Korean rice cakes, or tteok, are a staple of Korean cuisine. Their neutral flavor and pleasing texture makes them perfect for starring in any number of saucy dishes. They’re much like rice noodles, but with a distinct shape and a far chewier bite.
Most often, you’ll find tteok shaped like small cylinders or discs. They’re made from glutinous rice, a type of rice native to Asia that is especially sticky when cooked. Don’t be fooled by the name: the rice itself contains no gluten. Making Korean rice cakes from scratch takes a considerable amount of expertise. The pros start with whole rice that is blended into a flour, steamed into a cake, and then pounded and kneaded until smooth. The pounding process creates the signature chewy and bouncy texture that makes tteok so addictive.
Luckily, you don’t have to take on this kitchen project to cook with tteok. You can easily find pre-made Korean rice cakes at your local international market, for sale online, or in a Blue Apron meal kit. One tip from the test kitchen: buy them in bulk. You can keep them in the freezer and pull them out for an easy and exciting weeknight dinner. Read on for a few ways that we love to cook them.