Joanne Lee Molinaro’s Curried Tteokbokki Skewers

published Jan 31, 2022
Curried Tteokbokki Skewers
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Credit: Joanne Lee Molinaro

A friend of mine whose family is from India gifted me with a small vial of his father’s homemade garam masala blend. It smelled fragrant and spicy and chocolaty and I could not wait to go home and do something with it. I rummaged through my fridge and noticed a bag of leftover rice cakes and decided I would try making some tteokbokki with a creamy curry sauce. It was absolutely divine. Instead of eating the rice cakes right out of the pan (though sorely tempted), I stuck them on a skewer, just like you would see on the streets of Seoul, and put them on a grill for a little extra “soul.”

Joanne Lee Molinaro’s The Korean Vegan is Kitchn’s January pick for our Cookbook Club. See how you can participate here.

Curried Tteokbokki Skewers

Makes 12 to 14 skewers

Nutritional Info


For the curry paste:

  • 2 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup

    chopped red bell pepper

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    garam masala

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon


  • 1 tablespoon

    soup (light) soy sauce

For the skewers:

  • 1 tablespoon

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped red onions

  • 2 tablespoons

    julienned red bell pepper

  • 1

    Korean green chili or jalapeno, thinly sliced

  • 17 ounces

    (482 grams) tube-shaped fresh or frozen garraetteok

  • 1 teaspoon

    maple syrup

  • 1 cup

    vegetable broth


  1. Make the curry paste: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium- high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic, cashews, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Sauté the vegetables until the onions begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add the gochujang and stir until the vegetables are evenly coated. Add the soy sauce to deglaze the pan.

  3. Scrape the mixture out of the skillet into a high- powered blender and blend until it turns into a smooth paste. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if necessary, to get the blade turning.

  4. Prepare the skewers: In the same skillet used for the curry paste, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the julienned onion, bell peppers, and green chili and sauté until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

  5. Add the rice cakes to the pan, along with the curry paste and maple syrup, and stir until all the rice cakes and vegetables are evenly coated with the paste.

  6. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice cakes are completely tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool enough to handle.

  7. Heat a grill pan or grill. When the rice cakes are cool enough to handle, thread 5 rice cakes onto each skewer.

  8. Place the skewers on a very hot grill pan or grill topper to achieve a nice char, about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with curry sauce and vegetables from the pan ladled over the skewers.

Recipe Notes

From THE KOREAN VEGAN COOKBOOK: REFLECTIONS AND RECIPES FROM OMMA’S KITCHEN by Joanne Lee Molinaro, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2021 Joanne Lee Molinaro