A few months ago I asked my friend EHK to teach me how to make her family's tteokkbokki (pronounced, approximately, tuppoki, except the t is sort of like a d, and the p is sort of like a b and there's a sort of stop after the u and the k is on the verge of being voiced-- you get it, just say tuppoki and you'll be ok). The first time we tried, we kind of went on a wild goose chase to find ingredients (my fault entirely-- EHK is savvy about this stuff).
But today, she made it happen! There's a bright red, spicier/sweeter version that I've had at restaurants, and I like that too, but this is what I wanted today-- it's a much more homey, comfort-food-style autumnal dish.
A few years ago, I would have said I could take or leave the fish cakes. But they grew on me-- a lot-- I now find them one of the best parts of the dish.
So I present to you EHK's tteokbokki. Thanks, EHK!
Soak your rice cakes for a few hours before starting; drain.
Boil vegetables in a minimum of water: carrots, sliced thin on the diagonal; onions, cut large; or cabbage, cut in squares; turn down heat to simmer
Add 2-3 huge spoonfuls of gochujang, sweetened with sugar or honey, to taste. Stir it up.
Add a package of ramen noodles or two-- depending on how much you are making.
Slice a package of fish cakes into large strips; Add to the pot.
Add the rice cakes, stir it up, put on the lid and cook, covered, until the rice cakes are soft. (They will always be very chewy, but they should not be hard.)
The tteokbokki should not be very soupy at all; it should resemble a casserole in texture much more than a stew, and not at all like a soup.
Eat hot, and enjoy!