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Vegan Shindangdong Style Ddeokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake) Recipe!

February 25, 2012

Ddeokbokki (also spelled tteokbokki) is a Korean Spicy Rice Cake dish that is popular among all Koreans. Koreans of all ages LOVE ddeokbokki. And ddeokbokki businesses are the most popular businesses in Korea as well. So really, that’s where the money is. :)

Like all Koreans, I love all kinds of ddeokbokki. There are all sorts of ddeokbokki (it’s like kimchi) – the spicy kind, the non-spicy kind, regional versions and versions based on the added ingredients (like adding bean sprouts or other vegetables).

One kind of ddeokbokki that is very popular among Seoulites in particular is Shindangdong ddeokbokki. This neighborhood called Shindangdong in Seoul is very famous among for only having ddeokbokki restaurants. They literally have hundreds and hundreds of ddeokbokki shops lined up for miles, and Seoulites go there during the day and also all night to enjoy the Shindangdong style ddeokbokki.

Shindangdong ddeokbokki is unique, due to the black bean paste they include in the pepper paste. I was really craving Shindangdong ddeokbokki the other night, so I made some with the black bean paste, and Bill said this was his favorite ddeokbokki I’ve ever made for him! Next time we visit Seoul, we will be visiting the Shindangdong ddeokbokki street for sure.

Here is the recipe, maybe you’ll enjoy it too! :)

Vegan Shindangdong Style Ddeokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake) Recipe!   (Serves 4)

Sauce Ingredients (use more or less according to your liking):
3-5 Tbs pepper paste
3-5 Tbs sugar
1-2 tsp black bean sauce
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp aged soy sauce
1-2 tsp salt
1/2-1 Tbs gochugaru (red pepper powder)
kombu broth (you want to soak kombu in water for several hours, remove the kombu when using broth)
add some Thai pepper (fresh or powder) if you want it really spicy like us (optional)!

Main Ingredients:
4-5 cups tube shaped rice cake (soak the rice cake in water while you prepare the ingredients)
6 cabbage leaves, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
2 cups of large green onions, sliced on the angle into large chunks
some kombu broth
sesame seeds

Others:
1 package of Korean ramen noodles
Fried Mandu (Dumplings)
Fried Kim-mari (laver wraps, these are sweet potato noodles wraped in kim/nori seaweed)

Directions:
1. Prepare your kombu broth several hours earlier (or the night before).
2. Prepare your fried dumplings or kim-mari if you want them with your ddeokbokki. (You dip the dumplings and kim-mari into the yummy ddeokbokki sauce, so it’s okay if they are not hot. Just keep them lukewarm, and it’ll be yummy!)
3. Add all the sauce ingredients together and put it on low heat. Let it simmer for several minutes but don’t let it stick – you need to add water every time it gets too dry. Check and see if the sauce tastes good to you, and add some more ingredients accordingly to your liking!
3. Add all the main ingredients into the pot. Add kombu broth to the pot so it covers the ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low-medium and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so until the rice cake is semi-soft.
5. Add the Korean ramen noodles (add some hot water on top of it if there is not enough water for the noodles to soak up).
6. Wait only until the noodles get semi-soft (you really don’t want the noodles mushy, it doesn’t taste good!), check the rice cake to see if it is done. Rice cake textures differ out of the bag, so you need to make sure that your rice cake has become very tender before you eat it.
7. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and enjoy! Yumm… ddeokbokki takes me back to Shindangdong in Seoul, instantly!

ddeokbokki  kombu

Soaking kombu in water the night before – remove the kombu when using broth!

ddeokbokki

Before you start preparing anything, you want to start soaking your rice cake in warm water so it will be ready to add later.

ddeokbokki  kim-mari

These are kim-mari, they are deep fried seaweed rolls ( sweet potato noodles and some veggies are inside the seaweed wraps). Bill and I love them. So yummy!

ddeokbokki Korean ramen noodles

These are called Ramen-Sari. They are ramen noodles without the seasoning. They are cheaper than normal, and you will be able to find them in a Korean store. Some stores might not have them, in that case, you can use normal ramen noodles – but you’ll have to waste your seasoning pack!

Black bean sauce

The black bean paste that we used for the dish – vegan and MSG free!

ddeokbokki sauce

Making the sauce – let it simmer for several minutes but don’t let it stick – you need to add water every time it gets too dry!

ddeokbokki

Add all the main ingredients into the pot (except the noodles which you’ll want to add a bit later) and add kombu broth to the pot so it covers the ingredients!

ddeokbokki

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low-medium and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so until the rice cake is semi-soft! Add the Korean ramen noodles and don’t forget to add some hot water on top of it if there is not enough water for the noodles to soak up!

Mandu Kim Mari

Have your fried dumplings and kim-mari ready to eat with the ddeokbokki! You dip the dumplings into the ddeokbokki sauce when you eat them!

ddeokbokki

Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top!

ddeokbokki

And yumm… enjoy ddeokbokki – Shindangdong style!

