Rich, creamy and mildly spicy rose tteokbokki made with authentic ingredients. This recipe is super delicious and easy to make!
Rose tteokbokki is the latest trend in Korean street food. It is a creamy twist on the wildly popular tteokbokki, a Korean spicy dish made with chewy rice cakes and fish cakes. It’s similar to the traditional tteokbokki, just much creamier and extra cheesy. It is less spicy than regular tteokbokki, and is commonly preferred by non-natives because of its milder flavour.
This dish has everything - it's creamy, gooey and chewy, with hints of sweet, umami and spicy. It's a wonderful balance of spiciness and creaminess, which makes for a beautiful dish.
This recipe uses authentic ingredients for the most accurate flavour! Below you can find detailed ingredients and substitutes, as well as step by step method. So let’s get cooking!
If you love Korean food as much as I do, check out my authentic traditional Cabbage Kimchi or this incredibly popular Creamy Gochujang Pasta. For appetizers, you can make the all-time crowd pleaser Korean Corn Dogs or Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread. And if this dish is too spicy, tone it down with some Homemade Korean Strawberry Milk.
What is rose tteokbokki?
Rosé tteokbokki, known in Korean as 로제 떡볶이 (pronounced roje tteokbokki), is a popular South Korean street food. It’s basically a twist between Korean and European food. The rose sauce is much less spicy than regular tteokbokki sauce, making it easier to eat for food lovers with lower spice tolerance.
A twist on traditional tteokbokki, rosé tteokbokki is much creamier by adding heavy cream and less heavy on the fish flavour. It’s also much cheesier, and is easier to prepare than the traditional version.
So why is it called rose tteokbokki? The name comes from rosé sauce, an European sauce typically made from heavy cream and tomato sauce. By mixing the two ingredients, the sauce ends up with a pink colour. In French, rosé means “pinkish” or "rosy", so rosé sauce means "pink sauce”.
The second part of the name, tteokbokki (in Hangul 떡볶이), translates to stir-fried rice cakes. 떡or tteok means “rice cake” and 볶이 or bokki means “stir-fried”. Put together, rose tteokbokki literally means “pink (sauce) stir-fried rice cakes”.
If Korean-European fusion dishes are your favourite, you might want to check out this delicious Creamy Gochujang Pasta.
What does it taste like?
Rose tteokbokki tastes sweet and savoury, with a lovely umami aroma and moderately spicy flavour. It has a much milder flavour than traditional tteokbokki, making it more appealing for those who can’t handle really spicy food.
The umami flavour comes from a combination of bacon and cocktail sausages. Rose tteokbokki is very creamy and cheesy, which makes the spicy flavour much more mild.
The spiciness comes from gochujang paste and gochugaru flakes, which are traditionally used to make tteokbokki. The combination adds a lovely peppery and smoky flavour.
Rosé tteokbokki has a very unique texture, due to the chewy rice cakes. Fish cakes are added for more chewy texture, as well as a subtle fish flavour.
Overall, this dish has a multitude of flavours and textures, guaranteed to make you come back for more!
Rosé tteokbokki vs tteokbokki
The main difference between rose tteokbokki and tteokbokki is the sauce. Tteokbokki is much spicier and has a deep red coloured sauce. By contrast, rose tteokbokki has a pink sauce, with a milder spicy flavour.
Unlike its traditional counterpart, rosé tteokbokki uses heavy cream and cheese to make the flavour milder. This also adds a velvety smooth flavour and makes the sauce thicker.
The base recipe for both dishes is pretty similar, and all solid ingredients are the same. Tteokbokki and rosé tteokbokki both use rice cakes, fish cakes, onion, garlic and optional sausages or bacon.
The differences become clearer in the sauce. In addition to being less spicy, rose tteokbokki is also quicker to make. Traditionally, tteokbokki is made with an anchovy and kelp stock, which takes longer to prepare. This rose tteokbokki recipe doesn’t use any fish stock, as this is replaced with cream. This makes for a milder flavour and less umami taste.
By adding cream to the spicy sauce, rose tteokbokki is much milder and doesn’t not bite your tongue with spiciness. Regular tteokbokki, however, can get really spicy. In Korea, spicy tteokbokki is sometimes called 응급실 떡볶이 (eunggeupssil tteokbokki), which translates to “emergency room tteokbokki”. It’s so spicy you might need a trip to the ER! Don’t worry though, rosé tteokbokki is nowhere near that spicy.
Although regular tteokbokki can also have cheese, the rose version needs lots and lots of cheese. It’s a cheesy paradise!
It might seem like a lot of ingredients needed for this recipe, but you can find all of them in Korean grocery stores. There are also a lot of optional ingredients, which you can skip or substitute. Here’s what’s needed:
Rose tteokbokki sauce ingredients
- Gochujang – a spicy red pepper paste that can be found in most Asian supermarkets. You can also find gochujang online. In Hangul it’s written as 고추장, and it’s usually found in bright red tubs. I recommend using a mild gochujang for this dish. This ingredient is essential for the flavour of the recipe, so it cannot be left out or substituted.
