This non-spicy tteokbokki version called Gungjung Tteobokki is just as savory and delicious! The magic comes from the chewy Korean rice cakes infused with bulgogi and veggie flavors! A healthy quick eats that’s sure to please many palettes, including the little ones!
Want to know a healthy version of Tteokbokki that was introduced way before spicy tteokbokki? It is called Gunjung Tteokbokki, also known as Korean Royal Court Rice Cakes. It is a non-spicy, stir fried, rice cake dish that is super delicious! A hidden gem indeed!
What is Gungjung Tteokbokki? Then and Now.
Gungjung means The Korean Royal Court and Tteokbokki means stir fried rice cake. It is pretty much known as a non-spicy Tteokbokki. This dish dates back to Joseon Dynasty where the Korean Kings, Queens and the Court members got to enjoy them. The ingredients used back then were most likely fresh and herbal veggies, perhaps without meat too. Since healthy food was always served to the Royal court, their tteokbokki may have been more on the bland side without a sweetner.
Gungjung Tteokbokki is now known as a common home cooked quick eats or a snack. It’s not considered a street food due to its healthy ingredients. So you won’t find this meal being sold outside of homes. Many Korean kids enjoy this dish due to it’s sweet and savory flavors.
What is the major difference from Tteokbokki (Korean spicy rice cake) to Gungung Tteokbokki?
The major difference is in the sauce base. Spicy Tteokbokki uses gochujang or gochugaru as the main ingredients in the sauce. And Gungjung Tteokbokki uses a sweet soy sauce base. The other difference may be from the vegetables used. Gunjung version uses more healthy raw vegetables like carrots, mushrooms etc. Whereas the spicy version uses more common premade ingredients like fish cake, ramen, frozen dumplings. If you can’t handle spicy food, this is a great option for you.
What are the ingredients for Gungjung Tteokbokki?
There are many Gungjung recipes out there. This is my version of it.
- tteokbokki tteok: Look for the cylinder shaped rice cake. they are typically white rice cakes that are long and slender. You can use fresh or premade ones. These long cylinder shaped ones are easier to pick up with chopsticks. The oval flat shaped rice cakes for tteokguk (Korean rice cake soup) can be used for this recipe, however they are harder to pick up with chopsticks.
- Beef: I like to use either bulgogi meat, or minced ribeye to help with overall flavoring.
- carrot: Julienned, this helps it to stick to the rice cake better when eating.
- soy sauce: I like to use a Korean soy sauce for the base.
- garlic clove: Mince it well. If raw ones are too strong, use garlic powder instead.
- spring onions: chop them to your liking.
- sesame oil
- black pepper
- sesame seeds
What kind of pan should I use for this dish?
I recommend using a non-stick skillet. This will help when cooking the meat so they don’t stick to the pan even without using oil. Try using a skillet wide enough so that all the rice cakes lay flat and evenly when cooking. Also use a wooden spatula or chopsticks since you will be doing a lot of the stir fry action.
Do I need to soak the rice cake in water?
If you are using fresh rice cake, that is very soft to touch, you don’t need to soak it in water. But once you store the fresh rice cake in the fridge or the freezer, you will still need to soak it in water to hydrate it. The vacuum pack sealed rice cakes are typically found in the refrigerated section. They are very hard to touch. These should be soaked in cold water even for little bit to get hydrated. This also helps to reduce the cooking time.
Are there different types of cylinder shaped rice cakes?
Yes there are 2 kinds. The version I used for this recipe is made from rice and water, called sal-tteok. But you can also find these made from wheat flour base. Those are called mil-tteok. So make sure you read the label before you purchase the package! The wheat base one has more of a chewy texture I heard. They also don’t get as plump once cooked, and maintain their size as is.
Can you make this a Vegetarian meal?
Yes, you can make this Vegetarian by taking out the beef and using vegan soy sauce.
Do kids like this dish?
Yes, this is a great way to introduce kids to Korean cuisine! My kids loved this growing up! I recommend cutting the rice cake into bite size pieces. You can also modify the sugar level per your liking.
How long can you keep this dish fresh?
Rice cakes naturally harden over time. Once the rice cake cools, it will start to get harder little by little. My suggestion would be eat this dish while it’s still warm. This way you can really enjoy the chewy rice cakes!
If you need to reheat it, add 6-8Tbsp of water and reheat on a nonstick pan on low heat until the rice cake softens. But do remember when you reheat the rice cake, the texture will not be as chewy. It will be plump but very soft overall.
You can also refrigerate the leftovers, again, reheat by adding some water in a pan. I don’t recommend the microwave method.
How do you to make Gungjung Tteokbokki?
Here are the steps:
- Prep rice cake.
In a medium bowl, soak rice cake in cold water, set aside
- Prep veggies.
Prep the vegetables. i recommend julienned style.
- Pan fry meat & vegetables.
Heat skillet in medium high heat. Cook meat first then add carrot.
- Combine ingredients into the pot.
Add water and seasonings. Stir well with rice cakes and carrots.
- Cook and stir-fry.
Stir-fry and cook until rice cake is soft.
- Almost there!
Finish with chopped spring onion, black pepper. Lastly, sprinkle sesame seeds.
- Serve hot & Enjoy!
How come this dish does not use salt to season?
Since the sauce is pretty much based on the soy sauce, which is already very savory, you really don’t need to use any salt. If you feel like this dish is bit bland, additional soy sauce can be added per your liking.
What are some ingredients you can add into Gungjung Tteokbokki Dish?
Here is a list of items you can add or swap out in the recipe per your liking.
- shiitake mushrooms
- white mushrooms
- bell peppers
- pine nuts
Did you enjoy this traditional version recipe?
If you enjoyed this savory-sweet rice cake dish, then try my other delicious Korean recipes!
Gungjung Tteokbokki (Korean Royal Court Rice Cakes)
- ½ cup marinated bulgogi Korean marinated beef (see note)
- 11 oz rice cake cylinder shaped
- 1 carrot small
- 1 stalk green onion
- ½ cup water
- ½ Tbsp Korean soy sauce
- ½ Tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
- ½ tsp sugar
- Soak refrigerated/frozen rice cake in cold water for about 10-15min. If using fresh rice cake, omit this step.
- Peel and julienne carrot. Chop green onion. Set aside.
- Have a non-stick skillet ready. Heat pan on medium high heat. Cook bulgogi meat for about 2mins, or until no longer pink. Add carrot and stir fry for about 30seconds.
- Add rice cake and water. Bring to boil and cook for about 2mins stirring occasionally. Bring the heat down to medium and add soy sauce, black pepper, sugar and sesame oil and cook for about 3-4mins, stirring frequently until rice cake is soft.
- Turn off heat and add black pepper, green onion, and sesame seeds.