The eighth day of tteok: Texas-style BBQ sauce with tteokbokki
If Koreans are the kings and queens of Far-East Asian barbecue, then Texas reigns supreme over American barbecue. So we’re visiting the Lone Star State for the eighth day of my 12-day tteokbokki (떡볶이) recipe countdown to the Korean New Year.
With heavy Spanish, Czech and German influences, Texas barbecue is bold and full of flavor. The Texan tradition of slow-smoked barbecue is the opposite of Korean quick grilling. Yet the Texan method forces the toughest cuts of beef into tender submission.
The traditional Korean way of making tteokbokki reminds many ex-pats of gnocchi’s chewy texture. Some Americans have an aversion to tteokbokki because of the texture of the noodles. However, I like them either way. If you want to try something different frying the tteok noodles before making the sauce will give the tteok a crispy exterior. Most of the recipes I have shown so far cook the noodles to more of an al dente texture. If you like the Korean tteokbokki texture, you need to cook the noodles a bit longer, or 10 to 15 minutes.
I adapted this Texan barbecue sauce recipe from PepperFool.
1 pound garae tteok (가래떡), presoaked
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups water
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (or A-1 sauce)
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon Mexican-style chili powder, or to taste
- Before you start making the sauce, soak the garae tteok, which are the fat cylindrical rice noodles traditionally used in tteokbokki, in a hot water bath — not boiling water — for 10 minutes. (Check the instructions on the package of tteok you bought at the Korean grocery store for recommendations on this step.) Dry off the noodles.
- In a large, preheated skillet, add the grapeseed oil then the soaked and dried tteok. Fry for about five minutes.
- Flip over and fry on the other side, until golden-brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Add onion, garlic and celery. Cook and stir until onion is tender.
- Stir in ketchup, vinegar, 1.5 cups water and Worcestershire sauce. (Please consider a brand that doesn’t have high-fructose corn syrup, such as Heinz Organic Ketchup.)
- Add bay leaves and black pepper.
- Stir a small amount of sauce into chili powder and blend well. Like curry paste, you must do this to dissolve the chili powder quickly.
- Stir the chili mixture into the sauce.
- Allow the sauce to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Return the tteok to the sauce and simmer for five to seven more minutes
- Remove bay leaves and serve immediately.
You will have leftover sauce after the noodles are gone. If you want to use up the rest of the sauce, sauté one pound of lean ground beef and combine it with the remaining sauce and make yourself some Texan sloppy joes.