In Korea, tteokbokki (tech-boke-ee) comes in many guises. The ubiquitous street-food version consists of rice cakes floating in a sweet-spicy sauce made with corn syrup and gochujang (Korean chile paste). This take, served in only one particular market in Seoul, was the simplest and most delicious I had--crisp on the outside and chewy within. You'll find rice cakes for tteokbokki at Korean markets; they're about the size of a thumb. There really is no substitute for gochugaru (Korean ground chile). It's earthier and far less spicy than many other ground chiles.
14 ounces rice cakes for tteokbokki (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons coarsely ground Korean chile (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
How to Make It
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add rice cakes; boil 2 minutes or just until rice cakes float. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Drain.
Place rice cakes in a medium bowl. Add chile, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add rice cake mixture; sauté 5 minutes or until rice cakes are crisp and evenly blistered, stirring frequently.