- Gochugaru – Korean red chilli flakes known in Hangul as 고춧가루. Added for flavour and spiciness, gochugaru flakes can be found in most Korean markets or online.
- Soy sauce – I strongly recommend using it, as it adds to the flavour. Light soy sauce works best, as the flavour isn’t too overpowering.
- Heavy cream – any type of heavy cream works. It can be replaced with sour cream if needed.
- Brown sugar – needed to add sweetness to the dish. It can be replaced with plain white sugar.
- Korean rice cakes – come in all shapes and sizes. The most popular rice cake shapes for tteokbokki are tubular or cylinder. You can find them in most Korean supermarkets under the name 떡볶이떡 (tteokbokki tteok). They can be found fresh or frozen, and both can be used for this recipe.
- Fish cakes – also known as Busan fish cakes, they are shaped like thin sheets and can usually be found frozen. In Hangul it’s written as 부산 어묵 (Busan omuk), and again it’s easily found in Korean grocery stores.
- Garlic – Optional, but highly recommended for flavour.
- Onion – Really important ingredient for tteokbokki and it cannot be left out. I like to use white onions, but you can also use sweet or yellow onions.
- Scallions – Also very important for this rose tteokbokki recipe. The white parts are used when cooking, and the green leaves are added as garnish at the end.
- Sausages – Optional, but they add extra meatiness. I like to use small cocktail sausages, but you can also use hotdog cut into smaller pieces.
- Bacon – Optional, but highly recommended for an extra umami kick. Thick cut smoked bacon works best for the best flavour.
- Cheese – American sliced cheese works best as it melts really well and makes the rose tteokbokki dish extra creamy. You can also use mozzarella cheese if desired.
- Egg – Optional, but recommended. Boil the egg separately, then cut in half and add it as garnish before serving. You can use either soft, medium or hard boiled eggs – as per your preference.
How to make: Step by step
1. In a large pan or wok, fry bacon until browned. Add garlic, onions and scallions, then cook until softened.
2. Add gochujang paste and some water, then mix to combine.
3. Toss in the rice cakes, then mix well to coat in sauce.
4. Sprinkle in gochugaru flakes and brown sugar, then combine.
5. Separately, score sausages with a knife and pan fry in some oil until browned.
6. Add fish cakes to the tteokbokki, then mix.
7. Pour in the cream and add the cooked sausages. Mix to combine until the sauce looks pink.
8. Top with some sliced cheese, then cover and let melt. Garnish and serve immediately.
Variations & Ingredient Substitutes
The beauty of rosé tteokbokki is that it can be changed up as per your preferences. You can add ingredients to make it richer, make it creamier, less spicy, more spicy or more meaty.
- Ramyeon noodles – when ramyeon (instant noodles) is added into tteokbokki, the dish is known as rabokki (라볶이). The name comes from ramyeon + tteokbokki added together. Any type of ramyeon noodles work, but my favourites are made by Nongshim, Ottogi or Samyang. You can also add some of the seasoning inside the packaging for an extra kick.
- Glass noodles – can be added for extra texture. They are known as dangmyeon (당면) or wide cellophane noodles. Glass noodles are soft and chewy in texture, so they complement tteokbokki rice cakes really well. Cook them separately as indicated on the packaging, then add them to the rose tteokbokki before adding the heavy cream.
- Mushrooms – add a little moisture and umami flavour to the dish. Also great to use for a vegetarian option rose tteokbokki instead of sausages. I like using shiitake mushrooms because they taste a little ‘meatier’. You can also use enoki mushrooms, which are commonly used in Korean cooking.
- Vegetables – whenever I make this recipe vegetarian, I like to substitute the meat with vegetables. Some of my favourite vegetables to add are bell peppers, carrots or bok choi. Feel free to experiment!
- Meat – add your favourite animal protein for extra umami flavour. Beef and shrimps work best with this recipe, and you can even use them together.
How to make it vegetarian or vegan
This rose tteokbokki recipe is not vegetarian by default, but it can easily be made meat free. Here’s how to substitute the ingredients:
- Bacon – replace it with mushrooms. I like to use shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, because they have a stronger umami flavour.
- Sausages – replace them with tofu. Firm tofu works best, as it holds its shape much better. You can add it during the cooking process and mix it in gently. It can also be fried separately for a crunchier texture. Simply cut into cubes or slices, fry in sesame oil until crispy and add at the end.
- Heavy cream – can be replaced with a plant based alternative to make the rose sauce vegan.
- Fish cakes – contain actual fish, so they are not vegan. Replace them with slices of fried tofu.
- Cheese – use plant-based sliced cheese for a melty and meat-free topping.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Fresh rice cakes – Although frozen rice cakes can also be used, the fresh ones have a much better texture. If using frozen, let them thaw properly for a similar texture to fresh tteokbokki tteok.
- Don’t skip the fish cakes – Fish cakes are crucial for any tteokbokki recipe, so please don’t skip them (unless if vegan). They add a wonderful umami flavour and an extra layer of chewiness.
