which are small figure 8 shaped tteok. I first became aware of this shape of tteok when I had the best tteok guk (떡국) of my life at YongSuSan in Samcheongdong last winter. Luckily this tteok is easy to find at HMart. (If you do not have an HMart nearby you can order the tteok and sauce from Amazon online). I prefer this tteok to the more common slanted elliptical shaped ones because these are smaller and chewier. Tteok is a quite dense carb so it is always a bit overwhelming when you have to finish a dish with many large pieces. These jo reng ee tteok are so chewy and less daunting to eat. Because it is spring and I am seeing so many beautiful flowers and vegetables come to market, I wanted to incorporate some spring vegetables. I picked up some yellow baby French beans and English peas at Trader Joe’s which were good additions to a classic Korean tteokbokki (떡볶이) dish.
Tteok is amazing but we do not have so many good options on the east coast. Wouldn’t it be nice if Momofuku milk bar added tteok to their repertoire? I can still remember the first time I went to LA and smelled the scents of a tteok jip wafting in the air in the morning. My favorite place to get tteok near NY is Yedang in Ridgefield, NJ. Sometimes I will call them for an order and have it rush delivered as gifts. I love their 두텁떡, steamed green herb tteok 제주 쑥 인절미, yakshik, and house made shikhwae / sweet rice drink (식회). Although Yedang is amazing, if you ever visit Korea, please please try some fresh tteok there as it is a totally different experience and you cannot imagine how sweet it smells and tastes. There are many tteok jips near Insadong to visit and a particular one near Ewha that is my favorite but I cannot recall the name.
Tteokbokki is such an easy to like dish. In NY I like the seafood one at Bangia the most but a lot of people seem to like the one at Arang as well. Hanjan 26 has a modern take on tteokbokki, it is super crispy and fried in pork fat and definitely worth checking out as well. Tteokbokki is such a universally liked dish it is hard to find a bad one anywhere in Ktown.
Traditional Korean recipe for tteokbokki rice cakes stir fried with vegetables and spicy red pepper paste sauce
- 1 package mushrooms (I used ½ bunashimeji and ½ bellas)
- 1 onion
- 2-3 crowns of broccoli
- ½ package yellow baby French beans
- ½ package English peas
- 5 small potatoes
- 1 package tteok
- 1 package of tteokbokki sauce or make your own with gochujang paste, sugar, and oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1lb ground beef (I used 96% lean, but you can use anything >85%)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 scallions
- 1 baby carrot
- Pinch toasted sesame seeds
- Marinate the ground beef with 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sugar, pinch of salt and pepper, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- Chop the onions, mushrooms, and broccoli into bite size pieces. Slice the baby potatoes into thin rounds so they will stir fry quickly. Thinly slice the scallions for garnishing. Optional step- take the baby carrot and cut 5 small triangular divots evenly on the sides of the carrot. Slice the carrot thinly across the length to make the floral shape.
- Stir fry the vegetables together in a heated wok with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Make sure to preheat the wok first and stir fry the broccoli alone first for 2 minutes before putting in the other vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir fry the marinated ground beef in a different pan with 1 Tbsp of heated olive oil and set aside.
- Bring a pot with enough water to cover the contents of a package of tteok to a boil and boil the tteok for 5 minutes.
- Add the stir fried beef to the vegetables and stir fry together for a minute. Add the tteok and gochujang sauce and stir fry together until well incorporated. Season with additional salt and sugar as needed. I like slightly sweet tteokbokki so I added an extra Tbsp of sugar at the end a few pinches of salt for flavor. Finsh the dish with a drizzle of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and the scallion and carrot flower garnishing.
I mentioned Yedang earlier in this post as my favorite tteok jip on the east coast, I do not have a photo of the tteok, will try to take one next time I go, but here is a photo of their traditional Korean cookies and sesame seed brittle. This is a good representation of their presentation and beautiful packaging.