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53 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2012 1:02 am

    oh my :)

  2. February 27, 2012 12:47 am

    This is a fantastic post! I remember eating this but not knowing what it was called.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      February 27, 2012 10:30 am

      Great! Hope you liked the dish when you had it!! ;)

  3. February 27, 2012 12:54 pm

    I LOVE DDEOKBOKKI. Thank you for the recipe. And I have never heard of kim-mari before, so that’s a totally new one on me! You can bet I’ll be looking for them next time I’m in the market. It seems like just the kind of texture I like. It’s fun biting into something that’s all bunchy-noodly in the middle. :)

    • Sunnie permalink*
      February 28, 2012 8:24 am

      Excellent!! ;) I hope you enjoy Kim mari, Lu. I have always loved it and Bill likes it too. Hope all is well!!

      • August 12, 2012 10:56 pm

        I finally went to the Korean market and remembered to get kim mari, and I think they’re even the same brand as you have. (Last time I went I forgot to look for them.) :D They *are* good! I pan-fried them a little. Yummers. I had them along with some mandu I had just bought, too, so I used the same dipping sauce as I use for the mandu: soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a touch of sri racha sauce. I should really sub in gochujang for that last one, but it’s still delicious. :)

      • Sunnie permalink*
        August 13, 2012 8:23 am

        Hi Lu! Awesome – you tried Kim Mari. ;) Glad you liked it. Yes, we often use the same sauce for dumplings and Kim
        Mari. Hope you get to try it with ddeukbokki next time. Hope all is well!

  4. March 2, 2012 12:52 am

    i’ve been meaning to ask, do you have a good vegan haejangguk recipe? and do you feel like it is really refreshing if youre hungover? i need some good recipes in my ‘hangover food’ repertoire and ever since i caught wind of koreas beloved ‘hangover soup’ ive been so intrigued!!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 2, 2012 2:33 pm

      Haha… Well, many of them are meat based but really, the most effective hangover soup is bean sprout soup for sure! There is so much research done by Korean scientists talking about how bean sprout soup is so effective for relieving hangover! ;)

  5. March 9, 2012 12:34 am

    OMG! That’s one thing I miss about Korea. The dukboki dish has so many variations, with the ramen noodles added being one of my favorites!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 9, 2012 7:28 am

      Hi Michelle!!

      Haha… Yes…. Ramen noodles in ddeokbokki is one of my very favorites snack foods too! ;) Hope you enjoy!!

  6. Corrin Radd permalink
    March 9, 2012 7:12 pm

    I love your vegan Korean recipes so much! Thank you for them and please keep posting them!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 11, 2012 12:34 am

      Thanks Corrin!!! We are so glad to hear that you are enjoying the recipes… Yes, we will keep posting! Another one coming soon. ;)

  7. sandition permalink
    March 10, 2012 4:14 pm

    I make ddeokbokki so frequently, but I love this version and can’t wait to try it!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 11, 2012 12:30 am

      Ah! I hope you enjoy it Teresa!!! ;)

  8. March 10, 2012 5:11 pm

    I don’t really like the tube shape rice cake. The texture is what I don’t like about it. However, thank you so much for introducing me to Kim-Mari. Wow, I just bought it and tried it. Love it! I ate with the red pepper sauce. I also like Mandu and ramen. This is a great recipe and I love all of it except the rice cake.

    Thanks again.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 11, 2012 12:39 am

      Ah, yes… some people just find rice cake a little too chewy. But so glad to hear that you liked Kim mari!! It is one of our favorites. ;) You can still make the sauce in this recipe and have it with ramen, Kim mari and mandu as well, so maybe you can give it a try on the future!!

  9. Julie permalink
    March 20, 2012 5:29 am

    Hi Sunnie!
    My neice and I LOVE deukbokki so we were really excited to try a new version. I must say we both agreed that this is our new favorite style to make it! I didn’t have cabbage so I added some chopped kimchi. I also didn’t have any mandu or kim- mari so I fried some tofu to go on the side. Thanks for another great recipe! :)
    Julie

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 20, 2012 5:40 am

      Awesome, I love how you get creative with alternative ingredients, Julie! So glad you and your niece liked it. ;)

  10. Lulu permalink
    April 21, 2012 12:12 am

    Hi Sunnie, thanks so much for the recipe. I love ddebokki but never tried this version before. After I found your blog the other day I straight away tried making it myself. It turned out great. I’ll sure keep this version in the future if I’m making it again. Thanks for sharing. Would it be okay if I post it on my blog ?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 21, 2012 8:38 am

      Sure Lulu, you can just say that the recipe is from Vegan 8 Korean and provide our blog link to the recipe, it should be fine! So glad it turned out well. ;)

  11. Becky permalink
    July 1, 2012 8:53 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’m moving to Korea in a few months time and have been keen to try some of the cuisine before I left, but in the UK Korean food isn’t easy to come by, especially as a vegan. This was absolutely delicious, and very easy to make.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 1, 2012 3:58 pm

      Hi Becky! You’re moving to Korea – how exciting!! I hope you have a good time there. Please feel free to let us know if you have questions about vegan food in Korea. So glad to hear that this dish was easy to make. We really enjoy this dish as well. ;)

  12. alien permalink
    July 5, 2012 12:32 am

    Just made this dish for my half Korean husband and he approves :-) didn’t use the dumplings or those Kim Mari but it still turned out fantastic. I am so happy that we found a Korean vegan blog I already made 3 recipes I two days. The japchae recipe on here is amazing!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 5, 2012 7:16 am

      Oh wow, three recipes in one day! That is so great. Hope you try more and like them all! ;p

  13. Rebecca permalink
    July 21, 2012 11:09 pm

    This looks really great!! I’m definitely going to try making this.
    Do you know how many calories would be in this in general? Is it not really considered a healthy dish? Thanks in advance!

