Tteokbokki Recipe with Chili Oil (Gireum Tteokbokki) – No Gochujang Needed
A simple Tteokbokki recipe that is made with Spicy Chili Oil instead of gochujang. In Korean, it’s called Gireum Tteokbokki. And this is a dish that I have only discovered just very recently while visiting Tongin market in Seoul. Read more about that visit here. Gireum or Kireum Tteokbokki (기름 떡뽁이) means “oil rice cakes”…hmm.. it doesn’t sound very appetizing I know but believe me, it is absolutely addicting. This Tteokbokki recipe IS SPICY though, I mean not crazy spicy but definitely spicy enough to give you the happy burning sensation around your lips. 🙂
Talking about getting addicted to spicy tteokbokki… that reminds me of my Ewha high schools days in the early 80’s… There was this Bunsik (snack) restaurant right outside our school rear entrance and they served the usual gochujang tteokbokki but with a kick! Tons of black pepper was added to it in addition to gochujang and that made it so oddly spicy that it hurt my tongue so much but my friends and I, we just LOVED it!! I think we stopped by almost everyday after school. Sweating as we ate, blowing air in and out through our mouths trying to cool our tongues and then a gulp ice cold water after each bite to put out the fire inside!!!! 🙂
Now, I’m sure having a plate of tteokbokki as snack everyday did not help my figure..hehehe.. As it happened with many Korean high school girls and boys back then, I think I gained probably about 20 lbs through my 3 years of sitting on my butt all day and eating snacks all day long cause I was convinced I needed food for my brain!! HAHAHA. The 1st year of high school was not so bad but the the last senior year (FYI, Korean high schools are only from 10-12th grades), we studied 15-18 hrs everyday. And I was one of the rare ones who slept a good night sleep of 6-7 hrs. Many of my friends tried to live on just 4 hrs of sleep each day!! 6:30am – 8:30am and 4pm – 6:30pm were free study periods where we were free to study anything we want by ourselves but we were certainly NOT FREE to go home or do anything else but to stay in the classroom. I HATED that. I LOVED being with my dog in my room!! Why can’t they give us the freedom to go home and study? Why did we have to sit in those uncomfortable chairs while dressed in our uncomfortable uniforms?? These are questions that I always had as I went through my high school years.
So, from 8:30am to 4pm, we had regular school classes which included 15 subjects in all. And everyday, teachers, parents and any adult that cared for you drummed the message into our ears – the message to prepare well for our college entrance exam because that will “define the rest of our lives FOREVER”.
Anyway, boy am I so glad those days are over. I hated studying all day long like that. I so couldn’t wait to get out of high school and have the freedom to study with my own schedule, in my place of choosing – NOT in a classroom, NOT in a library but HOME, my home sweet home. Of course, I am not saying it was awful all the time – my friends and I still found time to have fun in between those study periods and dream and talk about boys (as it was an all girls high school) on our way home. Our teachers also tried to make our class periods as entertaining as possible (well, some of them anyway) with funny stories and jokes. And we all knew they cared about us a lot and just wanted us to do well in life.
My Gireum or Kireum Tteokbokki recipe simply involves sauteeing rice cakes in red chili oil mixture. This tteokbokki recipe makes a somewhat dry version unlike the wet saucy Tteokbokki that is more common. This tteokbokki recipe is also very simple to make and very quick – under 10 minutes!!
You can also make the mixture in advance and just cook when you are ready to eat.
Spicy Chili Oil Gireum Tteokbokki
Servings: 2 Cooking Time: 9 minutes Difficulty: Easy
- 8 oz Korean tteokbokki (baton shaped rice cakes)
- 4 tsp gochukaru (Korean red chili powder) – this gives you medium spicy, add more for HOT SPICY
- 1 Tbs+1/2 tsp soy sauce (Jin Ganjang)
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 1 Tbs sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbs green onions, chopped (optional)
- If using frozen rice cakes, thaw in room temperature for 30 min or so. If rice cakes were thawed or refrigerated, boil some water in a deep pan. If you have fresh rice cakes, skip this step. Water should be enough to mostly cover rice cakes. Quickly boil rice cakes until they become fully soft – about 2 minutes.
- Drain cooked rice cakes. Empty out water from the pan (this way you don’t use 2 pans).
- Make sauce by mixing gochukaru, oil, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic powder and black pepper.
- Toss rice cakes in sauce until each tteok is well coated. If you want to cook later, you can leave rice cakes in this state at room temp up to a day and cook when ready to eat. This is in fact what the grandma does with her Tteokbokki at Tongin market. She has a huge pile of rice cakes marinating in this sauce and then stir fries in the huge iron pan when you order it.
- Warm up a saute pan on medium heat and slowly saute the rice cakes for 5 minutes, turning tteok to avoid burning. Do not cook at high heat because the sauce will burn easily. Now, it is ready!
- Serve with some choppped onions on top.
These are great as snack and a meal if you want to serve Apple Onion Celery Salad and some mild soup to balance out the heat.
BTW, the background for my images are Korean Hanji and this one is especially beautiful because they added real dried leaves into the paper. I bought these from Ilshin Hanji (일신한지 Wansangu Dongmun Gil 61, Jeonju) during my trip to Jeonju. It is located near the Hanok Village. A must visit if you like Hanji. For more info about Hanji, read my Paper Umbrealla post.
Merry Christmas everyone!