Sinjeon Tteokbokki is a very popular spicy tteokbokki casual street food restaurant in Korea (often take out or delivery). It’s one of the major tteokbokki chains in Korea, particularly Seoul. It’s not as spicy as the spiciest tteokbokki chain in Korea, Yupki Tteokbokki, but still has a kick and is not as sweet as some of the street vendors. It’s become immensely popular and is also the star of many Korean Youtube videos.
I’ve never actually had it in Korea because it wasn’t near where we stayed when we visited so I was really interested in trying it and found a couple of copycat recipes online that I experimented with. With that, I’ll put in a disclaimer that I don’t know exactly how similar this recipe is to the original restaurant BUT this one is good. And it’s actually very different from the standard tteokbokkis I’ve had in the past. You’ll see in the recipe that a lot of curry powder and ground black pepper is added. I’m not a big fan of curry but it’s just a hint that you’ll notice behind the spicy kick. And, it’s interesting that some of the kick in flavor comes directly from the black pepper, not the chili paste.
At first bite I was a bit confused, but then addicted. We had friends come over later and try some of the leftovers and got hooked. The original comes with a lot of cheese on top but as noted in some other recipes, I’m not a huge fan of cheese in Korean dishes so I used a more limited amount. Do as you please!
Sinjeon is also well known for its many delicious side menus, one being it’s fried fish cake. It’s just a bit fishy, but also crispy and goes so well when dipped in the spicy tteokbokki sauce. I actually imagine myself eating this on its own with beer.
If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, try this spicy tteokbokki with a hint of curry and kick of ground black pepper. Dip some fried fish cake sticks into the thick sauce and enjoy! Perfect as a meal or snack with or without a beer..
- 12 oz (350 g) cylinder rice cakes, about 2 cups
- 2 sheets (100 g) fish cake
- 1 scallion
- 3 ½ oz (100 g) mozzarella cheese
(I used colby jack cheese but mozzarella works best, but use what you have!)
- 1 L (4 ½ cups) water
- 3 pieces dried kelp pieces (2 x 2 inch), dashima
- 6 dried anchovies, head off and gutted
- 6 Tbsp Korean chili pepper paste (equal to ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp)
- 3 Tbsp Korean chili pepper powder
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 5 Tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup Korean curry powder
- ½ Tbsp ground black pepper
1. If using refrigerated or hardened rice cakes, soak in room temperature water for about 10 minutes to soften. Cut the fish cake into bite size pieces. Chop the scallions. Set aside.
Prepare the stock.
2. Remove the heads and gut the dried anchovies (slit the anchovy in half to take out the black middle part).
3. In a medium sized pot, add the water, dried anchovies and kelp pieces. On medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer. After about 10 minutes, remove the kelp. Continue to simmer for about another 5-10 minutes. Discard the remaining dried anchovies.
*If pressed for time, you can use plain water. The stock gives a deeper flavor.
Bring it together.
4. Make the sauce. In a medium sized bowl, add all of the sauce ingredients, EXCEPT for the black pepper. That will be added later.
5. Once the stock is ready, stir in the sauce ingredients. Make sure there are no clumps in the sauce and it has dissolved into the broth. Bring to a light boil at medium heat.
6. Drain the water from the rice cakes and add the rice cakes into the pot. Stir gently so the rice cakes do not stick to the bottom. Add in the fish cake pieces and continue to cook until the rice cake softens and the sauce begins to thicken and reduce to about half the original amount (4-6 minutes).
7. Add the ½ Tbsp of ground black pepper and cook for 1 more minute.
8. In the last minute, make the optional cheese topping. Coat a bowl with a bit of oil so the cheese can slide out easily. Add in the shredded cheese and microwave for about 1 minute or so until the cheese is fully melted. (I personally only did about 1/4th the amount because I don’t like too much cheese in my spicy food).
9. Top the cheese on to the tteokbokki. Sprinkle the chopped scallions and enjoy!
Sinjeon tteokbokki is famous for their fried fish cake side dish. While they normally use a small cylinder fish cake, I used leftover fish cake sheets.
10. Cut the fish cake sheets into bite size pieces.
11. If you have an air fryer or convection oven, cook it for about 10 minutes at 350 F (180 C) degrees . Flip it half way.
*Or, you can just go ahead and fry it in 350 degrees oil.