Some days you lay in bed for hours in the morning before finally crawling out to eat a late brunch and roll around on the sofa watching TV shows that are no good for your brain until you realize that it’s suddenly late and you’re hungry again. This is what I call a lazy Sunday which occurred this past weekend.
By the time it was dinner I wanted something creamy but spicy and most importantly, easy! Solution: Spicy Carbonara Tteokbokki
The more common red spicy tteokbokki is a very popular Korean street food that is often seen on the streets of Korea or in little hole in the wall restaurants near schools. There are many different varieties ranging from firey spicy tteokbokkis to more sweet and spicy versions and variations that are more sticky vs saucy or soupy. The additions can be endless from fish cake, dumplings (mandoo), ramen, boiled eggs and so forth. At the end of the day, all of these variations are delicious and it’s all about what you are craving that day, or if you’re making it at home, whatever may be in your fridge.
Straying away from the common spicy tteokbokki, I first tried the spicy carbonara version in my last visit to Korea at a restaurant called “School Food” – a popular chain that puts a twist on to common street foods. I was intrigued. I loved the chewy texture of tteok combined with a creamy sauce and a kick of spice really hit the spot, a perfect West meets East.
This dish is really easy to make so it was the perfect meal for my late lazy Sunday dinner. The best part is that it can be made straight in the fry pan so minimal washing too which my husband appreciates.
Mix in the main ingredients into the fry pan and saute.
Then pour in each of the sauce ingredients until it all comes together and finally add in the slices of cheese.
Spicy Carbonara Tteokbokki
If using frozen rice cakes, place them in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes. If using fresh rice cake, this step should be skipped.
Cut the fish cake sheets into large chunks. Slice the onions and spicy peppers. If utilizing fresh broccoli, steam them in a hot pot or if you're like me and prefer the easiness of frozen broccoli, microwave for 1-2 minutes so they are not too soft but no longer frozen.
If I have pork belly (samgyupssal) or bacon at home, I like to start off by cooking this first which adds a bit of meat and saltiness to the dish. This can be easily omitted. I've made it with and without and enjoy them all! If utilizing, cook the pork belly or bacon until it is cooked through but not yet burnt and add in the minced garlic and onions. If not utilizing the pork, add about 1 Tbsp of oil to the fry pan and saute the garlic and onions.
Once the garlic and onions start to spread its aroma and the onions begin to wilt, add in the rice cake and fish cake and saute for about 1 minute.
Add in the milk and and heavy cream. Throw in the broccoli and peppers. Mix well. Next, mix in the red pepper paste and sprinkle in the red pepper flakes. Mix well so there are no clumps.
Finally, add in the slices of cheese and mix well again. Check that the rice cakes are soft and you are done!