Gungjung Tteokbokki (Korean Royal Court Rice Cakes)

Gungjung Tteokbokki (Korean Royal Court Rice Cakes)

This savory-sweet rice cake dish is similar to the tteokbokki that was served in the Korean royal court during the Joseon Dynasty. Its spicy gochujang-rich younger cousin is better-known, but this milder version was created before the introduction of chile peppers to Korean cuisine. Gungjung tteokbokki has a complex sauce of roasted sesame oil, soy sauce and aromatics. Beef, vegetables and chewy-tender rice cakes, which are sold in the refrigerated section of Korean markets, are simmered with the sauce until it reduces to a velvety glaze. For a vegetarian meal, simply omit the beef. (The mushrooms add plenty of meaty flavor.) Mung bean sprouts add texture, but they can be left out, if you can’t find them.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, black pepper, 2 tablespoons of the scallions and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer half of the sauce to another small bowl.
  2. Step 2

    Thinly slice beef crosswise about 1/8-inch-thick, then cut into 2-inch strips. Add beef to one bowl and toss to evenly coat, massaging sauce into beef. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine rice cakes and enough lukewarm water to cover by 1 inch. Soak for 10 minutes. Drain, then return the rice cakes to the bowl. Add the remaining sauce and toss to evenly coat.
  4. Step 4

    In a large skillet, heat safflower oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes.
  5. Step 5

    Add beef with its marinade and cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
  6. Step 6

    Add the rice cakes, their sauce and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and rice cakes are tender and nicely glazed, about 8 minutes. Stir in mung bean sprouts and remaining scallions and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Step 7

    Divide tteokbokki among bowls and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve warm.