Korean Royal Stir-fried Rice Cakes

Royal Tteokbokki

Although the spicy version of tteokbokki is better known, the original dish, which hails from the royal court of the Chosun dynasty, has no chillies at all. Instead, it boasts a lip-smacking, salty–sweet sauce with black pepper undertones. It is also super quick to make a crowd-pleasing stir-fry that even the kids will love


serves 4

450g (1lb) beef rib eye, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 5mm/.in thick)

1 small firm but ripe pear, grated

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp roasted sesame oil

1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus a drizzle for the stir-fry

5 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds, crushed

1/4 tsp ginger, peeled and grated

1/2 tsp black pepper


280g (10oz) tteok (thin rice cake batons)

50g (2oz) baby onions, peeled and quartered

120g (3.oz) mixed wild mushrooms(I like to use 2 large oyster mushrooms, sliced, with 1/2 bunch enoki mushrooms)

1 rainbow carrot, peeled and julienned

100g (3.oz) baby leeks, trimmed and cut lengthways into quarters

80g (3oz) baby corn, cut lengthways into quarters


1 spring onion

1 quail egg, soft boiled

a pinch of black sesame seeds


In a shallow dish, combine the beef, pear and brown sugar and massage with your hands to thoroughly combine. Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil, vegetable oil, garlic, crushed sesame seeds, ginger and black pepper. Set aside.

When the beef is ready, use your hands to shake off and squeeze out any excess sugary liquid, then add the beef to the soy sauce marinade. Toss to coat, cover and marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.

Meanwhile, cut the spring onion lengthways into thin strips and soak in iced water until curled, then drain. About 30 minutes before cooking, place the tteok in a large bowl with enough water to cover them. Leave them to rehydrate.

Once the tteok are rehydrated, remove from the water, retaining 4 tablespoons of liquid. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the baby onions and cook for 6–8 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, carrot, baby leeks and baby corn and cook for a further 5 minutes until slightly softened.

Increase the heat to medium–high, add the beef, marinade rehydrated tteok and the retained water. Cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is medium rare, and slightly pink in the centre. Transfer to a serving plate, and arrange the spring onion and quail egg on top. Finish with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.

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