    • Bill permalink*
      July 21, 2012 11:40 pm

      Hi, Rebecca. I wouldn’t say it’s the healthiest recipe on the blog, but it’s not bad, particularly if you increase the amount of veggies. Ddeok is rice, after all….

      As for calories, I really have no idea, sorry! Thanks for visiting, and I hope you enjoy!

  14. Alexa permalink
    February 20, 2013 7:33 pm

    What kind of cabbage did you use?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      February 20, 2013 7:52 pm

      Hi, Alexa – just regular cabbage!

  15. Alexa permalink
    February 20, 2013 7:35 pm

    Also, I’m planning on making this for my friend who is from Seoul. How long does it usually take to make? Should I make the mandu a day before?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      February 20, 2013 7:54 pm

      It shouldn’t take too long. 30 minutes or so – until the cabbage is tender and sauce is thick. You could make the mandu a couple of hours ahead of time. It doesn’t have to be hot – only lukewarm!

  16. March 28, 2013 11:06 pm

    I can only find the oval rice cakes at my Asian grocery store. Can I use those?

  17. Sharon permalink
    April 23, 2013 9:19 pm

    Whoa! This was a huge hit at our house! I plunked the pot on the table and we all dug in. I wasn’t really willing to lift my head (out of my bowl) high enough to watch my husband’s reaction, but it was dead silent. I said, “You’re not saying anything over there. How is it?” His reply was, “I’m not saying anything because it’s so d&mn good, I’m busy eating.” Thanks Sunnie!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 24, 2013 9:53 am

      Sharon!! That is so awesome. Thanks for sharing, it makes me so happy. ;)

  18. August 7, 2013 2:22 pm

    I finally tried this recipe. It becomes more like noodle soup, a spicy noodle soup. The broth/sauce didn’t appear to be thick and gravy like in the pictures in your blog. Maybe I put too much kombu broth? It was good tasting dough. I could not find Ramyonsari with that brand but found other instant noodle with no spice packages. However, I found the other stuff like the Roasted Black Bean sauce. Yummy! We love the Kimari and Mandu (I bought Yachae Mandu which appears to be vegetarian). Husband loves the mandu. We both love the dish, sauce, kimari, noodle, and mandu but not to fond of the rice cake sticks.

  19. August 8, 2013 10:59 pm

    LOVE your site. Thank you! I was so lucky to find this. We have a big Korean population here in central NJ, but not many vegan or vegetarian options. I usually get Gob dol bab without meat.

  20. Erin permalink
    September 10, 2013 2:09 pm

    I made ddeokbokki for Rosh Hashanah. SO. GOOD. What a great way to start off the new year!

    • Bill permalink*
      September 10, 2013 9:28 pm

      Haha! What says Rosh Hashanah like ddeokbokki? That’s what I’m sayin! :) So glad you enjoyed it!

  21. December 22, 2013 11:35 am

    I have been craving Shindangdong style ddeokbokki since we got back from our Seoul vacation a couple months ago (we made a special trip to ddeokbokki alley while we were there!) and I am SO glad to have found this recipe! I can’t wait to try it out!!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      January 15, 2014 7:46 am

      That’s great, Cassie! We are finally planning on another trip to Seoul later this year and really looking forward to it! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  22. June permalink
    June 2, 2014 6:49 pm

    Hekki!
    This recipe is GREAT! I was just wondering, because it is so hard to find vegan Mandu in Korea, can you tell me some brands please? THANKS!
    Loves and kisses :)

    • June permalink
      June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

      I mean Hello! kkk

    • Bill permalink*
      June 2, 2014 10:58 pm

      Hi, June! Glad you liked it! Actually, we were just in Korea and couldn’t find any! Even the same brands we get in the US were not vegan in Korea. Sorry! Let us know if you find any!

  23. June permalink
    June 2, 2014 6:54 pm

    And also, does ramen not contain egg? I don’t think ramen is vegan? Also, doesn’t the kimari have egg batter on the outside?

    • Bill permalink*
      June 2, 2014 11:01 pm

      Egg batter isn’t too common in Korea (although you should always check). The kimari we get (frozen) is vegan! ;) Most ramen noodles also do not use egg. Again, you should always check ingredients though. That’s life as a vegan! :)

  24. July 19, 2014 1:39 pm

    This looks like fun to make but I’m a bit confused since there is no portion amount for the kombu broth or rice cakes. I dont really know how many to use!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 29, 2014 7:03 am

      Hi Kate- just add 4 or 5 2×3 inch slices of kombu to the described amount of water and the rice cakes should 4-5 cups as described in the recipe!

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