DDEOKBOKKI (KOREAN SPICY RICE CAKES)
Daegu Ddeokbokki 대구 카레떡뽂이
Ddeokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes) is one of the cheapest and most popular street foods in South Korea. It goes perfectly with fried Mandu (Korean dumplings), Kimbap, ramen and fried vegetables and seafood. You won’t find this recipe in any healthy eating cookbook, but that’s exactly the point. This is the ultimate Korean comfort food. It only takes 10 minutes to cook, tastes amazing and is completely vegan, dairy free and gluten free, too!
Daegu Ddeokbokki Recipe Video
Ddeokbokki reminds me of my childhood a lot. When I was a kid, there were a few Ddeokbokki restaurants around my primary school, middle school and high school. I remember I had 100 Won pocket money every morning when I was in Primary school. After school, my friends and I would go to a Ddeokbokki cafe and eat a small plate of Ddeokbokki for 50 Won and then spend the rest on an ice lolly to eat on the way back home. Good times!
When I went to my middle school, there were two Ddeokbokki restaurants in front of my school. One place sold just okay Ddeokbokki and the other one sold tasty Ddeokbokki. Everyone wanted to go to the tasty one. The restaurant was tiny and it was always crazy busy.
One day, I had to talk to my teacher for 5 minutes after school. My friends said to me, “Come to the tasty Dukbokki restaurant when you finish. We will be there!” When I finished with my teacher, the queue was too bad to get in. I couldn’t find them. Suddenly, I could hear someone calling my name, “Hyeon Jeong!!” There were around 10 Hyeon Jeongs in that restaurant at the time because I could hear, “Here I am!”, “Here I am!”, “Here I am!” My name was really common when I was at school….. I couldn’t find them. I ended up going home without Ddeokbokki and friends…
There are very famous Ddeokbokki restaurants in my hometown, Daegu. My hometown is a big city with a population of 2.5 million people. There is a famous market called Shinchun which has a Shinchun Ddeokbokki restaurant which will be recognized by lots of people from Seoul. That small Ddeokbokki place (she only had a food stall) became so famous that now she has franchises all over South Korea.
Shinchun Ddeokbokki is very spicy. There is another restaurant right by Shinchun Ddeokbokki called Goongjeon Ddeokbokki (Goongjeon means palace in Korean). It is not as famous nationally as the other one but it is very famous amongst the locals. I prefer Goongjeon Dukbokki as it has a lot of Curry powder in it. Its taste is beyond description.
When I was working after university, I didn’t have much time to go there. But, if I didn’t go for at least a month, I felt I was missing something. That’s Ddeokbokki! It’s addictive. It’s probably all those carbs! I brought my husband when we were going out. He fell in love with this Ddeokbokki. He was the only foreigner who went there at the time. The owner kindly gave us more generous portions saying “Wow, this foreigner loves my Ddeokbokki!”. She has retired now and her daughter and son-in-law are running the restaurant.
After moving to the UK, I really missed this dish. This Dukbokki has a lot of curry powder in it, which makes it tastier. When you feel down or you want to eat nice food but aren’t bothered to cook for a long time, this is just perfect. I often eat it with boiled eggs, fried Mandu (Korean dumplings) and fried tofu.
Make sure you use Korean curry powder. I know curry is not from Korea, but, if you use curry powder from anywhere else, it tastes awful. Korean curry powder and Gochujang combine together and make a wonderful taste! Hope you enjoy my secret recipe from my favourite Ddeokbokki restaurant. Let me know if you cook this. I love it when you get in touch.
Remember to use gluten free soy sauce (Kikkoman Tamari) and gochujang if you have a gluten intolerance.
- 3 ½ Cups Water
- ½ Cabbage, chopped into small pieces
- 6 tbsp Gochujang (Korean Red Pepper Paste)
- 5 tbsp Korean Curry Powder
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Corn/Rice Syrup
- 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 750g Deokbokki Deok (Korean Rice Cakes)
- Add the water and the cabbage in a pan over a high heat.
- Cover and wait until it boils. 2-3 minutes.
- Add the Gochujang, Korean curry powder, sugar, corn or rice syrup and the soy sauce. Keep stirring it until it boils. Do not use normal curry powder as it doesn’t make the authentic Korean Ddeokbokki taste. I used curry powder from a supermarket in the UK. For some reason, it turned out awful. Korean curry powder and Korean red pepper paste combine and make a wonderful taste.
- When the sauce is boiling, lower the heat to a medium- low. Add the Ddeokbokki (Korean Rice Cakes), cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. The rice cakes are done when they are soft and chewy. Now, your delicious Ddeokbokki is ready. Enjoy it with fried Mandu (Korean dumplings), ramen or boiled eggs.