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Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times
Total time: 35 minutes | Serves 4

Spicy bulgogi sauce

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, more to taste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons hot red bean paste (gochujang)
  • ½ cup ground red chile pepper
  • ¼ to ½ cup sesame oil

Step 1Make the bulgogi sauce: In a large saucepan, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, pepper, sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the beef broth, pineapple juice and wine and bring to a boil.

Step 2To make spicy bulgogi sauce, stir in the hot red bean paste and chile pepper, along with the sesame oil and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust the sweetness and flavors if desired. This makes a generous 3 cups sauce.

Tteokbokki sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oil, or as needed
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped kabocha squash, pumpkin or other winter squash
  • Prepared spicy bulgogi sauce

Step 1Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add the oil, then the onion, and stir-fry until the onion is tender and begins to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and place the onion in a blender. Add the beef broth, then the chopped squash and purée.

Step 2Place the onion and squash purée in the pan with the spicy bulgogi sauce and bring to a boil. This makes a generous quart tteokbokki sauce.


  • 2 cups prepared tteokbokki sauce, more if desired
  • Oil for stir-frying
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, sliced
  • 2 Anaheim or similar chiles, sliced
  • ¼ large white onion, cut into thick slices or wedges
  • ¼ cabbage, cut into thick slices
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 3 to 4 sticks fish cakes (eomuk or odeng), sticks removed
  • 3 large trumpet mushrooms, sliced
  • About 1 pound rice cakes (tteok)
  • Chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, shiso leaves, mint and sesame leaves

Step 1Bring the tteokbokki sauce to a simmer.

Step 2Heat a wok over high heat. Add a thin film of oil, then the chiles, stirring frequently. Add the onion, cabbage and broccoli, stirring constantly until the vegetables brighten in color and are crisp-tender. Stir in the fish cakes and mushrooms, then the rice cakes.

Step 3Ladle in the hot sauce, stirring to generously coat (for more of a soup-like dish, add additional sauce). Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the sauce comes to a boil. Remove from heat and place in a large serving bowl, mounding the herbs on one side of the bowl so guests can garnish their servings as desired. Serve immediately.

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Jai Nam Choi.


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