Ddukbokki – Exploring History, Variations, & Recipes 


Ddukbokki, also spelled tteokbokki, is a yummy Korean street food dish. It’s made by cooking chewy rice cakes in a spicy sauce called gochujang. The sauce is hot and tasty, with a little bit of sweetness. People often eat ddukbokki with fish cakes, vegetables, and an egg.

The word “dduk” means “rice cake” in Korean, and “bokki” means “to stir-fry”. So, ddukbokki means “stir-fried rice cakes”.

It’s believed that ddukbokki first started being eaten during the Joseon Dynasty, which was a long time ago from 1392 to 1910. At first, only rich and influential people got to enjoy this dish. But over time, it became popular among everyone. Nowadays, you can find ddukbokki all over Korea, particularly as a popular street food. In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey to explore its history, variations, and three delicious recipes of Ddukbokki.

Know the Flavor Richness of Ddukbokki

Spicy Magic: Gochujang’s Heat

At the heart of Ddukbokki’s deliciousness is something called gochujang. It’s like a spicy sauce that gives Ddukbokki its exciting kick. Gochujang has a special taste that’s a mix of spicy, sweet, and a little bit salty. It’s like a spicy secret that makes the dish special.

  • Secrets from the Sea: Anchovies and Kelp

To make Ddukbokki extra tasty, people use dried anchovies and kelp to make a special soup. These things from the sea add a rich taste called umami. It’s like a hidden flavor that makes the dish even better. The umami works with the spicy gochujang to create a super yummy team.

  • The Chewy Fun of Rice Cakes

Ddukbokki has these chewy rice cakes that are a big part of the taste adventure. When you bite into them, they’re soft and chewy, soaking up all the tasty flavors around them. 

  • Sweet and Spicy Friends

Imagine having something sweet and something spicy dancing together in your mouth. That’s what Ddukbokki does! It has a bit of sugar to balance out the spicy parts. So, when you take a bite, you get this exciting mix of spicy and sweet that makes your taste buds do a happy dance.

  • Teamwork of Ingredients

Ddukbokki’s taste adventure is like a team of friends working together. There are fish cakes that add a cool taste, cabbage that’s crispy, fresh scallions, and lots more. Each part brings something special to the tasting party. Together, they make Ddukbokki a delicious food festival in your mouth.

  • Mixing Old and New

People love Ddukbokki so much that they’ve started making new versions! Like Korean-Italian Creamy Ddukbokki and Soy Sauce Ddukbokki. These are like modern twists on the traditional dish. They add new flavors to the mix while still keeping the yummy Korean taste.


Ddukbokki has evolved, with various regional and creative interpretations emerging. Both its classic spicy version and modern fusion dishes remain popular among food lovers. No matter if you prefer classic tastes or want to try something new, there is a type of Ddukbokki suitable for everyone.

Spicy Ddukbokki Recipe

Level: Easy

Total Time: 50 min (includes soaking time)

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup gochujang sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic.
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons of gochugaru (Korean chili flakes).
  • 6 sheets of thin frozen pre-fried fish cakes, cut into triangles.
  • 8 large dried anchovies.
  • One 12-inch piece of dried kelp.
  • 1/2 green cabbage, cut into 2-inch squares.
  • 8 scallions, sliced into 2-inch pieces.
  • For the topping, use toasted sesame seeds.


  • Soak the dduk in cold water for 30 minutes, breaking apart any chunks that have formed.
  • Prepare the anchovy kelp broth by simmering anchovies, kelp, and water for 30 minutes. Throw away the anchovies and kelp.
  • Drain the dduk and add it to the broth. Stir in gochujang, sugar, garlic, and gochugaru. Cook until the dduk is softened and the liquid has reduced by half.
  • Stir in cabbage and fish cakes, then cook until the cabbage is softened.
  • Add scallions to the dish, remove it from heat, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Creamy Italian Ddukbokki Recipe

Level: Intermediate

Total Time: 19 minutes

Yield: 2 servings


  • 8 oz rice cakes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 oz pancetta, cubed
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 oz fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar/American/Parmesan)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Lemon zest, for garnish (optional)
  • Fennel leaves/parsley, for garnish (optional)


  • Thaw the rice cakes and cut them into desired sizes. Set aside.
  • Add cubed pancetta and cook until the fat is released. Add diced fennel, onions, and minced garlic. Cook until translucent.
  • Pour in chicken stock, heavy cream, and rice cakes. Simmer and add the cheese mixture to thicken the sauce.
  • Optionally, add crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Plate the dish, garnish with lemon zest and fennel leaves/parsley. Serve and savor.

Soy Sauce Ddukbokki Recipe

Level: Easy

Total Time: 50 min (includes soaking time)

Yield: 4 servings


  • About 4 cups of dduk (24 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Bulgogi-style rib-eye steak, thinly sliced (12 ounces)
  • Thinly sliced 1/2 large onion
  • Thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • Sliced shiitake mushrooms (8 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • Sliced scallions (6 pieces, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds for topping


  • Soak the dduk in cold water for 30 minutes, then drain the water.
  • Combine soy sauce, minced garlic, rice wine vinegar, and 1 cup of water.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a pan, add sliced rib-eye steak, and cook until no longer pink. Add dduk and onions, stir, and pour in the soy sauce mixture.
  • Cook until dduk is soft and the liquid evaporates. Include bell peppers, mushrooms, oyster sauce, and black pepper. Cook until vegetables soften.
  • Add scallions and remove from heat. Stir in sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve.

Making Ddukbokki at Home

Embarking on a Ddukbokki journey in your kitchen is a delightful experience. The recipe presented provide an insight into the varied world of Ddukbokki. Whether you’re enticed by the fiery allure of the spicy version, the velvety embrace of the creamy fusion, or the savory nostalgia of the soy sauce rendition, each recipe promises a culinary adventure.


Ddukbokki stands as a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Korea, combining tradition with creativity. From its royal beginnings to its contemporary variations, this dish continues to captivate palates worldwide. Whether you’re seeking a fiery kick, a creamy indulgence, or a savory twist, these recipes offer a delightful journey through the versatile world of Ddukbokki. So gather your ingredients, embark on this culinary adventure, and savor the harmonious symphony of flavors that define this iconic Korean delight.


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