- Medium heat – Use medium heat when cooking this dish, as we don’t want any of the ingredients to burn. Take your time, it’ll be worth it!
- Adjust spiciness – I recommend starting with less gochujang if unsure, then adding more later after taste testing. If however the sauce is too spicy, add extra heavy cream to dilute it and take the edge off.
- Add more water if needed – the rose sauce should have the consistency of pasta sauce. Water can always be added later on if the sauce is too thick.
- Add cream at the end – Adding the cream at the end ensure it doesn’t burn or split. It also helps bring down the temperature of the dish, so you can eat it right away!
- Garnish away – Don’t forget your garnishes. You can add scallions (the green part), sesame seeds, a drizzle of sesame oil or seaweed on top.
- Serve immediately – This rose tteokbokki recipe tastes best immediately after cooking. If left for too long, the rice cakes can become too chewy and tough.
This rosé tteokbokki recipe is best served immediately after cooking, whilst still piping hot. The heavy cream added at the end will bring down the temperature, so you don’t need to wait long for it to cool.
I recommend serving this creamy tteokbokki with plenty of garnishes, such as:
- Scallions – Use only the green leaves, and cut either julienne (thin strips) or diagonally.
- Sesame Seeds – Add a little crunch to this creamy dish. I like using toasted sesame seeds because they taste smoky and rich.
- Seaweed – Sprinkle some crispy or roasted seaweed on top for extra flavour. I always like to use roasted seasoned laver flakes because they taste delicious!
Let’s not forget the sides! No Korean meal is complete without some delicious side dishes. Here are some quick and easy ideas:
- Pickled radish
- Pickled garlic stem
- Simmered Lotus root
How to store
I always recommend serving this rose tteokbokki fresh, as it has the best texture. When cooled, the rice cakes can become too tough and the sauce can thicken too much.
Refrigerate: If you don’t mind slightly chewier rice cakes, you can refrigerate leftovers. To store, let the tteokbokki cool down completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in the pan or microwave and add a little water to loosen up the sauce.
Freeze: This recipe is not suitable for freezing, as cooked rice cakes don’t thaw very well and become too tough.
Frequently asked questions
It’s called rose tteokbokki because it uses a rose sauce. Made from gochujang and heavy cream, the sauce is pink in colour, just like rose sauce.
Yes, this recipe is moderately spicy because it uses gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) and gochugaru (Korean red chilli flakes). However, the spiciness level can be adjusted by adding less of the spicy ingredients or adding more heavy cream to take the edge off.
This recipe can be made halal by using halal sausages and using turkey bacon. Fish cakes are considered halal as they are made with surimi, which in turn is made from pollock fish.
Rose tteokbokki isn’t exactly healthy or unhealthy. It has a high carbohydrate content, and added fat from heavy cream. You can make this recipe more diet-friendly by adding less fish cakes and rice cakes and more vegetables. Low fat heavy cream can also be used. But remember, it’s best to eat everything in moderation (as long as your dietary requirements allow it).
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Creamy Rose Tteokbokki Recipe (로제 떡볶이)
- 1 large wok or deep pan
- 14 oz Korean rice cakes (400 grams)
- 4 large Busan fish cakes
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ white onion, large
- 12 mini cocktail sausages*
- 3 scallions
- 4 slices smoked bacon, thick cut
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons gochujang paste
- ½ tablespoon gochugaru flakes
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- ½ cup double cream
- 4 slices American cheese or mozarella
- 4 boiled eggs, for garnish
- sesame seeds
- parmesan cheese
- Place rice cakes in cold water whilst preparing the ingredients. Blanch frozen Busan fish cakes in hot water for 30-45 seconds, then drain and cut into smaller triangles. Set aside for later.
- Chop up the garlic into small pieces. Cut the onion in larger chunks length-wise and slice the scallions into 2 inch pieces. Score the mini sausages in a criss cross pattern.
- Heat up a large pan with a drizzle of sesame oil over medium heat. Cut bacon into thin strips, then add to the hot pan. Cook it for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to brown.
- Add in the garlic and onion, mix and cook for 1 minute. Scoop in the gochujang paste, along with 3-4 tablespoons of water. Mix to combine everything together.
- Drain rice cakes and add them into the pan. Add in the white parts of the scallions, reserving the leaves for later.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Sprinkle in the brown sugar, along with gochugaru flakes and soy sauce.
- Toss in the fish cakes, then cover and cook for 2 additional minutes.
- Turn off the heat, then pour in the heavy cream and mix to combine with the sauce.
- Add slices of American cheese on top, the cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes until the cheese melts.
- Garnish with a sliced boiled egg and scallion leaves on top, then serve immediately.
- Mini cocktail sausages can be replaced with hotdogs cut into bitesize pieces.
- Nutritional value is estimative and it is calculated per serving, with a single slice of American cheese and no additional toppings.
Jo K says
I always found tteokbokki too spicy for me so although I love the texture I could never eat it. This recipe is soooooo good because the cream really tones down the spiciness and I can enjoy it. Also really love the bacon it makes is smokey and delicious. Thanks so much!