Gungjung Tteokbokki (Korean Royal Court Rice Cake)

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The lunar New Year (Seollal) falls on Friday, January 31 this year. To help you celebrate the New Year, I’ve rounded up traditional New Year dishes. I am also introducing gungjung tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes) with slight changes to the recipe.

Gungjung tteokbokki (궁중떡볶이) is the traditional version of tteokbokki. Gungjung means “royal court” in Korean, and this version dates back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

As the name suggests, it was part of the royal cuisine and regarded as a high class dish – an interesting contrast to the modern spicy version which is pretty much street food. One story behind the origin of this royal dish is that it was inspired by japchae (stir-fried starch noodles with vegetables) and created to help regain the King’s appetite. In fact, gungjung tteokbokki is also known as tteokjapchae (떡잡채) perhaps because it is made in a similar fashion to japchae.

Unlike today’s spicy version, the traditional version is mildly flavored with a soy sauce based sauce. As such, it’s also called ganjang tteokbokki (간장떡볶이). Ganjang means soy sauce. 

This deliciously colorful dish will be a great addition to your lunar New Year feast!

Happy New Year to you and your family, everyone! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

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Gungjung Tteokbokki (Korean Royal Court Rice Cake)

4.72 from 25 votes
Print Recipe


  • 1 pound thin garaetteok/tteokbokki tteok about 2-inch long pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 ounces lean beef sirloin, eye round or rib eye
  • 3 or 4 shiitake mushrooms fresh or soaked if dried
  • 1/2 medium zucchini* about 4 ounces
  • 1 medium carrot* cut into thin, 2-inch strips
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 scallions cut into 2-inch lengths
  • salt
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • *You can also use garlic chives and/or colorful bell peppers.


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine or mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • pinch pepper
  • Optional garnish:
  • ginkgo nuts or pine nuts


  • Bring water to a boil in a medium size pot. Add the rice cake pieces. Boil until all the pieces float to the top. The time required will vary depending on the condition of rice cakes. The rice cakes will be very soft when cooked, but they will become harder as they cool. Drain them out with a sieve. Do not rinse. Mix with a tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Set aside.
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  • Mix the sauce ingredients well and set aside. Thinly slice the beef into about 2-inch long strips. Cut stems off the mushrooms and slice into thin strips. Place the beef and mushrooms in a bowl, and mix in a tablespoon of the prepared sauce. Marinate while preparing the other ingredients.
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  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise and slightly diagonally to make the cuts longer. Generously sprinkle salt over zucchini slices, and set aside for 10 - 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid from the zucchini by hand. In a lightly heated and oiled skillet, stir fry the onion, carrot, and zucchini over medium high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the scallion at the end (not in the photo). Transfer to a bowl.
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  • In the same skillet, cook the beef and mushrooms over medium high heat until the meat is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the rice cakes and stir fry for another minute or two. Turn the heat off. 
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  • Add the rice cakes to the bowl with the vegetables, along with the optional ginkgo or pine nuts, and the remaining sauce. Toss well to combine everything well. Adjust the seasoning with additional soy sauce or sugar as necessary. Serve warm.
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Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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Recipe Rating



  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Got everyone into rice cakes now since no one wanted to eat the spicy ones but me

  2. 5 stars
    This was delicious and very popular with my family. Spicy tteokbokki is my favourite Korean meal but sadly the rest of my family don’t agree, so this is a great recipe to get my rice noodle hit and keep them happy. Thank you!

  3. That’s it! Can you be my adoptive mom? I just love all your recipes. I followed your kimchi recipe, and it came out fantastic. I had tried tteokbukki in the past but didn’t like it because it was far too spicy. But this! This is exactly how I felt it should be eaten. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Right now, with COVID-19, finding meat is a little hard. But I will definitely try!

    • i just cooked this without the meat and it tasted great as a vegetable option. I used two portobello mushrooms or maybe just up the dose in the shittake mushrooms. Just simmer down the mushrooms when cooking (about 10 minutes)

  4. 5 stars
    This was a really excellent recipe! I was surprised and delighted by how easy and tasty it was–and I almost always have the non-tteokbokki ingredients on hand, so I made it on a whim. Thank you for posting!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this tonight after making your spicy tteokbokki last week, and I have to say I much prefer this.

    Rice cake is an interesting ingredient to cook with, and I can’t say I fully enjoy it. However, I know that when the craving strikes, I’ll make this recipe. It was easy enough to whip up, and I made it vegetarian by omitting the beef and doubling up on the mushrooms. My friends also had some when I made it and said it’s some of the best they’ve had.

    Thanks so much for a wonderful recipe! If you ever visit Jeonju, you’re welcome to stay with me!

  6. I’ve been looking for this recipe for my toddler, thank you!!
    Do you know if I could make this vegan by using only mushrooms, no beef?

  7. Love your recipies. I tried making kimchi jjiage and it was delicious.
    I will definitely try to make tteokbokki next. It’s one of my favorite Korean food.

    Thank you again


  8. Thank you for this beautiful recipe! Finally got to make it after trying it in Korea whilst on holiday with my family.
    Used chicken instead but still taste just as good. Even my Korean friends said it tasted great!
    Posted it here:
    Thank you for all your recipes, have tried several and they all taste delicious!

  9. Maria Shipley says

    All this looks wonderful!
    I especially appreciate the explanation of Gungjung tteokbokki.
    We often make Korean food at our home in Germany. My all-time favorite dish is Kimchijikae.

  10. Rebecca Phillips says

    I just need to tell toy that I LOVE your blog. I’m an American living in South Korea and your blog is helpful in my kitchen as well as when were learning about what we’re eating in a restaurant. Thanks for all your hard work. You’re helping us love Korean food!!

    • My great pleasure, Rebecca! I’m so happy to hear I can be helpful with your cooking and eating Korean food in Korea. Hope you’re having lots of great food Korea can offer. Thank you so much for stopping by! Cheers!

  11. Thank you for sharing! Now I am hungry! gungjung tteokbokki is one of my favorite Korean dishes! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

  12. Nami | Just One Cookbook says

    Happy Lunar New Year Hyosun! Your tteokbokki looks delicious! Hope you have a nice celebration with your family. 🙂

  13. hello, I love your website cos its a door way to learn korean food 🙂 , your luna new year feast looks delicious!!

    • Hi Nammi – aww thanks for the nice words! Hope you had great food for your New Year celebration. Happy New Year!